History of the Cocktail

Every time you’re at a party, sipping a cool / colourful cocktail do you ever wonder about the first cocktail ever made?

Here’s one theory about the first cocktail.

In 1586, a fleet of English ships commanded by Sir Francis Drake was stranded near Havana. The ships were full of plundered gold but the crew were too sick to sail or fight.

According to the legend, Drake took local medicines such as mint (good for stomachs) lime (to treat scurvy), bark from the chuchuhuasi tree soaked in rum (a cure for dysentery), and cane sugar (to make it all taste OK), and mixed it all together. The resulting drink, dubbed El Draque, cured his sailors.

The word ‘cocktail’ comes into it because Drake’s crew allegedly drank this concoction from a long spoon with cock tail handle. Believe that? Well, it is just a theory. There is however a striking resemblance between the El Draque and the drink now known as the Mojito.

The other theory about the first cocktail came from the Americans.

America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac, was created in New Orleans in 1838, by Antoine Peychaud. He created the drink in a French Quarter bar and named it after his favourite French Brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils. In 1873, the drink was changed when American Rye Whiskey was substituted for Cognac, and a dash of Absinthe was added by bartender Leon Lamothe, and today he is regarded as the Father of the Sazerac. In 1912, Absinthe was banned, so Peychaud substituted his special bitters in its place.

sazerac_cocktail

Sazerac Recipe:

  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • ¼ ounce Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon peel

Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube. Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the Whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.

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