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Cocktail History

No one knows the exact date when cocktails started, but through archeological findings, it is assumed that humans have been mixing ingredients together to create tasty beverages for themselves for 10,000 years because that is when domestic agriculture began—and if you believe in the Lost Continent then it goes back even further. Mead (made from honey), ale (beer), and wine (made from fruit) are the most common alcoholic drinks found in ancient civilizations, so it is also assumed that these ingredients were mixed together to create honey-flavored beverages. In addition, it is imagined that herbs and spices were thrown in for infusing more flavor, and possibly steeped medicinal herbs were used on occasion.


Social drinking has been part of every culture in some form and with time, people began to travel (for various reasons) and needed shelter, so humble inns along their path provided temporary housing, food, and drink—the same basic amenities modern hotels provide today. Public houses (pubs) were built in towns and served as “information hubs” where you learned of current events, gossiped, complained about the weather, flirted, told stories, and of course, drank. Things pretty much remained the same for hundreds of years.



There have been many theories of where the word “cocktail” came from. Some include an Aztec princess, an Ancient Roman doctor who called a favorite drink cockwine, a New Orleans French egg cup, Cock Ale Punch that was actually made with a whole rooster and ale (ick!), a gingerroot suppository for a non-spirited horse, and a tavern keeper who put rooster tail feathers in soldiers’ drinks (cock-tail).



The first known reference to the Asian spirit “arrack” was by traveling merchants in the 1200s. In the 1300s the word “aqua vitae” (“water of life”) was coined and Armagnac and Scotch whisky were being produced in the 1400s. But the first record of a spirit (an early rum) being mixed with three other ingredients in bulk was for ill sailors in the 1500s. Between the 1600s and 1800s, communal drinks were served in big bowls—with cups for all. These cups and bowls gave birth to the individual-sized cocktail we know today. / Artist Walter Dendy Sadler - A good bowl of punch 1886

The Top Things to Know

About Cocktails

No one knows who invented the cocktail, but it is agreed that communal batches served in punch bowls then drank from cups in the 1600s gave birth to the individual cocktail we know today.There have been many theories about the origin of the word “cocktail.” As of today, it has been narrowed down to two. One comes from a 1700s word in the horse trade profession and the other from a fictional character based on a real person, but neither has been confirmed.


To date, the first printed form of the word “cocktail” appeared in 1798. The word pertaining to the drink was first printed in 1803 and the first printed definition was in 1806.


The first known British drink receipt (recipe) book was published in 1827. The first known American cocktail recipe book was published in 1862.


As far as we know, the Mint Julep is America’s first cocktail.


Before the 1920s, in America, fancy cocktails were drunk by prominent white males in fancy saloons and bars and they usually had a side room for prominent women called the “Ladies’ Bar.”  The only women allowed in the main bar were madams and prostitutes. The average joe drank beer, wine, whiskey, and cider at pubs or at home. 


The first golden age of the cocktail was between 1860 and 1919, and the seed for the second golden age of the cocktail was planted around the millennium.


The Martini is the most iconic cocktail and symbol of the cocktail culture.


The repeal of the American Prohibition, women’s freedom to socialize in most bars, and Hollywood technology (talkies) glamorized cocktails between the 1930s and 1960s.


The world’s largest cocktail festival, Tales of the Cocktail, has been held in New Orleans each July since 2002.

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Punch bowl and stand, made at the Meissen factory, Germany, 1770, Victoria and Albert Museum

1827 - The first known drink receipt ( recipe) book put together by Oxford college students. The book had many editions for almost 100 years. This is the first one. There are only two known copies. Click on the book to look inside.

Cocktail Timeline


If you owned a pub, alehouse, tavern, or inn, you were probably growing your own food for meals and drink to serve guests. In addition to having land for a garden, you needed to tend to animals, provide stables for travelers (we call them parking lots today), have an area to produce alcoholic drink, and be literate enough to keep books, pay bills, manage help, and collect payments. Tavern floors were often made of sand, and it was common to have a portcullis (metal vertical closing gate) around the bar area. To multitask dinner, a kitchen dog was often placed in a turnspit wheel—the dog would walk inside the wheel, which slowly turned meat roasting over a fire.


Names of alehouses, pubs, taverns, and inns included Beverley Arms, Black Lion, Boar’s Head, Bull Long Medford, Crown Sarre, King’s Head, the Crane Inn, the Devil’s Tavern, the George, the Lion, the Prospect of Whitby, the White Horse, and Ye Olde Mitre.


Drinking words heard were “aled up,” “befuddled,” “bizzled,” “drinking deep,” “has on a barley cap,” “has more than one can hold,” “lion drunk,” “malt above the meal,” “rowdy,” “swallowed a tavern token,” “shattered,” “shaved,” “swilled up,” “wassailed,” and “whittled.”


New brands and spirits created in the 1500s included aguardiente de caña (rum), Bénédictine, brandy, cachaça, Disarrono, jenever, kummel, mezcal, pisco, and Scotch whiskey.



Sugarcane is harvested in Hispaniola to be used to make rum.

Scotland’s King James IV grants the production of aqua vitae.



A Bénédictine monk creates Bénédictine. Modern popular cocktails that call for it include the Singapore Sling, Vieux Carré, and Bobby Burns.



King Louis XII of France licenses vinegar producers to distill eau-de-vie.



Spanish ruler Charles V imports 2,000 slaves to Hispaniola to work the sugarcane fields.



Amaretto Disaronno is produced in Italy.

A groundbreaking distilling book is published and inspires Holland to produce brandewijn (burnt wine).



Spanish settlers distill the local fermented drink in Mexico to make mexcalli (mezcal).



Sugarcane eau-de-vie is created (later known as cachaça).

Monks in the Italian mountains make liqueurs.



A book with over seventy vodka-based medicines is published. It is the first time the word “vodka” is documented.



King Francis I of France grants the production of eau-de-vie.



Peruvian farmers make what we know today as pisco.



In the book Constelijck Distilleer Boek, Philippus Hermanni refers to a juniper-infused eau-de-vie in his 1568.



Lucas Bols sets up a distillery in Amsterdam and begins making jenever.



Aguardiente de caña (basically, rum), hierba buena (Cuban herbal plant that belongs to the mint family), limes, and sugar were batched for a ship of sick sailors and its British sea captain, Sir Francis Drake (nicknamed El Draque—Spanish for “the dragon”). All that was needed was an addition of fizzy water and they’d have had themselves a barrel of Mojitos.




We have a good idea of what taverns and pubs looked like because Dutch painter Jan Steen painted detailed daily life paintings. His paintings related to drinking include Prince’s Day in a Tavern (1660; he painted himself in the painting), Tavern Garden (1660), In the Tavern (1660), The Drinker (1660), A Merry Party (1660), Peasants Before an Inn (1653), Leaving the Tavern (unknown date), Merry Company on a Terrace (1670), and Tavern Scene (1670). Things seen in Steen’s paintings are jugs, bottles, vessels (some made of glass), sheet music, musical instruments, flirting, fire, food, laughter, games, gambling, animals, children, toys, messes, men grabbing women, smoking, skulls, barrels, and birds in cages. Minus the children and animals, this is pretty much what is seen in modern bars. My personal favorite painting is titled As the Old Sing, so Pipe the Young.



In the early 1600s, punch (paunch, a Hindu word that means “five”) became popular among English sailors and spice merchants who would travel to India and back. While sailing homeward, they would make big bowls of punch with five ingredients, including spirit, lemon, sugar, water, and spice. Punch spread to Britain’s upper class, and it was soon taken to the New World (America). The upper class owned bowls, cups, and ladles made of silver, and records in London’s Central Criminal Court documented many incidents of these items being stolen—most times with the punch still in the bowl!

As for Pilgrims who sought a new life in the New World, life was hard carving out an uncharted land while depending on English ships for supplies. For the most part, settlers were in survival mode, but somehow they found the time and resources to open not one but two rum distilleries. Rum is what funded early America.


Some names of alehouses, pubs, taverns, and inns included Bear at Bridge-foot, Bull and Bush, Bull and Gate, Grapes, Green Dragon Tavern, Hatchet Inn, the Anchor, the Plough, the Red Lion, the Seven Stars, Three Nuns, and Trafalgar Tavern.


Drinking words heard in the 1600s included “admiral of the narrow seas,” “beastly drunk,” “boozed,” “bubbled cap-sick,” “caught a fox,” “D and D” (drunk and disorderly), “dull in the eye,” “elevated,” “giggled up,” “got bread and cheese in one’s head,” “muddled up,” “on a continual drinking merry-go-round,” “on the rampage,” and “seeing double.”


New brands and spirits in the 1600s include Bushmills Irish whiskey, Chartreuse, and Haig Scotch.



Old Bushmills Distillery is established in Ireland. Today it holds the title of the first licensed whiskey distillery in the world.



The Pilgrims bring brandy and gin with them on the Mayflower to the New World on November 9. The 101 brave colonists live aboard the ship in the winter and supplies run low quickly. 



Jenever is mentioned in the English play The Duke of Milan.



Haig becomes the first recognized Scotch whisky.



Portuguese government prohibits the sale of cachaça. The ban is lifted in 1695.



Distillery equipment is brought to the island of Barbados.



Distillery equipment is brought to the island of Martinique.



A rum distillery is built in Boston.



A rum distillery is built on Staten Island, NY.



To save room, Admiral Robert Blake switches beer rations with brandy.



Vice Admiral William Penn orders rum be included in daily rations.



In London’s Criminal Court, Thomas Carey is found guilty of stealing punch and its bowl.



Harvard University builds its own brewhouse.



When visiting India, physician John Fryer mentions punch that the English make with liquor.



William of Orange imports jenever from Holland and starts producing British gin.



Nolet begins to distill in Holland (they later produce Ketel One Vodka).



On Christmas Day, English Navy commander Admiral Edward Russell fills a blue-and-white-tiled fountain with punch and throws a party for 6,000 people in the Spanish port of Cadiz. He hires 800 staff and 1 male child in a boat afloat the punch, serving guests.



DeKuyker opens a distillery in Holland.



A fancy British punch bowl is created. They call it Monteith.



In New Jersey, William Laird begins production of Laird’s applejack for personal use.



