What better way to celebrate World Cocktail Day, than with classic cocktails! This is one of our favorite holidays and a fun day to celebrate our favorites-Mocktail, virgin, or the real thing, celebrate the lemon, lime, bitters, liquors, and liqueurs that make your favorite beverages the best in your bartender book.
Of course, there’s the ever famous Shrimp Cocktail! Because of a shortage of oysters, the history of the shrimp cocktail came into being more than 130 years ago!
Who invented the first shrimp cocktail?
The Americans were supposedly the ones who did that. The drink catechism has long held that cocktails as we know them were created by “Professor” Jerry Thomas, a pioneering and flamboyant American bartender who published the first bar manual in 1862. In the United Kingdom, the invention of the prawn cocktail is often credited to British television chef Fanny Cradock in the 1960s; however, it is more likely that Cradock popularised her version of an established dish that was not well known until then in Britain.
In fact, the shrimp, otherwise known as the prawn cocktail, owes its origins to a 19th-century miner in California. Legend has it that after a successful day prospecting, a miner took his gold nuggets to a bar in San Francisco. He ordered a whisky and a plate of oysters. After knocking back the booze, the miner tipped his oysters in to the empty glass, doused them with vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, ketchup and horseradish and sucked them down. Astonished, the restaurant owner asked: “What sort of mess do you call that?” With aplomb the miner replied: “This is what I call an oyster cocktail.”
The next day a sign appeared in the restaurant’s window advertising Oyster Cocktails. Four Bits A Glass. Within weeks every café and bar on the West Coast was selling glasses of seafood cocktail.
In 1806, The Balance and Columbian Repository coined the term “cocktail” as a stimulating liquor with a wide variety of sweets, waters, and bitters.
During the 1920s American prohibition, many cocktails were mixed into existence that remain firm favorites today. With not much high-quality alcohol available, cocktails were the perfect way to make that smuggled rum, gin or whiskey just a little bit more drinkable. Enter the cocktail; rum mojitos, the Sidecar, and the Tom Collins all flourished at a time when recreational alcohol wasn’t legal.
The ‘Bee’s Knees’ cocktail was actually created to mask and sweeten the taste of illegally brewed bathtub gin. The roaring twenties took the cocktail and shook it up into some of our most popular modern-day cocktails. Drinking didn’t stop during the prohibition, people simply went underground. Many illegal speakeasies popped up, serving cocktails in jazz-style locales.
Post-prohibition saw the invention of drinks that still grace the pages of your favorite cocktail bar menus. 1954 saw the mixing of the Pina Colada in Puerto Rico when Ramon Marrero created the delicious pineapple treat at the Caribe Hilton hotel. 1988 saw the much-loved Cosmopolitan enter our lives, thanks to Toby Cecchini and his desire to share a drink with his fellow bartenders in San Francisco.
Whatever your pleasure, Cheers!