Get to Know Your Favorite Drink: A Short History of Cocktails

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In today’s modern times, if you attend parties, hit up clubs, and show up to social events, you will find a wide array of liquor and spirits to help quench your thirst. From crafted beers to cocktails, you will never run out of beverages to try out.

Cocktails have been around since the 1800s—so they’re not at all that new. While they aren’t exactly everybody’s drink of choice, it’s unlikely for cocktails to become outdated. Now that there are plenty of new alcohols and ingredients to put together, cocktails aren’t going out of style anytime soon

In fact, you won’t always have to mix the drinks yourself to get the taste you want! When you’re planning to host a party in the near future, you can think of hiring a cocktail maker to take over and entertain your guests. But before anything else, it’s essential to understand the background of cocktails and how they came to be one of the world’s well-loved drinks. 

The Birth of Cocktails

Based on the Oxford English Dictionary, it all started in 1803. The term “cocktail” first appeared in the US newspaper, The Farmer’s Cabinet, on April 28th. The word was used to describe a specific kind of alcoholic beverage containing a spirit combined with bitters, waters, and sugar.

Unfortunately, it was only until 1862 when Jerry Thomas wrote “The Bartender’s Guide,” which talked about cocktails dominating bars and its advancement into the limelight. A significant portion of the population began to choose cocktails over other typical drinks because of its unique way of mixing liquor with other different ingredients.

Alcohol Ban During the Prohibition Era

Between 1920 and 1933, when the US prohibition era happened, all kinds of alcoholic drinks were considered illegal. However, cocktails remained in the public’s eye since the drink integrated alcohol and fruit juices. It covered up the liquor content—thus allowing speakeasy bars to continue serving them to interested customers.

Since alcohol tends to lose its quality over time, bartenders who still had several bottles with them figured out how to preserve liquor by creating cocktails. And with the presence of scarcity on other beverages like wine and beer, cocktails gave people an easier time getting their hands on alcohol mixed with honey, juices, and sugar—while allowing them to be gulped down with ease.

The Creation of Ice-Making Machines

Ice is an essential part of completing a cocktail drink. Back in 1845, Dr. John Gorrie invented the very first ice-making machine, although it was quite tricky to acquire during the prohibition era. However, that all changed when by the end of prohibition in the 1950s, most households owned a refrigerator.

The cooling appliances were upgraded in 1953, coming with built-in icemakers for added convenience. Now that more people can make use of ice whenever they want, the desire for consuming cocktails progressed even further because they were easier to prepare than ever!

The Resurgence of Cocktails

During the 60s and 70s, cocktails experienced a significant dip because it was the time when drugs became a more popular alternative to alcohol. Luckily, the famous drink went through a revival in the 80s, allowing bartenders to explore their concoctions and get more creative with their inventions. 

Instead of using gin as their alcoholic beverage of choice, they often adopted vodka to make the cocktails taste sweeter and fruitier alongside the various ingredients thrown into the mix. When Margaret Thatcher was appointed as Britain’s first female Prime Minister in 1979, the act signified a period of laissez-faire capitalism and became known as a “decade of greed.”


As a result, the cocktail industry rose further up the market. Everyone suddenly wanted to get a taste of cocktails, particularly those of various alcohols mixed with ingredients containing herbs, spices, and fruits.


At present, people worldwide continue to show their appreciation for cocktails. Whether they contain classic ingredients or modern touches, the beloved beverage remains on top of the list alongside other famous alcoholic drinks that you’re sure to find in bars, parties, and social events.

Are you planning to hire a cocktail bartender in London for your upcoming occasion? Hire a Cocktail Bartender is a drink catering company that serves events of all sizes, including weddings, corporate parties, food or music festivals, private events, and more. You can hire our cocktail bartenders, mobile bars, and waiting staff for your next party. Get in touch with us today to book a slot!

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