Kenelm Digby published The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened, which gives many wine and ale recipes. One recipe, in particular, is called Cock-Ale. Digby says, “These are tame days when we have forgotten how to make Cock-Ale.” This ale takes a month to make and boiling a rooster is involved. This is the first known reference to Cock Ale. It is seen later in a couple of 1700s cooking books.



Colonial America was settling into its new home. By 1700, the population reached 275,000 (with Boston and New York City having the highest populations). In 1700, there also were over 140 rum distilleries in the colonies. By the end of the century, the population reached 5.3 million, of which 1 million was of African descent. 


In this century, the colonists struggled to break free of Britain. Examples of the old country not wanting to let loose include the Molasses Act (taxing the rum), the Wool Act, the Iron Act, the Currency Act, the Sugar Act (taxing the rum), the Stamp Act, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party. This all led to the American Revolution (1775–1783). After breaking off from England, a drink called Sling became popular. It was simply made with a spirit of your choice, sugar, and water. Later, a dash or two of bitters was added making it a Bittered Sling, which was considered a good drink for the morning. These are the exact ingredients for an Old-Fashioned.


The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 was toasted with Madeira. Benjamin Franklin wrote a drinking dictionary , invented bifocals, and discovered electricity. James Hargreaves invented the spinning wheel, American whiskey distilleries began to pop up, the sandwich was invented, and for fun, the hot air balloon took its first flight in 1782. On the other side of the pond, the Industrial Revolution was leading the race in textile production, steam power, and iron making, but losing the battle on gin addiction. This was also the century absinthe was discovered.


Often postal service sections were set up in taverns starting in the mid-1700s. Some names of alehouses, pubs, taverns, and inns included Beetle and Wedge, Bell in Hand Tavern, City Tavern, Fraunces Tavern, Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, Jessop’s Tavern, the Stag and Hounds, the Eagle, the Lamb, the Dirty Duck, the Green Man, the Crown, the Old Ship, the Publik House, Prospect of Whitby, Wiggin’s Tavern, Blue Bell Inn, and O’Malley’s Pub.


Drinking words heard in the 1700s are too many to mention because Benjamin Franklin wrote a 1737 book—by candlelight—titled The Drinker’s Dictionary, which listed over 200 drinking words. Some of these and others include “addled,” “been at Barbados,” “cockadoodled,” “cherry merry,” “cracked,” “cranked,” “clips the King’s English,” “dizzy as a coot,” “drinking like a fish,” “drunk as a wheel barrow,” “fears no man,” “fuddled up,” “full as a goat,” “got a snootful,” “groggy,” “happy juiced,” “head full of bees,” “in the altitudes,” “jacked up,” “jolly,” “juiced to the gills,” “lapping it up,” “lost his rudder,” “rotten drunk,” “screwed and tattooed,” “tipsy,” and “stewed.”

New brands and spirits in the world include absinthe, Admiral Nelson rum, Appleton rum, Cruzan rum, Drambuie, Evan William’s whiskey, Gordon’s gin, Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry, Jose Cuervo, Laird’s applejack, and Madeira.



The poem “Old King Cole” describes the king asking for his pipe, bowl (punch bowl), and musicians: “Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he; He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl, and he called for his fiddlers three.”



Magnum Elixir Stomachicum is the first known bitters is created and patented by Richard Stoughton.



The Colt Neck Inn in New Jersey is opened by a William Laird descendant and sells applejack for the first time.



The French founded New Orleans. Within one hundred years, French-influenced cocktails would be created.



A quarter of the city of London is used to produce gin.



London has over 6,000 places to purchase gin.



Eliza Smith publishes The Compleat Housewife: Or, Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion in London. Eighteen editions are produced in fifty years. The book contains hundreds of household receipts (recipes) including many wines, cordials, and a Milk Punch recipe: “To make fine Milk Punch. TAKE two Quarts of Water, one Quart of Milk, half a Pint of Lemon Juice, and one Quart of Brandy, Sugar to your Taste; put the Milk and Water together a little warm, then the Sugar, then the Lemon Juice, stir it well together, then the Brandy, stir it again and run it through a flannel Bag till ’tis very fine, then bottle it; it will keep a Fortnight, or more.” Smith also gives a recipe for Cock Ale Punch using an old rooster. The recipe will probably churn even the stomachs of today’s flesh-purchasing humans since they are used to the product being wrapped in shiny plastic, so it is not described here, but can be googled if so desired. You can read it for free on Google Books here.



America’s first angling club—and the oldest continuous club today—is called “Colony in Schuylkill” (today it’s called Schuylkill Fishing Company of Pennsylvania). The goal of the club is to socialize, fish, eat, and drink. The famous “Fish House Punch” is created here with a mixture of rum, peach brandy, lemon, sugar, and water. President George Washington is an honoree member.



On December 4, a mention of arrack punch is mentioned in London’s Central Criminal Court: “Mrs. Holcomb came in a Coach to my Door about 2 o’clock in the Morning: I shew’d ’em up two Pair of Stairs, and they had a Bowl—it was but one Bowl—of Arrack Punch, a Bottle of Wine, and three Jellies.”



Arrack punch is mentioned again in London’s Central Criminal Court: “He asked me to drink a Glass of Punch, and so I went in, and he and I drank four or five Bowls of Arrack Punch, which came to 20 s. and three Pints of Wine.”

Court: What! did you two drink all that?

There are too many London’s Central Criminal Court documents to mention; almost every available alcohol at the time was mentioned. View them online at . The most shocking and saddest document shows how addicted England was to gin; on February 27, 1734, a mother kills her two-year-old baby girl so she can sell her clothes to buy gin.



The Gin Act is passed in England to curb the consumption of gin.



Is grog the first Daiquiri? On August 21, fifty-five-year-old Vice Admiral Edward Vernon of the Royal Navy issues an order that the daily rum ration should be mixed every day with a quart of water, half pint of rum, lime juice, and sugar mixed in a scuttled butt on the deck in the presence of the Lieutenant of the Watch. (Vernon’s nickname was “Old Grog” because of the waterproof cloak he would wear on deck, which was made of grogram cloth. The sailors named the drink “Grog.”) Well, grog appears to have the same ingredients of a classic Daiquiri—just without the ice. Before you pull out your cell phone and google “scuttled butt,” it was equivalent to the modern-day office water cooler, but made out of a wooden cask (barrel) that sailors gathered around. A hole was cut on top to allow the grog to be served to each man. 



Eliza Smith publishes the first known American cookery recipe book. It is the fifth edition of The Compleat Housewife: or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion. You can purchase one here on Read it for free on Google Books.



The Glenmorangie distillery is established in Scotland.



A man visiting Philadelphia named William Black records in his diary that he was given:

“Cider and punch for lunch; rum and brandy before dinner; punch, Madeira, port, and sherry at dinner; punch and liqueurs with the ladies; and wine, spirit, and punch till bedtime; all in punch bowls big enough for a goose to swim in.”



Drambuie is produced in Scotland. The most popular modern cocktail made with Drambuie is the Rusty Nail.



Appleton rum is produced in Jamaica.

J&B Scotch is produced.



England passes another Gin Act.

The first health warning is printed on a bottle of gin.



The Marie Brizard Company is founded in Bordeaux, France.



The first US president, George Washington, writes about his personal beer recipe and titles it “To Make Small Beer.”



Admiral Nelson’s Premium Rum is produced.

George Washington campaigns with a barrel of Barbados rum.

Don Jose Cuervo receives a land grant to cultivate agave plants in Mexico.



Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000-year lease on an unused brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin.



George Washington is introduced to Laird’s applejack.

Cruzan Rum from the Virgin Islands is produced.



Bombay Gin from England is produced.



Richard Hennessy founds Hennessy Cognac.



Gordon’s gin is produced. Gordon’s gin will be mentioned in the first James Bond novel, 1953’s Casino Royale, when Bond orders a Vesper.

The Henriod sisters advertise their elixir d’absinthe.



Evan Shelby opens the first rye whiskey distillery in Tennessee.

Discoveries on how to create carbonated water are documented.



Jacob Beam builds a whiskey distillery in Kentucky.

John Jameson opens a whiskey distillery in Dublin, Ireland.

Johann Tobias Lowitz develops charcoal filtration for vodka.

Elijah Pepper builds a log cabin distillery in Kentucky.



Evan Williams Bourbon is produced. 



Philadelphia physician and politician Benjamin Rush published a pamphlet titled An Inquiry into the Effects of Spirituous Liquors on the Human Mind and Body. Click on the book to the right to 



Antonio Carpano invents vermouth in Italy.



Reverend Elijah Craig ages corn whiskey in charred oak barrels in Kentucky.

The first temperance society forms in Litchfield County, Connecticut.



Jean-Jacob Schweppe makes artificial mineral water.



George Washington imposes a whiskey tax.



Pernod absinthe is produced.



Old Jake Beam Sour Mash whiskey is introduced.



Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry is produced.



George Washington becomes a whiskey distiller.



Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown are credited with finding the most current recording of the word “cocktail.” On Friday, March 16, the Morning Post and Gazette in London, England, reported that a pub owner won a lottery and erased all his customers’ debts:

“A publican, in Downing-street, who had a share of the 20,000 l. prize, rubbed out all his scores, in a transport of joy: This was an humble imitation of his neighbour, who, when he drew the highest prize in the State Lottery, not only rubbed out, but actually broke scores with his old customers, and entirely forgot them.” Four days later, on Tuesday, March 20, the customer’s debts were published in the same newspapers. The word “cocktail” appears:

“Mr. Pitt,

two petit vers of “L’huile de Venus”

Ditto, one of “perfeit amour”

Ditto, “cock-tail” (vulgarly called ginger)

Esteemed spirits and drink historian David Wondrich is of the opinion that the usage of the word “cocktail” (at this time) came from the horse trade. He learned that to make an older horse you were trying to sell look frisky, one would use a chunk of ginger (probably peeled) as a suppository that would cock up the horse’s tail.

The cocktail John Collins is invented in London.




Cocktails and cocktail making took the stage with a bright white spotlight in the 1800s and American bartenders were the cocktail stars of the whole world. They wore pressed jackets, diamond tiepins, crisp collared shirts; basically, they dressed to the nines. The first recipe books were published, the availability of pond ice (and later, artificial ice) were game changers, and the golden age of the cocktail shone the brightest it has to date. The position of a bar-tender—even though blue-collar—was seen as the aristocracy of the working class. In those days, you had to be a bartender apprentice for several years before you could be a bartender. One celebrity bartender, Jerry Thomas, traveled the world with a set of solid silver bar tools and he published the first known American cocktail recipe book, Bar-Tender’s Guide, How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant’s Companion in 1862.


