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  1. #1
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    What is a Cocktail?

    I'm pretty sure if it's served with a miniature umbrella it is by definition a cocktail. Multiple fruit juices are another tip off.
    Assuming there isn't a legal classification for spirits called cocktails it's fun to consider the working definition.

    If a cocktail is Whiskey with a flavoring agent added does that make something like American Honey or Red Stag a bottled cocktail? They are obviously flavored whiskeys but isn't that what a Manhattan or an Old fashioned is?

    When you finish a whiskey in a Port or Sherry or Cognac barrel aren't you just slowly adding those flavors to the whiskey? Does that make the finished Scotch and Whiskeys a cocktail of sorts? Angels Envy a Bourbon Cocktail? McCallan 12 a Scotch Cocktail?

    Suppose you vat a Rye and a Bourbon? Bourbon and Rum? Rye and Vermouth? Are they cocktails or creative vatings? Or both?

    If you soak a cherry in Brandy for a few weeks and then drop it into a pour of Bourbon is it a minimalist cocktail or a whiskey with a cherry?




    ya'll have fun out there...

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    Here is one very early answer (1806), see page 146, the editor's reply to the letter from a reader asking the same thing:

    http://www.imbibemagazine.com/images..._5-13-1806.pdf

    Gary

  3. #3
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    Here is one very early answer (1806), see page 146, the editor's reply to the letter from a reader asking the same thing:

    http://www.imbibemagazine.com/images..._5-13-1806.pdf

    Gary
    Great read Gary! I'm going with "composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters" as the answer...and...since I don't want to start a PR & C thing (you know that whole Hamilton -Jefferson thing ) stay away from some of the other observations.
    Thad

    BTOTY-2011

  4. #4
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    I'm guessing they didn't have mini umbrellas back than or they would have been mentioned.

    By that definition anything without bitters isn't a cocktail. So all those fruity Rum drinks are......?

    I like the guess that Cock-tale must refer to the drinks effect on some portion of the anatomy. Pretty racy for a published piece given the date.

  5. #5
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    A cocktail is a drink for those who wish to imbibe without tasting straight liquor. For me it's a combination of three or four ingredients shaken with ice and served in a stemmed cocktail glass.

    A useful formula is 3-2-1 diminishing in 50% increments. For example, two ounces of Barton, one ounce of peach brandy (liqueur) and 1/2 ounce each of orange juice and pomegranate juice. The juices can be one or two, it's the proportions that count.

    Shaken, not stirred. Why, you ask? Because shaking makes the drink colder and is more fun.

  6. #6
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    For me it's an invention to enable consumers to purchase otherwise undrinkable liquor. (and purveyors to sell more of it!) I guess that it's a nice respite for one who aches for something different once in a while .. just can't remember when that last happened to me. From time to time I'll simply order vodka with three olives and that suffices as a cocktail. The cocktail also provides fun drinks for folk looking for a way to remove inhibitions ... and for that I have in the past been thankful. (and rueful) Lord bless the bartenders!

  7. #7
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    Ah yes, vodka rocks, the cocktail no bartender can screw up.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    As (I will hazard) one of the few on the forum to possess a bottle of Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum 57% ABV, I offer my nearly full bottle to the Gazebo table in April if others will bring the other ingredients.

    We can re-dub the second cocktail tanstaafl2 mentioned, the NAFTA Giant.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 01-06-2013 at 14:20.

  9. #9
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    I know where one is on a shelf Gary - is it a must buy?

  10. #10
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    Re: What is a Cocktail?

    Gary it's my understanding Smith & Cross was designed to be a flavoring rum for blends and not really intended for drinking straight on it's own. How does that stuff taste?

 

 

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