A cocktail bar has always remained the best choice of location for people who wish to catch up with friends, family or colleagues. While the history of this drink dates to the 19th century when drinks like martini, daiquiri and Manhattan came into existence and became popular too. All these centuries, cocktails have reigned over the world of mixed alcoholic drinks drawing people into its enticing loop.
It is now the time of craft cocktail revival, and several bars and restaurants are investing their time, thought and effort to decide what goes into a cocktail glass. They are ready to boast about sourcing their boutique spirits, creating home-made cordials and devising crazily innovative drinks to dazzle their patrons. Restaurants with good drinks have always received the patronage of a wide range of customers.
The word ‘cocktail’ first seems to have been used way back in 1798. Usage of the word can be seen in the London-based Morning Post And Gazetteer. It was not until May 13, 1806 that an explanation for the word was given by the editor of The Balance And Columbian Repository in his reply to a confused reader’s letter. He defined cocktail as a ‘stimulating liquor’ that is prepared using spirits of several kinds, sugar, water and bitters. However, the truth is that nobody really knows from where this strange word originated. Most of them are just theories – some believable while others bizarre.
To make this blog more interesting, shall we now look at five of these theories? For your information, they have been ordered based on their credibility – from the most acceptable to the most outlandish.
- As per the records of spirits historians, the word cocktail was a mere slang word that referred to an alcoholic drink popular in the late 1700s and early 1800s and supplemented with ginger. Strangely, the name ‘cocktail’ could have been derived due to the practice of inserting a ginger suppository into a horse’s rectum before it was being sold. Since ginger is an irritant, the horse would keep its tail raised and walk in a lively fashion making it look and behave much younger than it is. The name continued to stay as alcoholic ginger drinks caused a similar ‘lively’ impact on humans.
- Tavern keepers of the colonial era had the habit of mixing the leftovers of the booze from their almost-empty casks into a single barrel to sell it at a much cheaper rate. The spigot of this barrel was colloquially called a cock. People who drank these drinks called this mix ‘cock-tailings’. This could have possibly turned as cocktail and stayed on for centuries.
- The word also referred to a mixed breed horse with a docked tail that stuck up and resembled a cock’s tail. Since cocktails were alcoholic drinks that were not made from pure spirit, the word was used here as well to denote the mixed nature.
- The word cocktail could have been used to refer to the power of bitters, spices and sugars that can arouse your senses, making you more energetic and active.
- The word could have found its origin in New Orleans where mixed Cognac drinks were served in eggcups. It was known as ‘coquetier’ in French. This eventually turned into the beverage’s name. With time, the original French word transformed into ‘cocktay’ and finally to ‘cocktail’.
Top 5 Popular Cocktails
Although the choice of cocktails largely varies based on the individual’s specific preferences, there are a few classic cocktails that have always topped the popularity chart for centuries. Here are a few of those cocktails that people around the world have ordered a million times.
This cocktail has remained America’s favorite for several years. While several variations of Margarita can be prepared, the most popular and authentic one is prepared using tequila, Triple Sec and lime juice. While serving, salt is applied to the rim of the glass to evenly balance the flavors of sweet, sour and salty.
This cocktail was extremely popular in the 90s. It is layered, brightly acidic and refreshingly complex. This deliciously sweet cocktail is prepared by blending vodka, Cointreau and cranberry juice. Served in a martini glass, this cocktail is the first choice for individuals who love a quotient of glamor in their drink.
This Cuban specialty is the most ordered rum cocktail in pubs and bars across the world. It is a classic, popular, 3 ingredients cocktail. All you need to make this well-balanced cocktail is rum, citrus juice and sugar. It is garnished with a slice of lime for the typical touch. Daiquiri can fulfil your need for a frozen drink in a warm climate. This drink became popular in the 1940s during World War II. It can be prepared quickly, drunk on the streets and is filled with a range of flavors with diverse tastes.
This ultra-refreshingly simple cocktail that has stood the test of time is a combination of gin and lime. Its sharp kick and unmistakable flavor make it the ideal drink for sipping during a warm summer evening. It was created in the 18th century by an Admiral of the Royal Navy who added lime cordial to the daily dose of gin that sailors consumed to keep away scurvy disease. Even today Gimlet is considered one of the most sophisticated drinks to order.