This century began with an American population of around five million and by 1899 unbelievably increased to a staggering seventy million. Much advancement happened during this time that laid the foundation for the next century. This included gas lighting, sewing machines, the telegraph, Morse code, bicycles, typewriters, mail order catalogs, Coca-Cola, matchbooks, and ice delivery. Moreover, like always, only the wealthy were able to enjoy these modern inventions in the beginning.


These times brought on civilized behavior with new technological advances. A prominent white man at a fancy bar could order a cobbler, crusta, flip, grog, Champagne Cocktail, Manhattan, Earthquake, Martinez, Old-Fashioned, Hailstorm, Rob Roy, Tom & Jerry, Snow-Storm, Roffignac, Eye-Opener, Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac, Santa Cruz Punch, smash, Stone-Fence, sour, toddy, or Tom Collins.


Some names of alehouses, taverns, saloons, and bars include Bull and Mouth, Bush Tavern, Chapter House, Crystal Palace Saloon, Golden Cross, Grove House Tavern, Hustler’s Tavern, Jack’s Elixir Bar, Knickerbocker Saloon, Iron Door Saloon, McSorley’s Old Ale House, Old Absinthe House, Pete’s Tavern, the Bucket of Blood, the Cock Tavern, the Imperial Cabinet, the Stag Saloon, the Village Tavern, Tujague’s, Occidental, and White Horse Tavern.


Drinking words heard in the 1800s include “above par,” “a bit on,” “a couple of chapters into the novel,” “a cup too much,” “a date with John Barleycorn,” “a drop too much,” “a little in the suds,” “a public mess,” “a spur in the head,” “at peace with the floor,” “been looking through a glass,” “banged up on sauce,” “can’t see a hole in a ladder,” “corked,” “dead to the world,” “doped up,” “drunk as Bacchus,” “drunk as forty billy goats,” “feeling glorious,” “fired up,” “fog driver,” “full to the brim,” “ginned,” “lifting the little finger,” “lushed,” “moonshined,” “off the deep end,” “moistening the clay,” “of flip & c,” “phlegm-cutter,” “piece of bread and cheese in the attic,” “polished,” “quenching a spark in the throat,” “sloshed,” “stinking,” “soaked,” “swazzled,” “tanked,” “wetting the whistle,” “woozy,” and “whacked out of one’s skull.”


New brands and spirits launched include Averna, Black & White Scotch, Beefeater gin, Boodles gin, Canadian Club whisky, Cherry Heering, Don Q rum, Galliano, George Dickel whiskey, Grand Marnier, Johnnie Walker Scotch, Herradura tequila,

Pimm’s No. 1, Rose’s lime juice, Sauza tequila, Seagram’s 7 whisky, vermouth, Seagram’s VO whiskey, Tanqueray gin, Fundador Spanish brandy, Lillet, Myers’s dark rum, and Lemon Hart rum.



Chivas Regal Scotch is produced.



On April 28, the first known American recorded use of the word “cocktail” as a beverage appeared in New Hampshire’s newspaper the Farmer’s Cabinet:

“Drank a glass of cocktail—excellent for the head . . . Call’d at the Doct's. found Burnham—he looked very wise—drank another glass of cocktail.”



The second American recorded use of the word “cocktail” as a beverage appeared in Hudson, New York’s the Balance and Columbian Repository (No. 18 Vol. V) on May 6:

“Rum! Rum! Rum!

It is conjectured, that the price of this precious liquor will soon rife at Claverack since a certain candidate has placed in his account of Loss and Gain, the following items:—

Loss. 720 rum-grogs, 17 brandy do., 32 gin-slings, 411 glasses bitters, 25 do. Cock-tail

My election.


            There was an election in Claverack, New York, and it was common (in those days) to try to win votes with free booze. The loser published his Loss and Gains in this local newspaper. Translation for 25 do. =  $25 and $25 = $600 in 2017.

            Seven days later, the newspaper’s twenty-eight-year-old editor, Harry Croswell of Columbia County, New York, publishes the “first definition of cocktail” known to be an alcoholic beverage—to date—on May 13. Croswell rarely publishes anything he says, but makes an exception this time to answer a question from a subscriber.

The subscriber writes:

“To the Editor of the Balance.


            I observe in your paper of the 6th instant, in the account of a democratic candidate for a seat in the legislature, marked under the head of Loss, 25 do. cock-tail. Will you be so obliging as to inform me what is meant by this species of refreshment? Though a stranger to you, I believe, from your general character, you will not suppose this request to be impertinent.

            I have heard of a forum, of phlegm-cutter and fog driver, of wetting the whistle, of moistening the clay, of a fillip, a spur in the head, quenching a spark in the throat, of flip & c, but never in my life, though have lived a good many years, did I hear of cock tail before. Is it peculiar to a part of this country? Or is it a late invention? Is the name expressive of the effect which the drink has on a particular part of the body? Or does it signify that the democrats who take the potion are turned topsycurvy, and have their heads where their tails should be? I should think the latter to be the real solution; but am unwilling to determine finally until I receive all the information in my power.

    At the beginning of the revolution, a physician publicly recommended the moss which grew on a tree as a substitute for tea. He found on experiment, that it had more of a stimulating quality than he approved; and therefore, he afterward as publicly denounced it. Whatever cock tail is, it may be properly administered only at certain times and to certain constitutions. A few years ago, when the democrats were bawling for Jefferson and Clinton, one of the polls was held in the city of New York at a place where ice cream was sold. Their temperament then was remarkably adust and bilious. Something was necessary to cool them. Now when they are sunk into rigidity, it might be equally necessary, by cock-tail to warm and rouse them.

    I hope you will construe nothing that I have said as disrespectful. I read your paper with great pleasure and wish it the most extensive circulation. Whether you answer my inquiry or not, I shall still remain,



Croswell answers the subscriber’s question of wanting to know what is the refreshment called cock-tail, while at the same time making fun of politics:

“As I make it a point, never to publish anything (under my editorial head) but which I can explain, I shall not hesitate to gratify the curiosity of my inquisitive correspondent: Cock tail, then in 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.”


Washington Irving writes, “This class of beverages originated in Maryland, whose inhabitants were prone to make merry and get fuddled with mint-julep and apple toddy. They were moreover, great horse-racers and cock-fighters; mighty wrestlers and jumpers, and enormous consumers of hoecake and bacon. They lay claim to be the first inventors of those recondite beverages, cock-tail, stone-fence, and sherry cobbler.”



Elizabeth Hammond publishes Modern Domestic Cookery, and Useful Receipt Book, which has some punch recipes.



La Piña de Plata (the Silver Pineapple) restaurant and bar opens in Havana, Cuba. No one knows what cocktails were served here at that time—yet, but one hundred years later the bar was named Bar La Florida with a nickname of Floridita. It became famous for its frozen Daiquiris and celebrity patrons including Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway.

The first blended Scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker, is produced.

The Beefeater gin distillery is built in England.



In The Spy, author James Fenimore Cooper writes about a fictional character named Betty Flanagan who invented the cock-tail. The Flanagan character was supposedly based on a real person named Catherine Hustler (1767–1832) who ran Hustler’s Tavern in Lewiston, New York, during the War of 1812 and put rooster tail feathers in drinks (cock-tails).



Pimm’s Cup No. 1 is first produced by James Pimm in London.

The Gin Twist (gin, hot water, lemon juice, and sugar) is mentioned in the novel Saint Ronan’s Well by Sir Walter Scott.

Bourbon County, Kentucky, starts to call their whiskey “bourbon.”



George Smith founds the Glenlivet distillery.



The first lavish London gin palaces begin to be built. They are decorated with opulent style. Later, in 1836, Charles Dickens said, “perfectly dazzling when contrasted with the darkness and dirt we have just left.”

Sandeman Port is produced.



Students of Oxford University publish the first known alcoholic drink recipe book, Oxford Night Caps: A Collection of Receipts for Making Various Beverages at the University. Basically, college students are credited for taking the time to put together a book of recipes so they can party. They publish several editions for almost one hundred years. Click here to look inside.


Ballantine’s blended Scotch is produced.



Talisker Scotch and Tanqueray gin are produced.



 Charles Dickens writes in Martin Chuzzlewit,”He could . . . smoke more tobacco, drink more rum-toddy, mint-julep, gin-sling, and cocktail, than any private gentleman of his acquaintance.”


Courvoisier Cognac is produced.

The Tom & Jerry hot cocktail is mentioned in the Symbol and Odd Fellow’s Magazine.



Dry vermouth produced by the Noilly Company is first introduced in America via New Orleans.



Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky is established.

Aalborg akvavit is produced in Norway.



The first known published illustration of a two-piece cocktail shaker is seen in the London News.



Walter and Alfred Gilbey open Gilbey’s Gin Distillery.



 Joseph Santini invents the Brandy Crusta in New Orleans at the bar he opened in 1843 called the

"Jewel of the South."




New York barkeep George Sala talks about barkeeps in Charles Dickens’s weekly twenty-four-page journal, Household Words. The article describes the barkeep and his assistants as scholarly gentlemen, accomplished artists, skilled acrobats, master magicians, and bottle conjurers as they throw glasses and toss bottles about.



Canadian Club whisky is produced.



The word “mixologist” is first coined in the Knickerbocker or New-York Monthly Magazine.


The London Weekly Dispatch quotes the New York Times saying, “Every sentence a man utters must be moistened with a julep or cobbler. All the affairs of life are begun and ended with drinks.”



Seagram’s VO whisky is produced.



American bartender Jerry Thomas begins working on his first book, which is published in 1862.



Campari is introduced by Gaspare Campari.



Jerry Thomas publishes the first known American cocktail recipe book, Bar-Tender’s Guide, How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant’s Companion.

Click on the book to look inside.


The cocktail Pink Gin is invented in London when Angostura bitters was exhibited at the Great London Exposition.



