The origin of the most popular drinks in all the bars of the world, is the basic thing to be able to have ‘small talks’ in any cocktail bar. Health!
One of the many theories about the origin of what we call cocktail points to Mexico, although the story is full of mixtures with alcohol:
- The soma in ancient India
- The mead of the Greek god Dionosio
- The drink with which Ulysses drunks the giant Polyphemus
- The Hippocratic wine
In the nineteenth century, English merchants of precious woods, among them the palo de dinte, arrived at the port of San Francisco, from Mexico. In the taverns of the port they drank many liqueurs, which when mixed with a metal spoon, took a bad taste. One bright day the bartender came up with thin, thin, smooth roots of a plant that they called by their shape, “cock’s tail”, to avoid bad taste. And he was successful to this day. This is one of the theories, but we will never know for sure.
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What we will know is the origin of the most popular cocktails in all bars of the world, which are considered “the test of fire” to distinguish a bartender from a world-class bartender. So, take note, this is the basics of small talks at any cocktail bar. Mazal tov!
In the year 1896, in Daiquiri, Cuba, a young American engineer named Jennings Cox mixed and mixed many ingredients with the rum, looking for an alchemical, delicious, refreshing drink. Finally hit the spot with lemon juice, sugar, crushed ice and pretty rum. It was not long before he arrived at Bar Floridita, in Havana, where Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway popularized it.
Jerry Thomas, bartender and author of the book How to Mix Drinks, was attending his bar in 1850 when a tourist arrived on his way to the city of Martinez, California, who told him the classic: “Surprise Me.” Thomas prepared a mixture of gin, vermouth, bitter and a cherry liqueur. Many argue that this was the first version of a Martini, which Thomas named Martinez, in honour of the destination to which his client was going.
According to the book Old Waldorf Bar Days, The Old Fashioned was invented in 1895 at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. However, they will agree that you cannot invent a drink called “old fashion”, that is, old fashioned. Some say that the recipe dates back to the early nineteenth century, but will always carry whiskey, bittersweet, lemon juice and ice.
This drink is also involved in controversy about who was its inventor. The most popular idea falls on Carlos Herrera, a restaurateur in Tijuana who came up with a drink for actress Marjorie King, who did not like the taste of tequila. Herrera prepared a shot of the distillate with lemon and salt, and named it “Margarita.” The rest is history. Although, recently we visited the bar Kentucky Club & Grill, in Ciudad Juárez, where they also attribute the invention of this classic. Maybe nobody ever knows the truth.
Something good had to come out of a war, in this case of the Spanish-American war in Cuba in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One afternoon, a group of gringo soldiers out of service met in a bar in Old Havana. His captain ordered Ron Bacardí and Coca-Cola on ice. His subordinates felt like it (the drink) and they also asked for it. Coca and Bacacho became BFFs since then, and in the whole world we celebrated Cuba Libre one hundred years later.
The famous corsair Francis Drake drank something very similar: sugar cane, sugar, lemon and mint. The mixture was used in the days of piracy to combat stomach ailments, prevent cholera and to alleviate somewhat the intense heat of the Antilles.
The mojito was born in 1910, in Havana. Its name comes from the Spanishización of “Mojo”, an English term that means mixture. The most famous Mojito is undoubtedly that of La Bodeguita del Medio. We can already say the famous Hemingway phrase: “My Daiquiri in El Floridita and my Mojito in La Bodeguita”.
Everything points to the bartender Fernand Petiot, who in 1920 at the Harry’s New York Bar in Paris invented the drink, mixing equally vodka and tomato juice; he perfected it at the King Cole Bar in New York, adding salt, lemon, Perrins sauce and Tabasco and naming it “Red Snapper”, a name that nobody remembers.
The origin of the name is the fuzziest. Some say it refers to the nickname of Queen Maria I; But another theory is that the name really came up with Petiot’s customers, who came from Chicago, who explained that the drink reminded them of the waitress at the Bucket of Blood bar they called Bloody Mary.
Here we return to the book by Jerry Thomas to discover the origin of (sounds horrible in Spanish) “julep of mint”. In 1862 Thomas was already preparing it, although the mixture of mint, bourbon, sugar and water was already prescribed in 1784, in medical books: it was recommended to alleviate some stomach upsets and difficulties to swallow, just as happened with Coca Cola and the Pepsi.
Some say it was invented in the war in Cuba, when the Spanish soldiers mixed brandy with coffee to cheer and get into combat with the rush of caffeine.
Others think that the drink was born in Catalonia. According to the writer Josep Pla, nineteenth-century transporters lacked time to consume coffee and alcohol separately, so they drank them together. The name would come from the Catalan expression “que ara guillo” (“that I am long”).
Now we know the origins of some of the drinks that have made their way into the world cocktail bar. Remember that here at Daiquiri Hire Melbourne you can rent one of our top-quality slushy machines to prepare your own daiquiris.