One of the greatest cocktails ever made, Manhattan has withstood the influence of numerous trends, even outlasting prohibition. This perfect after-dinner tipple was first mixed in 1870 at the Manhattan Club using whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. You are sure to be surprised by the fact that it was done by Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill. Ever since, it has basked in stardom amidst cocktail lovers. It is highly regarded by both bartenders and patrons alike.
10 American Restaurants & Bars That Mix Great Cocktails
1. French 75 Bar
This cocktail bar located in New Orleans, Los Angeles features some of the finest cocktails with the highest quality ingredients and spirits. Several people visit this place to enjoy their signature drink, the eponymous French 75 – a mix of cognac and champagne. Variations of this drink are also offered in this bar.
2. Cane And Table
Bon Appetit has named this as one of the “Five Best New Cocktail Bars In America”. The cocktails served in this bar is tiki inspired with an emphasis on rum. The bartenders are experts in not just creating the classics but are also industry leaders in innovation. The must-try Hurricane & Table natural drink is a New Orleans classic with house-made fassinola, fresh citrus and rum.
3. Good Bar
Located in Seattle, Washington, this is a modern décor and a historic space that serves artisanal cocktails and high-end bar bites. Serving intriguing cocktails and sloppy joes, this bar reflects the urban neighborhood’s vintage roots. Their Bond Girl cocktail prepared using Ketel One, Beefeater Gin, Rose Vermouth and Elderflower is a must try. If you are looking for a friendly space with ample light brought in through historic windows to enjoy your drink, this is a ‘good bar’.
The bar was opened in 1999 under the name Milk & Honey. It was renamed Attaboy in 2012. Although they have no menu, you can feel free to let them know what your mind is craving for at the moment. You could start by suggesting a spirit like rum and the bartenders would customize your drink by asking your preferences of light, citrusy or stiffer. The drinks might seem a little pricey, but it is worth paying for the service of the bartenders who know what they are doing because of their lineage.
This industrial-chic spot in Houston, Texas mixes house-made bitters for creating unique cocktails. It has remained the number-one spot for classic cocktails in Texas as it is a high-energy joint offering a list of 100 classic and eight seasonal house creations on the menu. The staff are well-trained and affable, thereby having a loyal crowd of regular visitors. Visit this place with other cocktail enthusiasts to gain a great drinking experience.
This cocktail bar is a classic gastropub fare with vintage fixtures and interiors that reflect the golden age of Hollywood. It could easily be classified as a full-fledged club but continues to be termed as a bar. The cocktail list of Harlowe comprises everything from Old Fashioned to Pimm’s Cups. Weeknights are not crowded but a visit during the weekend might involve moderate waiting.
7. Baldwin Bar
This bar functions in a classic 17th century Mansion and serves singular cocktails. You can also find a library-style lounge upstairs. The cocktail menu is designed to be approachable. The bar can accommodate up to 24 guests and the atmosphere is lively and casual. Tiki revolutionary Ran Duan serves singular cocktails mixing stiff drinks like Rock Beats Scissors with rye, Cynar, Rhubarb and clove bitters.
This is a down-home cocktail bar in Houston, Texas with a great variety from the South. Mixologist and owner Alba Huerta serves classics as well as innovative riffs in a laid-back vibe. This bar won the 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. If you seek an atmosphere where you can make good conversations with your friends over a drink, this is the top spot.
9. Broken Shaker
Offering inventive drinks in a large backyard, this compact, romantic watering hole is situated in Miami. The poolside lounge is a great place to sip into the refreshing cocktails that are special because of the homemade syrups and garden herbs. Do not forget to shake hands with the creative mixology due Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi whose efforts built Miami’s cutting edge drinks scene.
Housed in a former fire station dating to 1903, this is an upscale cocktail bar. The bartenders at Cure, New Orleans use droppers to add house-made tinctures to the cocktails that they serve. You can enjoy the drinks alongside delicious dishes like confit chicken. The long, narrow room has striking arched windows bringing in soothing light for a great drinking experience.
The pandemic has altered the ways of the restaurant and bar business, to-go cocktails have become legal in several jurisdictions. With the new normal in place, restaurants have begun focusing on the drink-in bar experience and are consistently creating innovative cocktails that are sure to go down in history.
This blog would have been a great read for those looking for information about American restaurants serving the best cocktails of the world. If you are a restaurant owner searching for a reliable, free website builder along with digital marketing services, get in touch.