5 Fun Cocktail Facts to Share at Happy Hour

A great way to connect with your customers is to share fun facts about cocktails and their origins. We have prepared this list of fun cocktail facts for you to share with your patrons and get people talking (and ordering) your bar offerings. 

Fact #1 – March 24th is National Cocktail Day

Did you know Americans enjoy cocktails so much that the government decided to name a day after them? March 24th is National Cocktail Day in the U.S.

Fact #2 – Where Did the Word “Cocktail” Come From?

There is a lot of debate about the origins of the word cocktail, but many sources credit a similar story. It goes back to 1798 when the word “cocktail” was first used in a British newspaper. The article claimed the phrase initially was hyphenated (cock-tail), which referred to a ginger concoction that horse dealers would use as a suppository before showing a horse. The result would be that the horse would lift its tail showing it was spirited and ripe for purchase. Back then, they would refer to the raised tail as being “cocked up,” and eventually serving beverages to humans made them spirited, hence the word cocktail.

Fact #3 – Cocktails Were Invented in the U.S.

The term cocktail meaning mixed drinks, began to be widely used in the U.S. in the early 1800s. It was first described in a regular publication called Balance and Columbian Repository. When a reader wrote in and asked the writer to define the word cocktail, the journal responded, “a cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” The drink they described is called an Old Fashioned and is still served today. 

There is also a rumor that the first cocktail was invented in New Orleans in 1838 by Antoine Peychaud (known as an apothecary). The drink consisted of cognac (Sazerac, which is also the drink’s name), a sugar cube, bitters, and a bit of absinthe. A modern-day Sazerac is made with whiskey, and the absinthe is typically removed. 

Fact #4 – The Black Velvet was Crafted to Mourn the Death of Prince Albert

A bartender who was a fan of Price Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband) created the Black Velvet cocktail in 1861, shortly after the prince’s passing. The drink consists of Guinness and sparkling wine. 

Fact #5 – The Sourtoe Cocktail Has a Real Mummified Toe in It!

Many tourists visit a bar in Yukon, Canada, to order a drink called the Sourtoe which has an actual mummified toe at the bottom. The drink dates back to the 1920s when a bootlegger put one of his frostbitten toes in his moonshine as a “memen-toe.” That original toe was discovered in 1973, which is how the drink originated. 

Visitors, beware, you cannot chew or swallow the toe. People from all over donate their toes to the bar for this particular drink. 

…And these are just some of the crazy and interesting facts available online about cocktails and their history! Which one are you sharing with your friends first?


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