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Cocktail History

The exact origins of the cocktail remain contested. During the second half of 18th century there is already a story that says that cocktail showed up during America independence, however the origin of cocktail is an unsolved mystery.

According to this idea, everything began in 1779 when an Irish man called Flanagan opened a pub in Georgetown, a small city of Virginia, USA. Flanagan and his daughter Betsy served fortified drinks called Bracer that means stimulant and energetic drinks, to their clients. In that time Flanagan had very bad relation with his English neighbor who owned a band of fighting cocks.

The English man complained about the big mess that the clients of the pub caused until very late hours of the night. And the Irish man complained about the noise that the cocks did at dawn and didn’t let him sleep. He even threatened with twisting his cocks’ necks if the English man didn’t do anything about it.

One day Flanagan and his daughter decided to kill their neighbor’s cocks. After a succulent dinner made with them at the pub, they served drinks to their clients. Betsy had a surprise for that night and she served the famous bracers in glasses decorated with multicolor feathers came from the killed cocks.  Clients loved Betsy’s surprise and they even congratulated her for such a good idea; they started calling them Cock-tails. And from that day and on, Bracer was changed for Cocktail.

Another popular idea is that innkeepers in the United States used to drain the dregs from the barrels and mix them together and serve it to patrons at a reduced price.

"Cock" was the name for the peg used to plug the cask and "tailings" referred to the last bit of alcohol.

Customers would ask for the "cock-tailings" which was abbreviated to "cocktail". Another popular theory refers to the union of a confident man (a "Cock") and a hot woman ("tail"). There are dozens more theories.

It was found the first written definition of the cocktail in a New York newspaper called The Balance & Columbian Repository dated May 13, 1806.
There was an election at the time and the newspaper poked fun at the candidate who lost, referring to the things he lost including "25 dozen Cock-tail". 

A confused reader wrote to the editor regarding the term "cock-tail", to which the editor responded: "Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters - it is vulgarly called 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."