Friends of the sophisticated alcoholic mixed drink should definitely note May 13th as a historically relevant date. Because this date is not less than the international World Cocktail Day (World Cocktail Day). Reason enough to shed some light on the history of this event with the following lines of the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world . What is it about?
Where does the term cocktail come from? Attempt at an etymological approximation
There are numerous legends about the etymological origin of the term cocktail, although the exact origins still seem unclear. The following versions are currently in circulation or can be found in various reference works on the subject of cocktails and bar culture:
- Let’s start with a general statement. Despite varying information about the specific term origin, most sources agree that the term cocktail time for alcoholic mixed drinks comes from the American English of the 18th and 19th centuries (see also the contribution to the World Bartender Day (World Day of Bartender) on February 24th). The literal translation refers to those rooster tails (Tail of a cock = cock-tail ), which interpreted in many sources as conceptual transfer to the colors of the male poultry. In this context, there is always reference to the cockfights of the immigrant era in Mexico and South America, the winner of which is said to have celebrated a won fight with a torn pen from the loser and drink on the cock’s tail.
- One of the best-known and often rumored origins of the cocktail relates to the American soldier widow Betsy Flanagan, who is said to have run a pub in Yorktown that was mainly frequented by French officers at the end of the 18th century. According to legend, the French raised the Irish-born American woman with the fact that she was supposed to have had a relationship with a neighboring British poultry farmer. Flanagan’s reaction to this: She tore off the tail feathers of the neighbor’s taps, which she used to decorate a mixed drink, which the French soldiers exclaimed: Vive le coq’s tail!
- The soldier widow Betsy Flanagan ran a restaurant in Yorktown at the end of the 18th century, which was mainly frequented by French officers. The French teased Betsy that she was close to a neighboring Englishman who raised chickens. When Betsy had enough of the talk one day, she went to the neighbors without further ado and tore off the cocks’ tail feathers, with which she decorated a mixed drink. She now served this to the officers to finally end the talk. A French lieutenant is said to have shouted: “Vive le coq’s tail!”.
- Other authors see a linguistic reference to the French word group coq, which also includes terms such as cocotte or coquettish, in the English sound-imitating determinant cock. Occasionally there is also a reference to the French word coquetier (German egg cup) or coquetel, a mixed drink from Bordeaux, which was brought to the area of today’s southern states by the French officers during the American War of Independence (1775 – 1783) ( see also the contribution to the US day of appetizers (engl. National aperitif day) on the third Thursday in May).
- A completely different reading sees the origins of the cocktail in the relatively common meaning of cock in the 19th century as the bung of a wooden barrel and the residual liquid remaining in the barrel (tail).
These are just a few of the popular interpretations. For other versions, I recommend taking a look at the article on the online portal drinkboy.com.
Why is World Cocktail Day on May 13th?
Despite the numerous legends about the origin of the term, it is now considered relatively certain that the first written definition of cocktail as a generic term for a certain type of alcoholic mixed drink appeared in the New York tabloid The Balance and Columbian Repository, which was published weekly at the time .
As already mentioned in the introduction, the choice of date relates to a date that is historically relevant for mixed and bar culture. Specifically, it is about 13 May 1806, when the term cocktail was first mentioned as a written definition.
Many sources refer in this regard to an article that is said to have appeared on this date, but in fact it comes from issue No. 18 of May 6, 1806 and thematized a satirical record of a defeated New York election campaign candidate of the Democrats. In the context of this profit and loss account, the said article also mentioned the term cock-tails, which referred to short drinks enriched with bitters (see also the calendar of the holidays for alcoholic beverages ).
The above-mentioned article from May 13, 1806 from issue no. 19 then refers to a letter to the editor which, among other things, raised the question of what is meant by cock tails. Editor Harry Croswell gave the following definition in his answer:
“… 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 precisely this is the famous original definition of the cocktail, which has subsequently established itself as a generic term. An original edition from The Balance and Columbian Repository No. 19 / Vol. V can still be seen today in the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans.
In the meantime, cocktail historians also refer to two older finds (a note from the London newspaper Morning Post and Gazetteer from 1798 and the Farmer’s Cabinet from Amherst, New Hampshire from 1803), but there are no concrete references to the ingredients used. In this respect, the date celebrated today has its justification. Do not confuse this occasion is the way with the US the day cocktails (National Cocktail Day), which always falls on the 24th of March in the year since, 2014.
Who started World Cocktail Day?
Although many of the popular websites and online calendars on the subject of curious world days list World Cocktail Day for May 13th, specific information about a possible originator can only be found here to a limited extent. Against this background, the following information can be worked out.
- The earliest mention can be found in a news report from the specialist magazine Mixology entitled World Cocktail Day 2007 on May 13, 2007. The Mixology archive also has a corresponding article for 2008 but mentions cooperation between the international bar community that took place on the occasion of the 200th On the anniversary of the above definition, World Cocktail Day came into being in 2006 (see list of related links below).
- The already mentioned several times here PartyExcuses.com Network, which for the first time lists in 2013 the World Day of Cocktails – unlike many other occasions not have their own domain (more) leads (see thematically fits eg the day of Vodka (English National Vodka Day. ) on October 4th).
- The British top-level domain worldcocktailday.co.uk has been registered in Great Britain for World Cocktail Day since 2016. The owner is a certain Sonny Charles from Edinburgh, Scotland, who is also the founder/owner of the Tipple-Box cocktail service. Since the name is listed here with the ® symbol for a registered trademark, it can be assumed that the rights to this name have been secured (see also the list of further links below).
- And who can not do anything of you with cocktails or calendrical alternatives studied for / offering on May 13 with the International Day Hummus (International Hummus Day) or the US day of fruit cocktails (National Fruit cocktail day), the day of tulips (National Tulip day) or the day of apple pie (National Apple Pie day) at least three additional reasons this date appropriate to celebrate.
With this in mind: Cheers and high your glasses for World Cocktail Day.