Use this page to find the best cocktail recipes.
The Cocktail has grown to be a core fundamental part of having a good time. Cocktail recipes offer the chance to explore unique flavors and textures; all while consuming your favorite type of alcohol. The desire (or need) to make cocktails at home has grown, so we created this cocktail recipe finder to help you find and make some classic cocktails.
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A Delightful History of the Cocktail
A cocktail is an alcoholic beverage created by combining two or more ingredients, one of which must be alcohol. The other ingredients may be spirits, liqueurs, fruit juice, sugar, water, or ice as well as various herbs and spices to add flavor and color. Although cocktails are often associated with parties, the earliest cocktails were actually consumed in the mid-18th century at the very early stages of settlement in North America, where taverns and rum houses thrived during Colonial America.
What is a cocktail?
In its most basic form, a cocktail is an alcoholic beverage containing alcohol, water, and other flavoring agents. The word cocktail comes from a mispronunciation of coquetier (an egg cup), dating back to 1740. The first documented use in English was found in 1806. It’s generally accepted that New Orleans bartender Antoine Peychaud is responsible for introducing sugar to brandy (which became cognac) with his concoction called Curaçao Punch. He also added Angostura bitters in place of plain water (which also contained sugar) to make it more palatable.
The origin of cocktails
Rum is arguably one of history’s most important spirits, thanks to its ability to put hair on your chest and take it off again. As such, rum was one of the most popular spirits during colonial times. Americans particularly loved mixing it with water to create a refreshing drink they called grog after Admiral Edward Vernon who issued daily rations to sailors on his ship. Grog quickly became so popular that other navy ships across Europe and America began offering their own variations, including some which swapped out rum for gin (thanks, Netherlands). Today’s cocktail has evolved from these early versions—but grog still exists!
Early American cocktails
Colonial Americans first started to drink alcoholic beverages around 1620. Initially, their alcoholic beverages consisted primarily of hard cider and beer. By 1775, all thirteen colonies had a licensed tavern in each town or village, and a sip of liquor was as common in colonial America as a cup of coffee is today. Colonial Americans drank rum, whiskey (considered back then to be medicinal), brandy, champagne punch, porter (beer made with molasses), blackberry wine and English wine (during colonial times port and sherry were popular). Their cocktails were very different from what we enjoy today: The most popular drink was an alcoholic mixture known as rum toddy that was made with rum, hot water and sugar stirred together in a heated mug.
Modern day innovations
Have you ever tried a bacon-infused bourbon, or rum infused with ginger and mint? You have bartenders to thank for that. Innovation is not limited to drinks; bartenders are constantly experimenting with new flavors, new ingredients and new ways to mix old standards. Bartenders have introduced many colorful concoctions in recent years. From a green drink (made from spinach and lime) to a blue one (Blue Curacao liqueur), there’s never been a better time to try out that crazy cocktail you’ve always dreamed about.
Two men are credited with creating cocktails (though there is some debate over who came up with them first): New Orleans-born apothecary Jerry Thomas, who established himself as a leading bartender during his time in San Francisco, and American showman George Gause. Though they never met in person, both are considered by many to be two of America’s earliest mixologists. More than a century later, we owe much to their pioneering efforts. The modern bar scene was built on their shoulders and it would take another few decades before popular drinks really took off in American culture at large. In 1920 prohibition pushed us into a long period where liquor was banned — but that didn’t stop us from drinking.
Cocktail lingo you need to know
- 1 oz. pour — is commonly used to describe a 1-ounce shot size in mixed drinks;
- 1.5 oz. pour — means a slightly larger, 1.5-ounce shot size
- Rocks (or over ice) — denotes that a drink should be served over ice, and not shaken or stirred
- A Dash – refers to less than one teaspoon—think about how much you need for seasoning your food when dashing spices on your plate.
- A Twist – is sometimes added as an extra ingredient. For example when making an Old Fashioned and Manhattans, a twist adds texture and aroma from the peel of a citrus fruit.
- Bitters – A recipe containing bitters will taste bitter, which comes from herbs like gentian or cinchona bark, which are made into tinctures for use in cocktails.
- Umami – is often described as savory, created by foods like tomatoes, eggplant and soy sauce—it’s what gives dishes their complexity of flavor.
- Shaking – produces tiny bubbles in a cocktail, creating that elegant foamy head you’ll see with many classic cocktails, but shaking can also bruise aromatics or dilute other ingredients if done incorrectly.
- Strainer — You’ll want to make sure your shaker tin has some sort of strainer if it doesn’t come with one already installed inside; otherwise you might find yourself pouring all sorts of cocktail ingredients down the drain!
All Cocktail Recipes
All Cocktail Recipes
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