Monday, July 7, 2014

Styles of Classic Cocktails

Buck (circa 1890's) - Typically a spirit combined with some type of citrus and topped with ginger ale or ginger beer and served long. Moscow Mule, Mamie Taylor

Cobbler (circa 1830's) - Traditionally a drink consisting of wine or spirit, sugar and whatever seasonal, local fruit was readily available. Contemporary versions of this drink now include citrus, different liqueurs and sweeteners replacing the traditional sugar. The Sherry Cobbler was a worldwide hit. It is believed that the Sherry Cobbler was the drink to bring upon the advent of the drinking straw due to it's requisite use of pebble ice, which is where the name 'Cobbler' is derived.

Collins (circa 1870's) - One of the most classic styles of cocktail, basically a sour (spirit, citrus, sugar), served tall, over ice and topped with sparkling water. The drink gained popularity when bartenders began using Old Tom style of gin, but works well with virtually any spirit. Tom Collins[gin], Ron Collins[rum], John Collins[bourbon]

Crusta (circa 1850's) - Created in New Orleans by Joe Santini, and is believed by many to be the "missing link" of cocktails. The crusta employed the usual suspects (spirit, sugar, water, bitters) but added a sweet spirit, a weak spirit and acid. Santini's recipe was brandy, cointreau, maraschino liqueur, sugar, lemon juice and Peychaud's bitters (the cocktail precursor to the Margarita, Sidecar and Cosmopolitan).

Daisy (circa 1884) - Classically a long drink consisting of base spirit, sweetener, citrus. However it was different from the conventional sour because it was made with a mix of grenadine, raspberry syrup, orange curaçao (orange cordial), or yellow chartreuse in placement of sugar and was finished with a splash of soda.

Fizz - The origin of this drink is uncertain but it resembles a sour with addition of soda water to give it the quality of it's namesake. The most famous version of this cocktail was created by Henry C. Ramos and incorporated gin, egg white, cream and orange flower water and stayed wildly popular through the 1940's.

Flip (circa 1695) - The 17th century flip consisted of beer, rum, sugar and a red hot iron. The head caused the drink to froth (flipping). The contemporary version omits the beer and adds a whole egg and spices and is served cold. It can also sometimes have citrus or cream or both.

Highball (circa 1898) - Highballin' was a term used to indicate a steam locomotive was up to speed. The term also became a euphemism amongst travellers for a drink that could be consumed in a hurry. The highball is testament to the ability to create something splendid and of high quality with a minimum of ingredients. 7 & 7, Gin & Tonic, Cuba Libre

Julep - The origin of this cocktail is unclear. It was originally made with brandy, known as a sweet drink and a vehicle for medicine in the 1700's. Over time it has yielded to bourbon as the base spirit, included mint and has become the symbol of the American South.

Punch (circa 1600's) - English sailors discovered communal drinking in India and brought it back to the Americas. The name derives from the Hindi word panch meaning "five" and is also, some would say, the formula of a well balanced beverage: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak and five of spice. Brandy Punch, Curaçao Punch, Pisco Punch

Sling (circa 1806) - The cocktail gets it's name from the German word schlingen meaning "to swallow". It is a very basic cocktail. The first beverage to be called a cocktail was said to be "spirit, water, sugar". If we add bitters to the equation we get a sling. Over the years the variations have been endless. The most popular version was the Singapore Sling created in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Bon at the Long Bar, Raffles Hotel Singapore. His recipe was gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine and fresh pineapple juice.

Sour - Although the first written account of the "sour" was in 1862, the origin of this cocktail is uncertain. It is a simple combination of spirit, citrus and sugar but has been the foundational inspiration for so many cocktails over the years. For generations it has been, and probably will always be, the gateway to the world of cocktails.

Swizzle (circa 1760's) - A Caribbean mixture of spirit, citrus, sugar. The drink was probably made with West Indian rum and built over crushed ice. A swizzle stick was used to properly mix the drink, and if done correctly, would produce a splendid frost on the outside of the glass. A swizzle stick was a branch from a tropical bush that had three to five forked branches on the end.

For more cocktail history, I highly recommend Imbibe! by David Wondrich [link].

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