G. E. Roberts publishes Cups and Their Customs. Click on the book to look inside. There is a paragraph about a cocky punch maker named Billy “Bully” Dawson

which says, The man who sees, does, or thinks of anything while he is making Punch, may as well look for the North-west Passage on Mutton Hill. . . I can and do make good Punch, because I do nothing else; and this is my way of doing it. I retire to a solitary corner, with my ingredients ready sorted; they are as follows; and I mix them in the order they are here written. Sugar, twelve tolerable lumps; hot water, one pint; lemons, two, the juice and peel; old Jamaica rum, two gills; brandy, one gill; porter or stout, half a gill; arrack, a slight dash. I allow myself five minutes to make a bowl on the foregoing proportions, carefully stirring the mixture as I furnish the ingredients until it actually foams; and then, Kangaroos! how beautiful it is!! Read the paragraph here .



George Pullman designs railway sleeping cars, dining cars, and lounge cars serving cocktails.



Alexander Walker, Johnnie Walker’s son, develops Old Highland blended Scotch whisky.



Scotsman Lauchlin Rose introduces sweetened lime juice and names it Rose’s Lime Cordial. By 1879, he perfected the packaging.


George Dickel builds his distillery.

Harper’s New Monthly November issue reports that 500 bottles of sherry were

opened—in one day—to make Sherry Cobblers priced at one franc at the Exposition Universelle in France. One French franc is equivalent to $13 in 2018 currency.



Articles on American cocktails and cocktail shakers are published in two British publications: the British periodical Notes and Queries and Meliora: A Quarterly Review of Social Science.



Englishman William Terrington publishes Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks: Collection of Recipes for “Cups” and Other Compound Drinks and of General Information on Beverages of All Kind. He goes on to publish a second edition in 1872. Click on the book to look inside.


J. Haney publishes Haney’s Steward and Barkeepers Manual.

Mark Twain mentions a Champagne Cocktail in his memoir Innocents Abroad.


American composer Joseph Winner wrote the drinking song “Little Brown Jug.” It mentions the spirits gin and rum. Seventy years later, bandleader Glenn Miller recorded it with his swing orchestra.



Lillet is produced.



At the World’s Exposition held in Vienna, Austria, the American Exhibition has a giant wigwam with Native American bartenders making cocktails behind three circular bars. The Exposition’s Rotunda bar introduces something new in their cocktails—straws.



The Criterion restaurant and theatre open in London with an American Bar. The decor consists of mirrors and white marble.


Fundador Spanish brandy is produced.


While in the UK, Mark Twain writes a letter to his wife, Livy, to gather four ingredients for his return: Scotch whisky, Angostura bitters, lemons, and crushed sugar. He has been drinking this cocktail before breakfast, dinner, and bed at the suggestion of a surgeon to help digestion.



H. L. W publishes American Bar-Tender or The Art and Mystery of Making Drinks.

The Jack Daniel’s Distillery is established.



L. Engel publishes American and Other Drinks.



O. H. Byron publishes The Modern Bartender’s Guide.

J. Kirtion publishes Intoxicating Drinks: Their History and Mystery.

The Grand Hotel Stockholm opens an American Bar.

Myers’s Dark rum is produced.



The Cocktail à la Louisiane restaurant invents the Cocktail à la Louisiane in New Orleans.



Harry Johnson publishes Harry Johnson’s Bartender Manual or How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style.

Click on the book to look inside.


The first known mention of a Manhattan cocktail appears in the Sunday Morning Herald from Olean, New York.



E. J. Hauck patents a three-piece cocktail shaker.


The New York G. Winter Brewing Company publishes a list of glassware for first-rate saloons. The bartender guide lists over twenty-five types of glassware needed.



Jerry Thomas publishes the second edition of The Bar-Tenders Guide or How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks.


C. Paul publishes American Drinks.



Henry Charles “Carl” Ramos invents the Ramos Gin Fizz in New Orleans.

H. Lamore publishes The Bartender or How to Mix Drinks.



Jules Alciatore invents the Café Brûlot Diabolique (Devilishly Burned Coffee) in New Orleans.



Henry J. Wehmann publishes Wehmann’s Bartenders Guide. To date, this book has the second known reference to a Martini recipe.


William T. Boothby publishes Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender.



“The Only William” Schmidt publishes The Flowing Bowl—What and When to Drink. Four years later, he published his second book, Fancy Drinks and Popular Beverages. Schmidt’s books were different from all other cocktail celebrity books at the time because his recipes called for unusual items such as tonic phosphate, Calisaya (Italian herbal liqueur), crème de roses, and even a garnish that involved stenciling on a nutmeg. He had Christmas cocktails published in the paper, created a $5 cocktail ($140 in 2018 currency), and although not 100 percent confirmed—but highly believed—he was the first known gay celebrity bartender. Click on the book to look inside.


George Kappeler invents the Widow’s Kiss at the Holland House Hotel in New York.


G. F. Heublein produces the first commercial Manhattan and Martini bottled cocktails, with the tagline “A better cocktail at home than is served over any bar in the world.”

Cornelius Dungan patents the double cone jigger.



C. F. Lawlor publishes The Mixicologist or How to Mix All Kinds of Fancy Drinks.

Jack Daniel’s begins bottling in its famous square bottle.

R. C. Miller publishes American Bar Tender.


George J. Kappler publishes Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve all Kinds of Cups and Drinks.



The Rob Roy is introduced at New York’s Fifth Avenue Hotel.


Sir Thomas Dewar and Fredric Glassup release a Dewar’s Scotch commercial film in New York City that is projected on a canvas screen in Herald Square at 1321 Broadway.


It is the first alcohol commercial to appear on film.



The Savoy Hotel in London opens an American Bar.

The Ward 8 cocktail is invented in Boston.



Sweden opens their first American Bar.


1551 painting by Pieter Aertsen | Public Domain


1552 painting by Pieter Aertsen | Public Domain


A historical tavern in Prague. 


1575 painting by Pieter Aertsen | Public Domain


From the 1552 book Constelijck Distilleer Boek by Philippus Hermanni | Public Domain


Painting by Jan Steen 1625 | Public Domain


Painting by Jan Steen 1625 | Public Domain


John Harvard | alainedouard [CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL , via Wikimedia Commons


Monteith Bowl | Metropolitan Museum of Art [CC0]​

19_05 copy.jpg

Photo from Lisa Laird, ninth-generation owner of the oldest distillery in America,


Signing of the Declaration of Independence being toasted with Maderia.

Pages of Benjamin Franklin's Drinking Dictionary from

ben franklin drinker's dictionary pennsy
ben franklin drinker's dictionary pennsy
ben franklin drinker's dictionary pennsy

Eliza Smith book Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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Public domain via Wikimedia Commons


By Édouard Manet - Museum page, Public Domain

Mint Julep.jpg

Mint Julep photo by Susan Bourgoin |





Elizabeth Hammond's Modern Domestic Cookery book. Click on the book to purchase it from

01_02 copy.jpg

New Orleans in 1851. New Orleans has created more cocktails than any city in the world. In the 1800s, some cocktails served during this time include the Roffignac, Brandy Crusta, Cocktail à la Louisiane and Sazerac. Other adopted popular cocktails served include Mint Julep, Old-Fashioned, and Milk Punch. For the wealthy, ice from frozen lake and ponds was also available. Everett Historical / Shutterstock

Inventor of the Brandy Crusta, Joseph Santini, while visiting France in 1867. Photo given to me by Diana Lehman (Santini’s great-great-grandaughter).

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The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City had been open for seven years and set the standard for quality cocktails around the world. Drink making was appreciated and bartending was an art form. The hotel bar never published a cocktail book, but newspaperman and barfly Albert Crockett published The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book in 1931 and 1935, which gives us a glimpse into that era. In the early 1900s, breweries owned most saloons, barkeeps made $15 a week ($400 in 2018 currency), and Sunday was the busiest day of the week. On January 16, 1920, the American Prohibition started, then ended December 5, 1933. The stock market crashed, media popularized cocktails, many brands were produced, discotheques increased sales, the drinking age changed twice, the AIDS epidemic hit, the stock market crashed again, and strict drinking and driving laws confused imbibers for several years—as a result of all this upheaval, the quality of cocktails sunk to an all-time low.



There were also five significant wars in the 1900s that affected imbibing Americans: World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. The millennium brought the skankification of women in rap music videos, the increase of Cognac sales, half-dressed female bartenders dancing on bar tops, the Cosmopolitan and the Mojito became the most popular cocktails in the world, embarrassing Martini bars popped up—but—the most important development is that the cocktail culture renaissance seeds were planted.


More technology happened in during this time than 10,000 years combined. Some inventions in this century include electricity, the blender, the juicer, refrigeration, air-conditioning, the phonograph, radio, the eight-track player, the cassette tape, the compact disc, the boom box, the Walkman, DVDs, iTunes, the automobile, the airplane, the helicopter, the spaceship, motion picture theaters, talkies, drive-in theaters, television, VCRs, special-effects blockbusters, DVRs, online television, the camera, the video camera, neon lights, the zipper, stainless steel, canned beer, the telephone, the cellular phone, the smartphone, texting, the microwave, the calculator, robots, the ballpoint pen, medical discoveries, the fax machine, the pager, the computer, the Internet, Skype, the Hubble space telescope, and social media.


Names of bars, saloons, and clubs in the 1900s–2000s include Fox and Hound, Filthy McNasty’s, Fuzz & Firkin, Slug and Lettuce, Snooty Fox, Ciro’s, Chez Victor, the Ohio Club, the Ritz, Whiskey A Go-Go, Stork Club, the Tiki Lounge, VooDoo Lounge, the Palace Saloon, Sloppy Joe’s, Studio 54, Le Freak, Disco Inferno, Cabaret, Electric Cowboy, the Rainbow Room, the Starlight Room, the Velvet Tango Room, Coyote Ugly, Angel’s Share, Absinthe Brassiere & Bar, and Milk & Honey, PDT, Death & Co, Honeycut, Clover Club, Bourbon & Branch, Canon, Revel, Employees Only, the Violet Room, Three Dots and a Dash, and the Dead Rabbit.


Drinking words heard include “acting like a fool,” “baked,” “bashed,” “blasted,” “blitzed,” “blown away,” “bombed,” “bonkers,” “buzzed,” “canned,” “creamed,” “crocked,” “done,” “double vision,” “fried,” “gone,” “hammered,” “high,” “liquored up,” “lit,” “party animal,” “three sheets to the wind,” “shitfaced,” “slave to drink,” “stoned,” “tipsy,” “toasted,” and “wasted.”


