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Cocktails throughout history

We will never find out who actually invented the cocktail as such nor is there historical evidence that would enable us to pinpoint when in history cocktails came into existence. It is, however, certain that there have been a number of influences that lead to the art of making cocktails: availability of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; curious consumers that we eager to try something completely new; suitable establishments with experts taste artists that were able to create original and tasteful compositions.

With these facts in mind we are able to guesstimate the inception of cocktails a bit better: somewhere is the second half of the 19th century, as it was not until that time that distilleries had enough know how to produce the wide variety of liquids necessary to produce complicated mixes. A booming economy also pitched in by ensuring that drinks from far away countries were discovered and duly imported in vast numbers. The rise of the middle and upper class, which were very interested in spending as much time as humanly possible in cafe's, bars and pubs added the final ingredient to the first cocktails: curiosity.

The Anglo-Saxon influence on cocktails

The british empire was likely to have been among the first to have shown interest for the new ways of drink preparations. Because of it's hegemony it was one of the first to discover new spirits like Rum, which caused the punch to be born, or ever more exotic fruit juices.

Besides that, the United Kingdom the foremost producer of Gin. This, from grain distilled, alcohol's production process was governed by many rules and regulations, resulting in a limited number of different tastes and thus forming the perfect basis for aromatic mixes that would hold ingredients from all around the planet. During the long rain of queen Victoria, the city of London saw a new type of watering hole pop up all over town: the Gin palaces. In these palaces with comfortable chairs one would drink a London dry Gin with slices of lemon and quinine water, the predecessor of Tonic. Other, even more mondain, drinks followed soon after...

During the same period we can find reports of cocktails being served in the United States of America. In 1862 the first print of the book: "Bartenders Guide" by the hand of barkeeper Jerry Thomas was released. In it there are 236 recipes, mostly culinary, among them 13 cocktails, that are being described as "a new invention that is being served op fisherman meetings and other sportive gatherings". It was only a few years later in 1870, when a technological breakthrough accelerated the evolution of the cocktail: The production of the first ice machines that could make ice available anywhere, with ice being an indispensable ingredient for almost every cocktail.

continued history of cocktails ->

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