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Cocktails: a history

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Long thought to originate in America it now looks as if cocktails were in our very own London first!

Cocktails are a mixed drink containing one or more alcoholic spirits or wine with other ingredients such as fruits, vegetables or cream.

For a long time now the world has believed it owed the wonder that is delicious cocktails to America due to the earliest mention of the word ‘cocktail’ being found in a 1806 New York newspaper. The word has since been discovered in various other publications with the earliest mention now being in on 20th March 1798 in London’s The Morning Post and Gazetteer. Naturally where cocktails originated is still very much up for debate – but for now we’re content with the knowledge that London got in there early on!

By 1869 the first British cocktail recipe book came out, it was called William Terrington’s Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks. The first recipe of the book was for a Gin Cocktail made with ginger syrup, a little water, aromatic bitters and either brandy or gin.

London really jumped on the cocktail wagon around the beginning of the first 20th century and, let’s be honest, we haven’t really looked back since – you can’t go wrong with a cocktail!

Here at Whyte & Brown we have a great selection of cocktails including a beautiful Tropical Martini, reviving Espresso Martini and refreshing White Wine Spirtz. You can find our full list of cocktails and other drinks here.