Brands and spirits launched in the 1900s–2000s are too many to mention, but include Cutty Sark Scotch, Havana Club rum, Jägermeister, Kahlúa, B&B, Crown Royal, Don Julio tequila, Captain Morgan spiced rum, Irish Mist, Yukon Jack, Finlandia vodka, Stoli vodka, Midori melon liqueur, Baileys Irish cream, Zacapa rum, Absolut vodka, Chambord, Peachtree schnapps, Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers, Absolut Peppar, Absolut Citron, Bombay Sapphire, Gentleman Jack, Patron Tequila, Guinness in cans, Johnnie Walker gold, Crown Royal Reserve, Skyy vodka, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Grey Goose vodka, Belvedere vodka, Tito’s vodka, Redrum, Plymouth gin, Three Olives vodka, Smirnoff Ice, Van Gogh gin, Hendrick’s gin, Jack Daniel’s single barrel, Bulleit Bourbon, and Smirnoff flavored vodkas, Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur, Ford’s gin, Chambord vodka, Zucca Amaro, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Stiggins Plantation pineapple rum, and Sipsmith gin.


Early 1900s

The Pisco Sour is invented in Peru.



Harry Johnson publishes Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual or How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style.


William T. Boothby publishes the second edition of Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender.



Louis Eppinger invented the Bamboo Cocktail in Yokohama, Japan.



Edward Spencer publishes The Flowing Bowl. Click on the book to look inside.

Tim Daly publishes Daly’s Bartenders’ Encyclopedia.



Frederick J. Drake and Company publishes a vest-pocket recipe book, Drinks as They Are Mixed. The recipes were gathered by leading Chicago bartenders. 


John Applegreen publishes Applegreen’s Bar Book. This book contains a recipe for a Martini Cocktail.


Paris Ritz bartender Frank P. Newman publishes American-Bar Recettes des Boissons Anglaises et Américaine.



Johnnie Solon invents the Bronx cocktail at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Charles S. Mahoney publishes The Hoffman House Bartender’s Guide.


Louis Muckensturm publishes Louis’ Mixed Drinks. This is the first book in English calling for gin and vermouth for the Dry Martini recipe.


George J. Kappeler publishes Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks.



Hon. Wm. Boothby publishes The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them Standard Authority. Click on the book to look inside.



First in-flight cocktails are served to paying passengers on a scheduled airliner, on the Zeppelin flying over Germany.



Sir Thomas Dewar erects the world’s largest mechanical sign (sixty-eight feet) advertising Dewar’s Scotch whisky on the Thames River embankment.



Charles S. Mahoney publishes The Hoffman House Bartender’s Guide.

The Bartenders Association of America publishes Bartenders’ Manual.



Jacques Straub publishes Drinks.



The El Presidente cocktail is invented at Bar la Florida (Floridita) in Havana, Cuba.



The first recorded cocktail party is hosted by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. from St. Louis, Missouri, and published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper mentioning cocktails: Clover Leafs, Highballs, Gin Fizzes, Bronxes, Martinis, and Manhattans.


Hugo R. Ensslin publishes Recipes for Mixed Drinks. The book mentions the first Aviation cocktail. Click on the book to look inside.



Even though African Americans had been tending bar since the 1700s, Tom Bullock is the first known to publish a cocktail recipe book, The Ideal Bartender. Click on the book to look inside.



Harry MacElhone publishes Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails. One of the most popular cocktails is the White Lady.


American tourists love Italy’s Torino-Milano cocktail, so the name was changed to Americano.


The Grasshopper is believed to be invented at Tujague’s in New Orleans.



The American Prohibition begins. Americans visit Cuba, Mexico, and Canada to drink legal cocktails.

Bertha E. L. Stockbridge publishes What to Drink.


The book This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald has the first known literary mention of the Daiquiri.



Patrick McGarry invents the Buck’s Fizz at the Buck’s Club in London.

Harry MacElhone invents the Brandy Alexander at Ciro’s in London.


The Blood and Sand cocktail is created after Rudolph Valentino from the film of the same name.


It is believed that Fosco Scarselli creates the Negroni.



Harry MacElhone invents the Monkey Gland at the New York Bar in Paris.

Bartender Frank Meier invents the Mimosa at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, France



Harry MacElhone and O. O. McIntyre create the International Bar Flies at the New York Bar in Paris.



Harry MacElhone publishes Barflies and Cocktails in Paris.



Jerry Thomas’s book is republished (Thomas died in 1885) with the title The Bon Vivants Companion or How to Mix Drinks.



Harry Craddock publishes Savoy Cocktail Book.


Greta Garbo stars in her first “talkie,” Anna Christie, and her first words are “Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side.”



The Napier Company produces a cocktail shaker with engraved recipes called the "Tells-You-How Mixer."


Davide Campari packages Campari and soda water in cone-shaped bottles.



Walter Bergeron invents the Vieux Carré cocktail at the Carousel Bar in New Orleans.

Don the Beachcomber invents the Zombie in Hollywood, California.


The first Thin Man film is released starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Cocktails seen include Martini, Bronx, and Knickerbocker. Powell says his famous line when showing the bartenders how to shake a cocktail: “The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now, a Manhattan you shake to foxtrot time; a Bronx, to two-step time; a dry martini you always shake to waltz time.”


Jazz Bandleader and singer Cab Calloway releases the song “The Call of the Jitterbug.” The first line of the song is “If you'd like to be a jitterbug, first thing you must do is get a jug, put whiskey, wine, and gin within and shake it all up and then begin.



The Bacardi Cocktail is the first and only cocktail to date to win a court case making it illegal to serve this cocktail without using Bacardi rum.


Kahlúa Mexican coffee liqueur is introduced.



Constantino Ribaliagua Vert invents the Hemingway Special (Papa Dobl) at Bar la Florida (Floridita) in Havana, Cuba.



The Zombie is served at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Crown Royal is introduced. It was created for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Canada.



The Moscow Mule is invented.



It is believed that Pat O’Brien invents the Hurricane in New Orleans.

Joseph Sheridan invents the Irish Coffee at Foynes Airbase in Limerick, Ireland.

It is believed that the Rusty Nail is invented in Hawaii.

The film Casablanca is popular and many cocktails are seen in Rick’s Bar.



Trader Vic invents the Mai Tai in Oakland, California.



The Andrews Sisters release the song “Rum and Coca-Cola” and it becomes the #1 song in America. Radio stations ban the song, which makes it even more popular.


Giuseppe Cipriani invents the Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, but does not name it until 1948.


Victor Bergeron publishes Trader Vic's Bartender’s Guide.



The Margarita becomes the official drink of Mexico.


A small group of California bartenders—who were overseas members of the United Kingdom Bartenders’ Guild—start a California branch of that organization in the Los Angeles area.


Gustave Tops invents the Black Russian at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels.


The first known mention of a cocktail on a radio show is heard. Guests at a party order Stingers from the butler on The Whistler radio drama show, “Guilty Conscience”. Several references are made to their intoxicating strength.



Stanton Delaplane brings the Irish Coffee to the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco. Today they sell over 2,000 a day.



Ian Fleming writes about a fictional character named James Bond. In chapter seven, Bond orders a Dry Martini served in a deep champagne goblet with three measures of Gordon’s gin, one of Gordon’s vodka, and half a measure of Lillet dry vermouth, then shaken very well until ice-cold, and topped with a garnish of lemon peel. This is the first reference to combining both vodka and gin in a Martini. It is named Vesper.



The Piña Colada is invented at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico.



The Rat Pack, headed by Frank Sinatra, glamorizes cocktails by holding them on stage and during TV performances



Harry Yee invents the Blue Hawaii at the Hawaiian Village on the Island of O’ahu.

The Piña Colada becomes Puerto Rico’s official drink by winning a global award.



The International Bartenders Association (IBA) is started.



The first Playboy Club opens at 116 East Walton in Chicago and becomes the busiest bar in the world, often serving 1,400 guests a day. Cocktails cost $1.50 ($13 in 2018 currency).



Come September starring Rock Hudson, Bobby Darin, and Sandra Dee was the very first film shown on transcontinental and intercontinental flights. Hudson 

drinks a Martini for breakfast. The servant asks him if there is anything else he may want and Rock replies, “an oliveThe best scene is when Rock tends bar and serves Bobby Darin and his friends brandy. 



The first James Bond film, Dr. No, shows Sean Connery making a Smirnoff Martini in his hotel room and ordering Vodka Martinis shaken not stirred. In today’s terminology—it went viral. He also orders a Vodka Martini when visiting Dr. No.






Alan Stillman opens a New York City bar and grill as the first public cocktail party hang and names it TGI Friday’s (Thank God It’s Friday). Lifetime magazine credited Friday’s with ushering in the Singles Era and within six months of opening, Stillman was written up in Time, Newsweek, and the Saturday Evening Post. Before then, there was not a place for twenty- and thirty-somethings to meet except for cocktail parties held around the city in homes and apartments. Stillman painted the building blue, put up red-and-white-striped awnings, bought the staff red-and-white-striped shirts, threw sawdust on the floor, hung up some Tiffany lamps, and added brass railings. Many creative, fun, and party cocktails were birthed in TGI Friday’s.



India’s ambassador B. N. Chakravarty says, “Americans are a funny lot. They drink whiskey to keep warm; then they put some ice in to make it cool. They put sugar in to make it sweet; and then they put a slice of lemon in it to make it sour. Then they say, ‘Here’s to you’ and drink it themselves.”



Bobby Lozoff invents the Tequila Sunrise in Sausalito, California, while tending bar at The Trident.



Robert “Rosebud” Butt in Long Island, New York, invents the Long Island Iced Tea while tending bar at Oak Beach Inn.

Stolichnaya vodka is introduced.

The TV show M*A*S*H debuts. The lead doctor characters, Hawkeye and Trapper John, drink Martinis from the still they built in their quarters.



After the Vietnam War, TGI Friday’s begins franchising all over the world and actually stays a fresh bar until the late 1970s. TGI Friday’s set a standard when it came to training staff. They had a reputation for the most challenging training programs for any chain restaurant/bar in the world. They created the first bartender gods since the beginning of Prohibition. TGI Friday’s bartenders also started flair bartending, which led to the 1988 Tom Cruise film Cocktail.


Jose Cuervo puts the recipe for a Tequila Sunrise on the back of their bottle, then three months later the Eagles release their hit song “Tequila Sunrise.”



Baileys Irish cream is introduced and new drinks created include the Mississippi Mudslide and B-52.



