Cocktails are a classic drink for those who like to mix booze and other ingredients. But a paper umbrella and twist of lime doesn’t a cocktail make (and, in fact, they’re not cocktails at all). If you want to really appreciate cocktail art, then it is important to learn about the ingredients and history behind each drink.
The word cocktail may be derived from coquetel, the French name for an egg-cup. One theory suggests that Antoine Amedee Peychaud, a New Orleans native who mixed his Bitters with a stomach remedy in a coquetel and served it to customers as a cocktail.
A cocktail’s base is a strong alcohol like vodka, gin, rum, or whiskey. Modifiers, such as fortified wine, liqueurs and citrus juices, hold the cocktail together and give it flavor. The final touch is the fragrance, which can be bitters or coffee syrup.
The best way to learn about cocktails is by tasting them. It is only then that you will understand the special features of each cocktail, their origin, and what makes some better than others. Luckily, there are many books on the subject to help you hone your bartending skills and make drinks that rival the ones at a great cocktail bar.