The cocktail has had a long and storied history – one of class, intrigue and late nights. It’s also had its ups and downs through the ages. Somewhere in the late 1800s, people were bored of drinking their liquor straight. If their meals required a number of ingredients, so should their drinks. The cocktail was also the perfect elixir for socializing – it wasn’t too harsh, could be drunk slowly and it didn’t leave you on the floor after two sips.
For ages, people all over the world drunk liquors, liqueurs, aperitifs and other intoxicating beverages – either before a meal, during, or after. Some were drunk immediately after a long train ride or freighter journey – as a sort of kick to the senses. However, some bartenders – from the American South to Havana to New England and Chicago, realized that many of these liquors, liqueurs and aperitifs could be mixed together to create a stunning liquid symphony.
Funny names were given to these cocktails, like the Fat Lady or The One Eyed Dog. The names were chosen to represent the mood you might be in while drinking the cocktail or they may describe the personality of the cocktail. Take, for instance, the Manhattan. Developed by bartenders in the Big Apple, the Manhattan represents New York City in the most perfect way. It’s biting, but sweet at the center with a sort of sour roughness. The high-proof rye could be the people, the vermouth could be the city streets and the bitterness could be the bar, or establishment, where you are drinking the cocktail.
However, there were eras and epochs where the cocktail took a turn for the worse. You might think this was around the time of the Prohibition, but this is actually when the craft cocktail had a bit of a boom. It was actually after the Prohibition when the cocktail took a dip on the popularity chart – the Great Depression left people wanting the straight hooch. The 1950 and 60s was also a bad time for most cocktails, but a great time for Mai Tai’s. The 1990s was also a bear market for cocktails – blue drinks and energy drinks took over and cocktails because sugary and watered down.
These days, the craft cocktail is alive and well again. Almost every major metropolitan city has a craft bar where a bartender with a long beard is combining rare liqueurs with exotic fruits and rum infused everything and hand made bitters and in-house carved ice. It’s a wild and exciting time, albeit a bit retro, but exciting nonetheless. The thrilling part of craft cocktails is that it’s a little bit like time traveling. Many of these cocktails are made with the exact same ingredients as the original cocktails. Who knows when this current trend will die, but we hope its not anytime soon, because we love craft cocktails.