In the fall, Neal Murray creates the first known Cosmopolitan 



Jimmy Buffett releases the song “Margaritaville,” making the Margarita the most popular drink of the year—and it has stayed in the top ten since.


Stan Jones publishes the Jones’ Complete Barguide.


The first known newspaper mention of a Kamikaze was in the February 1 issue of the Minneapolis Star.



Midori melon liqueur is launched to create the Melon Ball for the wrap party of Saturday Night Fever at Studio 54. Midori Sours become popular.



The Piña Colada is popular due to Rupert Holmes’s Piña Colada song, Escape.

Absolut vodka is introduced.


Ray Foley publishes Bartender Magazine.



Neal Murray (1975 inventor of the Cosmopolitan) introduces San Francisco to the Cosmopolitan at the Elite Café (2049 Fillmore Street). Murray works as a server, but teaches bartender Michael Brennan how to make it so Murray can serve it to customers.



Schumann’s Cocktail Bar opens in Munich, Germany.



Peachtree schnapps and Captain Morgan spiced rum are introduced.

The Fuzzy Navel becomes popular.


Earl Bernhardt and Pam Fortner invent the Hand Grenade® for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition.


The Sex on the Beach cocktail becomes popular.

Heywood Gould releases the novel Cocktail.



General Manager of the Fog City Diner in San Francisco, Doug "Bix" Biederbeck, hires Neal Murray as a bartender where he makes his Cosmopolitan making the cocktail even more popular.


Balladeer and researcher Tayler Vrooman was fascinated with songs from the 1600s and 1700s and released his album Baroque Bacchanalian. On the album, there are songs about drinking with titles that include “Come Let Us Drink About,” “Good Claret,” “The Delights of the Bottle,” and “The Thirsty Toper.”



Chef Paul Prudhomme invents the Cajun Martini in New Orleans.


TGI Friday’s makes a bartender video of company bartenders John “JB” Bandy, John Mescall, and “Magic” Mike Werner. Later in the year, the company holds the first flair bartending competition in Woodland Hills, California, and calls it Bar Olympics. John “JB” Bandy wins. Check out my Flair Bartending page.


Absolut launches their first flavored vodka, Absolut Peppar.



After Touchstone Productions interviews thirty-four bartenders, they chose John “JB” Bandy to be the flair instructor for Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown for the 1988 film Cocktail.


In October, bartender Patrick “Paddy” Mitten brings the Cosmopolitan cocktail to NYC from San Francisco and begins serving it at the Life Café (343 E 10th Street B).



Cocktail the film starring Tom Cruise as a bartender, ignites flair bartending around the world.


Absolut Citron, Bombay Sapphire, Gentleman Jack, and Guinness in cans are introduced.

Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff begins a gourmet approach to cocktails at the Rainbow Room in New York City.



Unaware of any other cocktail called a Cosmopolitan, Cheryl Cook creates the Miami Beach Cosmopolitan in March 1989.


Kathy Casey from Seattle, Washington, pioneers the bar chef movement.


The world’s longest bar is installed at the Beer Barrel Saloon in South Bass Island, Ohio.

The bar has 160 barstools and is 405’ and 10” long (that's 45’ and 10” longer than a football field).



The first Portland, Oregon, fresh classic bar, Zefiro, opens.



Gary Regan publishes The Bartender’s Bible.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed is introduced.

Charles Schumann publishes Schumann’s American Bar Book.


Chuck Rohm is the first cocktail related website on the Internet. He sells a VHS flair bartending video on his site See my First Websites page.



Cocktail godfather Paul Harrington is recognized in San Francisco for making classic cocktails. See my Craft Cocktail Timeline page.


Absolut Kurrant, Johnnie Walker Gold, and Crown Royal Reserve are introduced.



The first known cocktail recipe book to list the Cosmopolitan cocktail is The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks by Anthony Dias Blue. Blue credits Julie’s Supper Club in San Francisco for the recipe.


Straight Up or On the Rocks is published by William Grimes.


Scotland celebrates 500 years of whisky production.


On Wednesday, November 16 in The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey) the first known recipe for a Cosmopolitan is published in a newspaper. The recipe was contributed by Dale DeGroff.



The first World Wide Web cocktail-related sites begin to be launched. View them all on my First Websites page.

Bacardi Limon rum is introduced.

Steve Olson begins teaching “Gin Cocktail Clinics” helping consumers make fresh and classic cocktails in their homes.



Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Tequila and the first organic vodka, Rain, are introduced.

Paulius Nasvytis opens the classic cocktail bar the Velvet Tango Room in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Corona Limona becomes popular (a shot of Bacardi Limon rum in a Corona beer).


The film Swingers shows characters drinking classic cocktails and quality booze, which helps set the tone for the germinating craft cocktail movement.



Quench, on the Food Network, brings cocktails to TV.

Simon Difford’s Class Magazine is launched.

Grey Goose vodka and Chopin vodka are introduced.

Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller publish Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini.

Gary Regan publishes New Classic Cocktails.



Paul Harrington and Laura Moorhead publish the game-changing Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century.


On April 9, the first known Cosmopolitan cocktail is seen and mentioned on a television show was written into the show ER by Linda Gase. The season 4 episode 17 is called “A Bloody Mess.”


Patrick Sullivan opens B-Side Lounge, which is considered Boston’s first fresh classic cocktail bar.


Tony Abou-Ganim is hired to bring classic fresh cocktails to all twenty-three bars at Bellagio in Las Vegas.


The first known videogame to mention a cocktail is Metal Gear Solid when Nastasha Romanenko says that a Stinger is her favorite cocktail.


On July 19, season one, episode seven “The Monogamists,” the Cosmopolitan cocktail was first mentioned on the HBO show Sex and the City. The voice over of the character Carrie Bradshaw read: “That afternoon I dragged my poor, tortured soul out to lunch with Stanford Blach and attempted to stun it senseless with Cosmopolitans.” See my Cosmopolitan Cocktail History page.



Smirnoff Ice, Absolut Mandarin, Van Gogh gin, Hendrick’s gin, and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel are introduced.


Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant ran by Julio Bermejo in San Francisco becomes the number-one tequila bar in America.


David Wondrich begins to update the online version of Esquire’s 1949 Handbook for Hosts.


Ted A. Breaux becomes the first to analyze vintage absinthe using modern science, the results sparking a paradigm shift in our understanding of the infamous spirit.


Sasha Petraske opens Milk & Honey on New Year’s Eve in New York City.


In the second season of the HBO TV show Sex and the City, the Cosmopolitan becomes the new worldwide hottest cocktail due to being seen in ten episodes and verbally mentioned in three episodes. It pairs nicely with the flavored Martini craze and Martini bars found in all major cities that offered 200+ flavored Martinis on their menus.



The film Coyote Ugly shows scantily clad cowgirl bartenders slinging whiskey and dancing on the bar top.


Tanqueray 10, Alizé, Tequiza, Smirnoff Twist flavored vodkas, and Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve is introduced.


The Beekman Arms of Rhinebeck in New York is the oldest continuously operating tavern in America.



Hpnotiq plans to launch on September 11, but America is attacked, so the launch takes place months later.


Gary Regan begins conducting a series of two-day bartender workshops called Cocktails in the Country.



After forty years, James Bond makes another cocktail popular around the world. Pierce Brosnan (Bond) holds a Mojito in Cuba and then hands it to an orange bikini-clad Halle Berry—overnight, it revives the classic Mojito and is still one of the most ordered cocktails in the world today. Bartenders are bombarded with drink requests and 99 percent of them do not have one mint leaf behind the bar.


Dekuyper Sour Apple Pucker is introduced.


Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff publishes the book that officially kicks off the craft cocktail movement, The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender. See my Craft Cocktail Timeline page.


The Appletini becomes popular.


The first cocktail festival, Tales of the Cocktail is launched in New Orleans.


William Grimes publishes Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry publishes Intoxica.

Kevin Brauch hosts the drinking travel series TV show The Thirsty Traveler.

The first known film to show and mention a Cosmopolitan cocktail is Juwanna Mann.



Julie Reiner opens Flatiron Lounge, the first high-volume craft cocktail bar in New York City.

Colin Peter Field publishes The Cocktails of Ritz Paris.


Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett release the song  “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere,”

The chorus starts with, “Pour me somethin’ tall an’ strong, make it a Hurricane before I go insane.” The flair bartender in the music video is Rob Husted from


Absolut vanilla and Blavod black vodka are introduced.

Gary Regan publishes The Joy of Mixology.

The first known song to mention a Cosmopolitan cocktail is “Cosmopolitans” written and performed by Erin McKeown.



The Museum of the American Cocktail is founded in New Orleans by Dale and Jill DeGroff, Chris and Laura McMillian, Ted Haigh, Robert Hess, Phil Greene, and Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller.


Absolut Raspberri is introduced.

Ted Haigh publishes Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.

The award-winning bar Employees Only opens in New York City.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry publishes Taboo Table.



Sasha Petraske opens Little Branch in New York City.


Captain Morgan Tattoo, Absolut Peach, Starbuck’s coffee liqueur, Barsol pisco, Cognac Toulouse-Lautrec X.O., Baileys Caramel, Baileys Chocolate Mint, and NAVAN

are introduced.


In September, University of Pennsylvania archaeochemist Patrick McGovern announces the discovery of 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian earthenware from the banks of the Tigris between Iran and Iraq that contain traces of honey, barley, tartaric acid, and apple juice. McGovern described this cocktail as “grog.”


Audrey Saunders opens Pegu Club in New York City.

Heavy Water vodka from Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown is introduced.

David Wondrich publishes Killer Cocktails.



CMT airs a reality show called Inside the Real Coyote Ugly. Ten women are chosen out of one thousand to learn how to bartend Coyote Ugly–style.


Karen Foley publishes the award-winning drinks magazine Imbibe.


Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray make a Lemon Drop Martini and a Pomegranate Martini on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Bartenders all over America are asked for these cocktails.


The Jäger Bomb becomes popular.


Sasha Petraske, Christy Pope, and Chad Solomon start Cuffs & Buttons—a beverage consultant and catering company.


X-Rated Fusion, 10 Cane rum, Gran Patrón Platinum 100 percent Agave Tequila, Michael Collins Irish single malt, Rhum Clément V.S.O.P. rum, Rittenhouse 21, Skyy 90, Yamazaki 18, and Domaine Charbay Pomegranate vodka are introduced.


