Everyone loves a well-made cocktail, especially if it’s prepared with premium ingredients. These can either be the soul of the party or a bit disappointing if done incorrectly. Alcohol has existed since ancient times, occasionally even used as a remedy, but without a doubt, it has evolved over centuries to become what we enjoy today.
Cocktails became a cultural phenomenon as poets, writers, movie stars and singers would all gather around cocktails for any occasion. In Italy cocktails like Negroni, Bellini and Spritz, among others, became well-known.
As the 1950s and 1960s rolled in, cocktails were available and consumed by everyone. New and exciting cocktails arrived every day using spirits such as rum, vodka, limoncello, gin, and whiskey, among others. In recent years mixology, which is the skill bartenders have (or most of them) to create and make cocktails, has become an art.
A specific date or place of origin for cocktails is still unknown, nevertheless, there are a few documented articles and publications from the 18th and 17th-century mention the word cocktail. In 1806 a New York paper called The Balance and Columbian Repository mentions the word cocktail in an article. When a reader inquired what the writer meant by the word cocktail in the article, the editor replied: “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 flout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head.” [sic]
Even though the specific origin of the word is still a mystery, cocktails have their very own celebration day: May 13th known as The World Cocktail day (which is the date the cocktail definition was published in The Balance and Columbian Repository paper)
There are a few theories that claim to determine where the word cocktail comes from, one of them from the original definition the Oxford English Dictionary had for a cocktail, which was a word from the early 17th century: an adjective describing a creature with a tail like that of a cock, specifically a horse with a docked tail, a racehorse which was not a thoroughbred, which is perhaps analogous, from the idea of an adulterated spirit. A bit confusing, nevertheless a word that has become part of our everyday lexicon nowadays.
Cocktails became popular throughout the years and in 1862 the first book with cocktail recipes was published: How to Mix Drinks; or The Bon Vivant’s Companion by Professor Jerry Thomas. This sort of guide for bartenders had different recipes and classified drinks into punches, sours, slings, cobblers, shrubs, flips, and other mixed drinks based on the liquor. As years passed by, cocktails became even more popular and more guides were published. A factor that helped diffuse this new trend was the mass production of ice. Yes, something as simple as ice but still a key ingredient for a cocktail. Some cocktails that were popular during this period, and are currently still famous, were the Rob Roy, Morning Glory Fizz, Old Fashioned, and Sazerac. Fast forward to 1919 when prohibition passed in the US, cocktails became insanely popular. Since alcohol and liqueurs were forbidden, these were usually prepared in illicit and underground distilleries. The result was poor quality alcohol that was usually harsher and harder to drink, consequently, the goal was to soften the taste and take the edge out of it (and to hide it from the law) Inventive ingredients such as juices, creams, and spices became part of the game.
The outcome was a flow of new cocktails with daring flavors. Cocktails continued to grow in popularity and styles throughout the years, and by the time prohibition ended, cocktails were already popular not only in the US but the trend had widely spread throughout other continents.
In Italy, Cocktails became a cultural phenomenon as poets, writers, movie stars and singers would all gather around cocktails for any occasion. In the 1920s in Florence, Italy, the Negroni cocktail, made of one part gin, one part red vermouth, and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel was invented at the famous cafè Giacosa by Count Negroni. Other iconic Italian cocktails are Bellini, Americano, Spritz, and Martini. These are all still very popular nowadays, enjoyed during aperitivo or after dinner.
Pallini is one of Italy’s oldest and most important companies in the drink industry. With over 140 years of tradition and excellence bringing the freshest possible flavors to their products with a combination of high quality, state-of-the-art processes, and precise attention to detail.
When thinking about an appetizing cocktail, it comes natural to think of Pallini’s liquors as a main ingredient. Pallini’s internationally-acclaimed liquors and spirits have certainly contributed to the history and affirmation of Italian cocktails as a form of art.