Have you ever enjoyed a delicious cocktail made with your favorite vodka and sweet cranberry juice? Or perhaps a classic gin and tonic? Cocktails have been a popular choice of beverage since the 19th century, but why do they go by the name cocktail?
Let’s explore the origins of this classic beverage and find out why it’s called a cocktail. Ultimately, you’ll be able to impress your friends with the knowledge you’ve gained about the beloved cocktail!
Why Is It Called Cocktail?Have you ever wondered why a mix of spirits is called a ‘cocktail’?
It turns out there is an interesting story behind the origin of this word. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first official definition of the word ‘cocktail’ was in the Balance and Columbian Repository newspaper, published in 1806, which said “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters. .
. ” Though the etymology of the term has been widely debated, the most accepted story behind the origin of the word dates back to the 1700s when cock-fighting was an important part of British culture.
What Is Cock-Fighting?
Cock-fighting is a blood sport that dates back centuries. Two cocks (or roosters) would be pitted against each other in a fight, and bets would often be placed on the outcome of the match.
It was a popular pastime among the upper classes, and part of the process would involve putting a metal spur on the fighting-cock’s leg, which was often whiskey-soaked.
How Did Cock-Fighting Give Rise to The Term ‘Cocktail’?Legend has it that this whiskey-soaked spur was known as a ‘cock-tail’, due to the fact that it resembled the long, flowing tail of a rooster.
Through this association, the word ‘cocktail’ came to refer to any type of spirited drink.
Other Theories Behind the Term ‘Cocktail’Though cock-fighting is the most accepted theory behind the term ‘cocktail’, there have been a few other theories put forward over the years.
One such theory suggests that the word ‘cocktail’ was in fact derived from a tool used in the 18th century – The ‘Cock Ale’ Measure. This tool was used in public houses to measure distilled drinks, and so the term ‘cocktail’ may have emerged from the phrase ‘cock-ale measure’. Whatever the true origin of the term ‘cocktail’ may be, we can certainly thank our 18th century predecessors for introducing us to this delightful blend of spirits. ConclusionThough we may never know the true origin of the term ‘cocktail’, the most accepted story is that it was derived from the whiskey-soaked metal spur used in cock-fighting during the 18th century. Regardless of its origins, ‘cocktail’ is now used to describe any mix of spirits and is enjoyed by people all around the world. Citation URLhttps://www. oxford-royale. co. uk/articles/history-term-cocktail. htmlhttps://www. history. com/news/long-tailed-rosters-cocktail-history