Jamie Boudreau opens the craft bar Vessel in Seattle, Washington.

Wayne Curtis publishes And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails.

Camper English pioneers “directional freezing” to make perfectly clear ice.

San Francisco Cocktail Week starts its first year.


Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller publish Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail Vol. 1.


Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff, Steven Olson, Doug Frost, Paul Pacult, David Wondrich, and Andy Seymour open Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) in New York City.


The bartenders of Absinthe Brassiere & Bar publish Art of the Bar.


Dave Kaplan and Alex Day open Death + Co. on New Year’s Eve in New York City.


Lucid absinthe becomes the first wormwood absinthe allowed back into the United States after being banned for ninety-five years.


Sean Combs launches Ciroc vodka.

Tony Abou-Ganim publishes Modern Mixology.

The TV show Mad Men debuts and sparks a worldwide interest in classic cocktails.


Jim Meehan opens PDT in New York City, and the telephone booth entrance creates headlines.


Eric Seed brings crème de violette back into America after being unavailable for almost ninety years.


St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Chivas Regal 25, Absolut New Orleans, Kubler absinthe, Appleton Estate Reserve, 360 vodka, Grey Goose Le Poire, and Tanqueray Rangspur are introduced.


Greg Boehm begins to reproduce and publish vintage cocktail books.


Don Lee invents fat washing by infusing bacon with Bourbon and creates the Benton’s Old-Fashioned at PDT in New York City.


Donald Trump introduces Trump vodka (and he does not drink).


Colin Kimball launches the Small Screen Network bringing professional online bartending videos to the cocktail community.


Derek Brown opens the first stand-alone craft cocktail bar in DC, the Gibson, with Eric Hilton, one of the founding members of Thievery Corporation.


CeeLo Green introduces Ty Ku Sake.

David Wondrich publishes the James Beard Award–winning Imbibe!


Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller publish Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail Vol. 2.


Tobin Ellis is selected as the number-one bartender in America to compete against Bobby Flay in his TV show Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, making Ellis the first successful award-winning flair bartender to cross over to the craft cocktail world.



The Sazerac becomes the official cocktail of New Orleans through Bill No. 6.

Julie Reiner opens Clover Club in Brooklyn, New York.

The Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull film debuts and Dan Aykroyd introduces Crystal Head vodka which comes in a glass skull head. Coincidence?


LXTV associated with NBC hosts a TV show sponsored by Absolut vodka titled On the Rocks: The Search for America's Top Bartender. The intro of the show says that there are more than 500,000 bartenders in America.


Sasha Petraske opens White Star absinthe bar in New York City.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry publishes Sippin’ Safari.

Cocktail Kingdom is launched, selling high-quality master mixology bar tools.

Robert Hess publishes The Essential Bartender’s Guide.


Prairie organic vodka, Tru2 organic gin, Compass Box Hedonism Maximus Scotch, Cape North vodka, Jett vodka, Canadian Club 30, (ri)1 Kentucky Straight rye, Maestro Dobel Diamond tequila, Siembra Azul tequila, and 1800 Silver Select tequila are introduced.


Scott Beattie publishes Artisanal Cocktails.

Bridget Albert publishes Market Fresh Mixology.


Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff publishes his second book, The Essential Cocktail.

Natalie Bovis publishes the first nonalcoholic craft mocktail book, Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be.



The Ritz-Carlton launches a new global “Bar Experience” that features an edible bar menu with a fresh twist on solid and traditional cocktails.


Los Angeles’s first craft bar, the Varnish, opens with bartender Eric Alperin. One year later, Alperin teaches actor Ryan Gosling how to make an Old-Fashioned for the 2011 film Crazy, Stupid, Love which combined with the popularity of the Mad Men Old-Fashioned sparks a new interest for a new generation and becomes the number-one most ordered cocktail of the year.


The Mai Tai becomes the official cocktail of Oakland, California.


Justin Timberlake introduces 9:01 Tequila. He names it 9:01 because he says that is the time when things start happening at night.


Absolut airs a bartender mixology TV show special called On the Rocks.
Tobin Ellis starts the world’s first pop-up speakeasy series called Social Mixology.

Sasha Petraske opens Dutch Kills in Long Island City, New York.


Dry Fly vodka, Stolichnaya Elit vodka, Charbay tequila, Evan Williams single barrel, Beefeater 24, Appleton 30, Double Cross vodka, Bluecoat gin, Vieux Carré absinthe, Bulldog gin, Citadelle Reserve, and Fruitlab organic liqueurs are introduced.


Ted Haigh publishes the second edition of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them.


Rap star Ludacris introduces Conjure Cognac.


On November 6—to celebrate their fifteenth anniversary—Consejo Regulador del Tequila wins a Guinness World Record for the largest display of tequila at Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico. They display 1,201 bottles of tequila from all the states in Mexico.






David Wondrich publishes Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl.


President Barack Obama and his wife went out for a “date night” to Havana, a Latino-inspired restaurant that serves some of the best Cuban drinks and food on the island and drank Grey Goose Martinis. 


Jeffrey Morgenthaler ages a barrel of Negronis and kick-starts the barrel-aged cocktail movement.


Moet-Hennessy put sleeves on all their products.


To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frederic Chopin’s birth, Chopin Vodka unveiled a hand-blown, seven-foot tall, 200-liter glass bottle on the red carpet at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (2010). It’s the largest bottle of liquor ever to be produced.


The Manhattan Cocktail Classic hosted its 1st year.


Angostura Bitters Shortage rose due to changes in Angostura’s ownership, cash flow problems, and production stoppages.


Portland hosted its first Portland Cocktail Week.


There was a march for mezcal in Portland, OR.


Sagatiba Cachaça launched in Lebanon, China and Russia.


In honor of Frank Sinatra’s would be 95th birthday, Social Mixology served old-school Ketel One Martinis prepared by Anthony Alba and Tobin Ellis as well as a tasting of the limited Angelo Lucchesi bottling of Jack Daniel’s.


London hosted its first London Cocktail Week.


Kanon Vodka launched, “Jello Shots in Tow.


Great Rum Debate took place on a boat between Oakland and San Francisco.


Darcy O’Neil publishes the award-winning book Fix the Pumps.


Cocktail Kingdom made it easy for non-residents of the Caribbean to buy actual swizzle sticks.


Chambord vodka, Zucca Amaro, Solerno blood orange liqueur, Maker’s 46, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve Kentucky, ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, Ransom Old Tom gin, Glenfiddich 40, Bacardi Reserva Limitada rum, Avión tequila, Dulce Vida tequila, Zwack Hungarian liqueur,  Eades Small Batch Speyside whisky, Conjure Cognac, Cognac Frapin Domaine Château de Fontpinot XO, Etude XO Alambic brandy, Galliano Ristretto, Bottega Sambuca d’Anice Stellato, Rökk vodka, Galliano L’Autentico, and Purity vodka are introduced.


Gläce Luxury Ice introduced their G3 (G-Cubed) 2” ice cubes. 


On January 8, in honor of Elvis’s would-be 75th birthday, Three-O Vodka put together cocktail recipes, Jailhouse on the Rocks, Blue Suede Shooters, All Shook Up, and The Hound Dog.


The Great Vodka Debate by the San Francisco USBG (United States Bartenders Guild) was the first of its kind.


Continental Airlines began offering Vodka Red Bull to their passengers.


Delta Airlines added new cocktails on their flights: Bourbon Breeze • Woodford Reserve Small Batch Bourbon, cranberry & apple juice, and a splash of orange juice with a lime wedge; Marseilles Manhattan • Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters, splash of Ricard, and brandied cherries; Tahitan Dream • Rhum J.M. Gold, Cointreau, orgeat syrup, fresh lime, and hibiscus sugar.


Virgin America Airlines offers these cocktails to their passengers: Pomegranate Martini, Mai Tai, and Margarita. All made with Stirrings mixers.

United Airlines offered their passengers a Sunrise Sunset made with Vodka, cranberry apple juice, a splash of orange juice, and a squeeze of lime They also offer a Mai Tai.


Zane Lamprey hosts an alcohol travel show, Three Sheets.

Tony Abou-Ganim publishes The Modern Mixologist.


New trends include slow cocktails (growing your own herbs at home and at the bar), barrel-aged cocktails, pre-Prohibition–style classic cocktails, cold maceration, molecular mixology, mezcal and tequila forward cocktails, punches, moonshine, genever, ginger beer, coconut water, almond milk, shrubs, honeycomb, gourmet bitters, organic products, quality vermouth, tiki bars, all types of ice, soda fountain equipment, siphons, Red Rover Bartenders (celebrity bartenders swapping/traveling to bartend at other bars), flair bartenders crossing over to mixology, spirit and cocktail classes, craft dive bars, cocktails on tap, regular bars with skilled bartenders and good drinks, food and cocktail pairings, and cocktail networking through social media.


Don Julio’s Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo bottles as well as their unique boxes debuted a new modernized, eye-catching design and a new logo that pays tribute to the brand’s namesake.


YouTuber turned Cooking Channel star—who also explores cocktails—hosts the TV show Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen.


Trader Vic’s offers a Mai Tai surfboard flight.


1000 bottles of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix whisky were made available exclusively to members of the online club, Glenfiddich Explorers.


Medea Vodka from Holland is the first to release a bottle with a programmable LED display that can hold up to six different messages each with 255 characters.


The owners of the award-winning New York City bar Employees Only publish Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined.


The Dry Martini Bar in Barcelona sells their one-millionth Martini on June 30. The cocktail bar has had a giant digital counter since 1978 that has been tracking the classic Martinis made with gin or vodka.

Stolichnaya Vodka launched a new ad campaign called Would You Have a Drink With You? , which featured celebrities with Playboy magnate Hugh M. Hefner.


Tiffany & Co. created 73 silver cups for the Kentucky Derby for Mint Juleps to be served in. They sold $1,000 each.

The AWOL machine was invented in the Uk and allowed to function in Australia for precisely one day (AWOL means Alcohol With Out Liquid: you inhale vaporized alcohol and get… vaporized).



Ryan Gosling makes an Old-Fashioned in the film Crazy, Stupid, Love, which results in the cocktail being ordered more than ever.


The cocktail competition Speed Rack is launched by Lynnette Morrero and Ivy Mix. 


