The earliest known printed use of the word “cocktail” was from The Farmer’s Cabinet, April 28, 1803: Drank a glass of cocktail — excellent for the head … Call’d at the Doct’s. found Burnham — he looked very wise — drank another glass of cocktail.”
As per the above link from the Museum of the American Cocktail:
The earliest definition of “cocktail” was in the May 13, 1806 edition of the Balance and Columbian Repository, in which an answer was provided to the question, “What is a cocktail?”. The editor responded and defined for all time what exactly the newly born cocktail was.
Since the Cocktail has become a dear friend of mine I am celebrating World Cocktail Week by imbibing in some classic cocktails. Yesterday I had the pleasure of sipping on one of the BEST Sazeracs EVER at RTL (http://www.r.tl/team.html) from Matt Martin the one of Vancouvers newest imports from New York.
I spied the bottle of Rittenhouse 23year on the top shelf and asked if I would be so lucky to have a Sazerac to celebrate… Matt pulled out a special bottle of absinthe for the occasion: Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe Française Supérieure 65°… my mouth watering. watching intently as he carefully concocted the drink before me.
1/4 oz Rye
1 bar spoon superfine sugar
Stir at the bottom of the mixing glass to dissolve the sugar.
When you are dissolving the sugar in the rye; start the preparation of the cocktail glass that you will be drinking this fine cocktail from. Fill the glass with crushed ice to chill. Some people; ie. me, like to add the Absinthe to the ice at this point. Not Matt he just chilled the glass.
Add 4 dashes Peychauds bitters and 1 3/4 oz Rye to the dissolved sugar mixture. Fill mixing glass with ice and stir for 30 seconds.
Discard the crushed ice from the cocktail glass that you are chilling. Wipe down the glass of any extra water. Add 1/4 oz Absinthe to the glass and roll the liquor to coat the inside of the glass. Discard the excess Absinthe into a shot glass and hand it to the patron on the bar who is salivating…
Using a Julep Stainer, pour the ice cold cocktail into the chilled & seasoned cocktail glass. Finish with Lemon Zest that is squeezed over the drink to release the oils, then rub the rind around the rim. At this point Matt asked if I would like the zest in or out. I like the zest in so he tossed it in and passed me the long awaited celebratory cocktail, and it was GOOD. Like the Elixir of Life had just touched my lips!
Tonite my twist on this I substituted 1 bar spoon of Honey Syrup for the super fine sugar, because I had the pleasure of receiving some excellent honey from Honey Ridge Farms (www.honeyridgefarms.com). To make Honey Syrup mix equal parts of your favorite Honey and Hot water. Store in a squeeze bottle or glass jar; refrigerate. This is the best way to use Honey in cocktails otherwise it is too thick and will just freeze when shaken into a drink. Diluting it with water gives it just the right viscosity for mixing.
Happy Birthday to The Cocktail!