It’s National Cocktail Day!
Cocktail culture has been on the rise for several years, as bartenders and foodies have worked to revive old classics as well as create new mixes in daring combinations, with often unexpected ingredients.
While there is plenty of room for experimentation, a cocktail at its core is a mix of spirits and other ingredients, such as sugar, fruit juices, cream and herbs. A distilled spirit mixed only with soda or juice is technically a “highball.”
Historically, the first printed references to a cocktail date to the early 1800s. In 1806, a Hudson, New York newspaper called The Balance defined a cocktail:
“A cock-tail, then, is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind—sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head.”
The origin of the word “cocktail” itself is lost to time. One bizarre explanation is that it has to do with a suppository concoction for horses that made their tails stand up.
The GolfBlogger’s favorites are the Old Fashioned, and the Manhattan. Here’s how to make them:
The Old Fashioned was reportedly invented in Louisville, Kentucky in the late 1880s.
1/2 Ounce Simple Syrup
2 Ounces Bourbon
2 Dashes Bitters
1 maraschino cherry
Orange Peel Garnish
Combine the simple syrup and bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Fill with ice, stir. Squeeze the orange peel over the ice. Add the whiskey and stir again.
For a really tasty concoction, make some Basil Simple Syrup. Put 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a pot. Add some basil leaves and bring to a boil. Cook until the leaves start to look wilted. For another variant, add some vanilla extract the simple syrup (in place of the basil)
The origins of the Manhattan are murky. It obviously originated in New York, but sources disagree on whether it was created in the Manhattan Club, or at bars called The Hoffman House, the Stanwix Hall (of Bill the Butcher Fame), or the Metropolitan Hotel. Everyone agrees it came to be in the mid to late 1800s, though.
1 Ounce Rye
1/2 Ounce Sweet Vermouth
3 Dashes of Bitters
Pour the Rye, Vermouth and Bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir. Once thoroughly chilled, strain into a cocktail glass.
For variety, try Bourbon instead of the Rye. If you’re really feeling adventurous, try Scotch (it’s called a Rob Roy, after the Scottish folk hero). Use a dry vermouth for a Dry Manhattan.