On March 30, TGI Friday’s in the UK celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary by breaking a world record. They had the most people cocktail flairing simultaneously for two minutes. The event was held outdoors at the Covent Garden Piazza in London with 101 flair bartenders wearing all black-and-red-and-white-striped ties.


Bacardi Oakheart, Angel’s Envy bourbon, Johnnie Walker Double Black, Drambuie 15, St. George gin, Hakushu Japanese whisky, Pierre-Ferrand 1840, Brugal 1888, Art in the Age Rhuby, Bols Barrel-Aged Genever, Grand Marnier Quintessence, High West double rye, High West Silver OMG Pure rye, No. 3 London dry, Knob Creek single barrel, and Ron De Jeremy rum (named after the porn star) are introduced.


Jim Meehan publishes The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender’s Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy.


Colin Peter Field publishes Le Ritz Paris—Une Histoire de Cocktails, which has a preface written by celebrity Kate Moss.


On February 11, the New World Trading Company hosts the world’s largest gin-tasting event with 796 participants across nine venues in London.


Jamie Boudreau opens his award-winning bar, Canon in Seattle, Washington.



Tony Conigliaro publishes the award-winning book Drinks.

Sammy Hagar introduces Sammy Hagar’s Beach Bar rum.


On July 13, Nick Nicora makes the world’s largest Margarita, taking the title away from Margaritaville in Las Vegas. Nicora makes it at the California State Fair; the drink is 10,499 gallons. It is made in a large cocktail shaker and sponsored by Jose Cuervo and Cointreau.

Ford’s gin, Templeton rye, High West Whiskey Campfire, L’Essence de Courvoisier, Western Son Texas vodka, Imbue Petal & Thorn vermouth, Amsterdam gin, Leopold Brothers Fernet, and Wahaka Madre Cuishe mezcal are introduced.


Philip Greene publishes To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion.



Tony Conigliaro’s award-winning 2012 book, Drinks, is reprinted and titled The Cocktail Lab: Unveiling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes.


Kenny Chesney introduces Blue Chair Bay rum.

Amy Stewart publishes the award-winning book The Drunken Botanist


Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Montelobos mezcal, Penny Blue XO rum, Art in the Age Snap, Four Roses Single Barrel 2013, Woody Creek Colorado vodka, Kirk and Sweeney rum, St. George Dry Rye Reposado gin, Papa’s Pilar blonde rum, Pow-Wow botanical rye, New Columbia Distillers Green Hat Distilled gin, and George T. Stagg 2013 are introduced.


Award-winning bartender Charles Joly introduces a line of bottled cocktails called Crafthouse Cocktails Southside.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry publishes Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean.

George Clooney introduces Casamigos Tequila.


Diageo hosts the world’s largest cocktail-making class on September 18 in Barcelona with 1774 participants. It was run by global ambassador Kenji Jesse.


After sixteen years, Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown publish the second edition of Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini.



Kate Gerwin becomes the first winner to be crowned Bols Bartending World Champion.


Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails is published by Dave Kaplan and Nick Fauchald.

Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur, Mister Katz rock and rye, Green Spot Irish whiskey, Sapling Maple Bourbon, Roca Patron Anejo tequila, Anchor Old Tom gin, St. George California Reserve Agricole rum, High West A Midwinter Night’s Dram, A Smith Bowman Abraham Bowman Bourbon, Elijah Craig 23, and Tanqueray Old Tom gin are introduced.


The Smithsonian TV show The United States of Drinking is hosted by award-winning food writer Josh Ozersky.


On April 27, the 4-Jack’s Bar and Bistro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, makes the world's largest Mojito with the Dominican rum Punta Cana. It takes forty people one hour and thirty-five minutes and contains 185 gallons of rum.


Jeffrey Morgenthaler publishes The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.

The Savoy celebrates its 125th birthday on August 6.


In March, bartender Sheldon Wiley becomes the world’s fastest bartender by breaking the Guinness World Record for making the most cocktails in one hour. It is sponsored by Stoli vodka and the official rules are: each cocktail requires a minimum of three ingredients and no cocktail can be duplicated. He makes 1905 cocktails. The event is held at New York’s Bounce Sporting Club.



Salvatore “The Maestro” Calabrese publishes the second edition of Classic Cocktails.

Cocktails & Classics is hosted by Michael Urie and celebrity friends who watch and critique classic films while sipping cocktails.


David Wondrich publishes the second edition of Imbibe! Updated and Revised Edition: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar.


Crown Royal rye, Amaro di Angostura, La Caravedo pisco, Tanqueray Bloomsbury, Cynar 70, Encanto pisco, Rieger & Co. Midwestern Dry gin, Rieger & Co. Kansas City whiskey, Highspire pure rye, Grey Goose VX, Sipsmith gin, Redemption Rye Barrel Proof, Stiggins Plantation pineapple rum, Fernet Francisco, Caña Brava rum, Balsam American Amaro, Mr. Lyan Bottled Cocktails, Bacardi tangerine rum, Portobello gin, and Small Hand Foods Yeoman tonic syrups are introduced.


The owners of the award-winning New York City bar Dead Rabbit publish The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual: Secret Recipes and Barroom Tales from Two Belfast Boys Who Conquered the Cocktail World.


Philip Greene publishes an updated version of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion.


Chris McMillian and his wife, Laura open their first bar, Revel Café & Bar in New Orleans.



Jamie Boudreau, the owner of the award-winning Seattle bar Canon, publishes The Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bar.


Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary; Three Olives pink grapefruit, pineapple, and pear vodka; Cockspur old gold rum; Life of Reilley Disco Lemonade; Clayton Bourbon; Bird Dog chocolate whiskey; Old Home maple whiskey; Don Q 151 rum; Jameson Cooper’s Croze; Mount Gay XO; Brooklyn gin; Crown Royal honey; Yukon Jack Wicked Hot; E. J. peach brandy; Pau Maui pineapple vodka; Uncle Bob’s root beer whiskey, Laphroig 15, and Jack Daniel’s single barrel rye are introduced.


Robert Simonson publishes A Proper Drink.


Owners of the award-winning San Francisco bar Smuggler's Cove, Martin and Rebecca Cate, publish Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki.


Billy Gibbons from the band ZZ Top introduces Pura Vida tequila.


Chris McMillian and Elizabeth M. Williams publish Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans.


Sasha Petraske’s Regarding Cocktails is published by his widow, Georgette.


The Cocktail World Today—and Beyond

Between 2000 and 2010, the craft cocktail movement was in its infancy stage. Bar owners replicated the décor, style, fashion, and ambiance from either of two—significant—previous cocktail time periods: the first golden age of cocktails (1860–1919) or American Prohibition (1920–1933). Around 2010, bar owners had a light bulb moment and thought, “Hey! I don’t have to look like a 1800s saloon or a speakeasy to produce fresh quality cocktails because that’s the way cocktails should be made anyway.” That self-realization (the message pioneers were trying to communicate all along) was the spark needed for millennials to create fresh cocktails for all other types of bars. In 2005, there were only around thirty fresh craft bars in all of America, and in 2018, there are over 500. The craft cocktail pioneers should be very proud of this achievement.


What does the crystal ice ball predict for the future toddler, teenage, and adult stages of the second golden age of cocktails? Will robots replace bartenders? Will future bartenders become eco-conscious exploring ways to recycle the massive amounts of straws, cups, pics, and bottles dumped in landfills every day? Can bartenders cease stoking the embers of their wannabe-famous egos and simply live balanced lives, be good at their jobs, and understand the bottom line of hospitality? Will bars with fresh crafted cocktails be commonplace for the masses? Will tipping stop? Well, as for robots, probably not, because humans are social beings. Even high-tech futuristic fantasy shows such as Star Trek, which has the technological advances to build robot bartenders, choose not to. As millennials take over the cocktail wheel, it is safe to assume that they will follow their bartender ancestors’ example—and boldly go where no one has gone before.

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1912 Vintage postcard depicting the Hotel Astoria in Times Square. This hotel set the standard for cocktails around the world.Susan Law Cain /

Public Domain photo |

Public Domain photo |

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Public Domain photo |

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Public Domain photo |


Jazz singer, songwriter, and bandleader Cab Calloway | Photofest


Victor Bergeron aka Trader Vic  photo from


This 1st Edition cover of Casino Royale complies with Wikipedia fair use laws. You can purchase one for $500 on Amazon.


Harry Yee at his 100th birthday celebration in 2018 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The F&B manager gave me the image.


Neal Murray in the 1970s. Photo from Neal Murray

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1989 The first flair bartending video (VHS) by the first flair bartending competition winner, John “JB” Bandy. Photo from JB Bandy


Photo from Kathy

Bay Guardian August 1992 Paul Harrington

San Francisco’s Bay Guardian article courtesy of Paul Harringtion.

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Paul Harrington and Laura Moorhead, authors of the ground-breaking 1998 cocktail book, Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century. Photo from Paul Harrington.


Photo of Julio Bermejo from his Facebook page.


Craft of the Cocktail American cover. The European cover showed the flame of the orange zest.

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The award-winning bar Employees Only in New York City. The photo was given to me by EO. The photo was shot by Emilie Baltz.


Chad Solomon, Christy Pope, and Sasha Petraske at Tales of the Cocktail 2009. Photo by Bruce Tomlinson.


Beverage Alcohol Resource (Bar) founders. Photo is from Facebook.

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2014 Ted A. Breaux at the Combier Distillery in Saumur, France, cleaning an antique absinthe still, following a distillation of Jade absinthe.

Photo from Ted A. Breaux.


The award-winning flair bartender, mixologist, hospitality consultant, and bar equipment designer Tobin Ellis. Photo from Tobin Ellis.


Bridgett Albert and her Market Fresh Mixology book. Photo from he Facebook page.

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Darcy O’Neil’s award-winning 2010 book, Fix the Pumps. Cover by Paul Mitchell.

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Photo from Tony Abou-Ganim taken by Tim Turner Studios 

Jamie Boudreau at Canon in Seattle, Washington. Photo from Jamie Boudreau.

2017 Award-winning drink writers and historians Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown.

Photo from Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown.


2014 Kate Gerwin from her facebook page.

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2011 The award-winning cocktail writer and drink historian David Wondrich. Photo by Danny Valdez.


2016 Chris McMillian at Revel Cafe & Bar. Artwork by saloon artist Jill DeGroff. Photo from Revel Cafe & Bar Facebook page.

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