the appetizer:

Difford's Encyclopedia of Cocktails by Simon Difford, includes information like Cocktail History and Angostura Bitters and cocktail recipes like East India, The Lady Wears Red, Navy Grog, Negroni, and Pisco Sour.

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Difford's Encyclopedia of Cocktails

by Simon Difford


"Let us drink for the replenishment of our strength, not for our sorrow."—Cicero

1806. The word "cocktail" appeared in print in a New York newspaper. After a reader wrote in and asked for an explanation of the term, the following was published: "Cock tail then is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters, it is vulgarly called a bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said also, to be of great use to a democratic candidate because a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else."

1858. Leon Lamonthe claimed he created the Sazerac in the Sazerac Coffee House, New Orleans. The original recipe was probably made with Paychaud's aromatic bitters, Sazerac cognac, and sugar. Today the name Sazerac is owned by the Sazerac Company, who license the name to the Sazerac Bar in the Fairmont Hotel.

1880(s). The first Martini recipe was recorded. Initially, Martinis would have been quite sweet—developing from the Martinez with Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth. The first dry Martini probably came in with the emergence of London dry gin some years later.

1894. The Rob Roy was created at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, and named after a Broadway show playing at the time.

1900. A Captain during the Spanish-American War ordered a Bacardi Rum and Coca-Cola with a squeeze of lime in the American Bar in Havana, Cuba. The drink was named the Cuba Libre after a toast to "Free Cuba."

1920 (or 1921). Fernand Petiot created the Bloody Mary at Harry's New York Bar Paris. The name most likely comes from one of Petiot's customers, the entertainer Roy Barton. He had worked at a nightclub called the Bucket of Blood where there was a waitress known as Bloody Mary. Apparently the drink reminded him of her. The celery garnish dates back to the 1960's when a bartender at the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago noticed a lady stirring her drink with a celery stick.

1945. Giuseppe Cipriani created the Bellini at Harry's Bar, Venice. Cipriani named the drink after the 15th century painter Giovanni Bellini due to the drink's pink hue and the painter's penchant for using rich pinks on his canvasses.

1954. Ramon Marrero Perez claimed he created the Pina Colada at the Caribe Hilton's Beachcomber Bar San Juan. The Caribe was the first luxury hotel in San Juan and became a popular destination for the rich and famous who helped the drink gain notoriety. The name literally translates as "strained pineapple."

1986. T.G.I. Fridays hosted the very first known flair bartender contest called Bar Olympics for T.G.I. Friday bartenders. John JB Bandy won and went on to train Tom Cruise for his role in "Cocktail," which was released in 1986.

2007. Flair bartenders, The Bar Wizards, reached the final of ITV's "Britain's Got Talent." They lost to a seven-year-old girl and an opera singing Welshman. Shame.


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This page created December 2009