1. From "Jack's Manual" by J.A. Grohuska (1933) from Where the Cocktail Came From: 10 "Cock-Tales" Slideshow

Where the Cocktail Came From: 10 "Cock-Tales" Slideshow

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1. From "Jack's Manual" by J.A. Grohuska (1933)

According to the story, sometime around the beginning of the last century, King Axolot VIII of Mexico offered the general of the American army a drink before opening peace negotiations. A beautiful woman appeared holding a gold, ruby-encrusted cup filled with a strange potion of her own brewing. The king, despite having never seen the woman before, said, "That is my daughter Coctel." "Your Majesty," replied the general, "I will see that her name is honored forevermore by my Army." Of course, over time, Coctel became cocktail.

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2. "From The Cocktail Book, A Sideboard Manual for Gentlemen" by L.C. Page and Company (1913), "The Real Tale of the Cock's Tail"

This tale centers around Peggy, the daughter of William Van Eyck, who owned a famous old tavern in Yonkers. One day, after a tryst with her lover in the apartment where Master Van Eyck kept his prize-winning rooster, Old Lightening, Peggy made the young man a drink. Upon finishing, the feather of the bird fell in the drink, she stirred the glass' contents with it and proclaimed, "Drink this Cocktail, sir, to your success with my father and as a pledge to our future happiness!"

Wikimedia Commons/Carte du département de la Gironde (33), routes, villes et "Pays"

3. From "The Bon Vivant's Companion or How To Mix Drinks" by George A Zabriskie (1948), "Where Cocktails Came From"

A Frenchman, Dr. Tardieu, declares that in the course of certain scientific investigations he discovered that cocktails, generally considered of American origin, are really the ancient French coquetele, popular for several centuries in regions of Bordeaux.

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4. From "What'll You Have" by Julien J. Roskauer (1933),"How the Cocktail Got Its Name!"

This next story attributes the origin to a famous revolutionary roadhouse in Westchester County called Betsy's Tavern. One day, American officers raided a British Commissary and stole several male birds, which were known by the name "cock." A wild party ensued where Besty stirred the celebratory drinks with the tail of the bird. After a toast, one of the French officers cried out: "Vive le cocktail!"

Flickr/C G-K

5. The Mexican Story

A visiting sailor drank local punches at Campeche, in the Gulf of Mexico, stirring them with wooden spoons. One bartender substituted a local root known as "cola de gallo" -- translated, "Cocktail."

Flickr/West Point Public Affairs

6. The English Stories

Version 1: An Englishman, Dr. Johnson, introduced to a wine from a friend named Bosell, who told him that this wine was mixed with gin. He replied, "to add spirits to wine smacks of our alcoholic hyperbole. It would be a veritable cocktail to drink."

 

Version 2: The cocktail was named in honor of the Officer of the Second Regiment of Royal Sussex Fusileers, in the British Army. The men of this regiment wore plumes resembling rooster feathers in their caps, and were commonly called "The Cocktails" by the men of other regiments.

Flickr/acent on eclectic

7. The Mississippi Stories

Version 1: Winning gamblers aboard river-steamers made a drink with a selection of every liquor in the bar. They drank this drink out of glasses shaped like a cock's breast, and the stirrer had the resemblance of a tail feather. There also was an illustration to a ballad published in 1871 called An American Cocktail of this event.

 

Version 2: Mississippi River men challenged one another to become "The Cock of the Walk," meaning the strongest, meanest and best wrestler on the river. The winner earned the right to wear a bright red rooster feather in his hat. He could proclaim that he could out-drink and out-fight all. "Cock of the Walk" + "tail" = Cocktail.

Flickr/Linnéa Gröndalen

8. The Horse Trainer Story (Another Horse's Tale)

Horse trainers would give their horses a strong mixture of spirits that would make the horses "cock their tails" and run faster.

Flickr/Le Petit Poulailler

9. New Orleans Story

A French physician served a drink to his friends using a double-ended, gallic-style egg cup, coquetiers. His friends called them, you guessed it: cocktails!

Flickr/Chuck Nhorus

10. From "The H.L. Mencken Story" by H.L. Mencken, The Sunday Sun (December 13, 1908)

The cocktail was invented on April 17, 1846, at 8:15 a.m. by John Welby Henderson of North Carolina at the Old Palo Alto Hotel in Bladensburg, Maryland. The first cocktail was served to John A. Hopkins of Fairfax, Virginia. The story goes on that it was served to Mr. Hopkins, to have his nerves restored after a duel.

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Where the Cocktail Came From: 10 "Cock-Tales" Slideshow