01. History Of The Cocktail

From BC China and early Middle Eastern civilizations via bathtub gin on British backstreets to New York bars serving Cosmopolitans, it seems that the mixed drink has been on collective minds since alcohol began....


A few years ago I spent the night in a mud hut in a Zambian village. My hosts honored my arrival by killing a chicken and generally treated me very nicely, thank you. I was introduced to various dignitaries, including the headmaster, the doctor, and the men whose job it was to beat drums all night and ward off the unwanted attentions of marauding elephants. I also met a woman who supplied the village with distilled spirits. With a baby strapped to her belly she boiled up fermented juice in a still fashioned from a car tire and tail pipe, The spirit was served directly from the pipe in a fuel cap, complete with roasted rat on the side. Oh, how they laughed when I choked on this exceptionally potent potion, before explaining that they themselves would mix it with water, juice and local seasoning. Here in the middle of Africa, miles from anything resembling a swanky bar, I had discovered a brand new cocktail recipe.


So, the way I see it, there are two aspects to the history of the mixed drink. On the one hand, the concept of combining different alcoholic liquids and flavors, which dates back to those first distillers who doused dangerous new distillates with something more palatable. And on the other, the development of the cocktail itself and the evolution of a specific culture of mixing sophisticated sips.


The history of distillation can be traced back to many parts of the ancient world, from the perfume pots of BC China to the alchemic experimentation of the Greeks in the first century AD and perhaps more successfully to Mesopotamia around 700/800 AD. Back then, taste and flavor were not the foremost concerns for these pioneers, their aqua vitae being designed for spiritual enlightenment and subsequently for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.


Around 1000 AD the Europeans got in on the act when the Moors transported their spirit stills to France and Spain, and production progressed further in 1144 when scholar Robert of Chester translated Arabic texts, revealing more distilling techniques to the Europeans. Word spread as rapidly as spilt milk, though no one seemed to be crying about it; and when Marco Polo returned from "finding himself" on his gap year in 1300, he divulged all manner of new spiritual enlightenment, from arrack to flavored vodkas.

大約在西元一千年時,當摩爾人將酒精蒸餾器傳入法國和西班牙後,歐洲人才開始參與其中。西元1144年,切斯特的學者Robert將阿拉伯的文獻翻譯出來後,促進了這項活動的生產發展,也使得歐洲人了解了更多蒸餾的技術。消息很快就傳開了,但似乎沒有特別引起人們的興趣。西元1300年,馬可波羅從一趟”尋找自我”的旅程回來後,他帶回了各式各樣"啟迪心靈"的方法, 從亞力酒到各種口味的伏特加。

During the centuries that followed, explorers over land and sea discovered new elixirs and began mixing these abrasive spirits. Sailors struggling with the occupational hazard of scurvy added sugar and lime to their newly discovered rum, and even mint, to create popular blends. And when traders brought back punches from Southeast Asia and the Middle East in the 1600s, sharing bowls of liquor began to gain notoriety among polite society.


As other ingredients evolved in Europe so the backbone of the cocktail began to develop. In 1712, British apothecary Richard Stoughton gained a royal patent to create his Great Cordial Elixir or Stoughton's Bitters, and in 1786 the Italian distiller Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented the vermouth that proves so crucial in a Martini. When added to rum, gin, or whiskey, these new ingredients proved as sexy as a skirt riding above the ankle.

在歐洲,隨著調酒原料的進化,雞尾酒的地位也逐漸建立起來。西元1712年,英國藥劑師 Richard Stoughton 獲得皇家的贊助,製造出 Great Cordial Elixir,又稱 Stoughton's Bitters 的苦精。在 1786 年,義大利織製酒師 Antonio Benedetto Carpano 創出苦艾酒,後來更成為馬丁尼中決定性的素材。這些新的調酒素材,加入了萊姆酒、琴酒,或威士忌後,對我們來說就像遊走在尺度邊緣的迷你裙一樣性感。

What of the word "cocktail" itself? As WJ Tarling, head bartender at the Cafe Royal, Piccadilly, London, pointed out in his 1937 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, the cock was a sacrificial bird associated with strong drinks long before the term "cocktail" materialized. The Romans were particular fans of the bird and also enjoyed a mixed drink, but when the emperor Commodus was served a vini gallici-lemon juice and a pinch of dried adder-the chances are that his "aperitif" wasn't shaken over ice and he didn't call it a "cocktail."

“cocktail” 這個字是怎麼來的呢? 位於倫敦的皮卡迪利大道,一家叫 Cafe Royal 的首席調酒師 WJ Tarling,在1937發表的一本 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book 中指出了這個字; “cock" 在 ”cocktail” 這個字出現之前,是一種使人聯想到烈酒的祭祀用鳥。 羅馬人尤其喜愛這種鳥,也喜歡喝調酒,但當人們為羅馬皇帝 Commodus 獻上 vini gallici 時—檸檬汁加一小撮蛇乾—也許是因為並沒有東西在他這杯開胃酒裡的冰塊間扭動,所以他不稱這種飲料作 "cocktail"。

There are various tales as to how the word came about. Some suggest it came from an egg cup or coquetier used by French officers during the American Revolution. This word is also thought to have influenced the drinkers of New Orleans, where in the 1830s apothecary Antoine Amedee Peychaud developed his own bitters and served his mix with brandy in a conquetier. Others argue it refers to the cock's tail that was used to garnish or stir the drink and was then occasionally pinned up for patrons to whack when they wanted another drink.

這個字的產生有各式各樣的故事。有人說,是從美國獨立戰爭時法國官員使用的蛋杯—法文叫 coquetier—演變而來。也有人認為,這個字影響了紐奧良地區飲酒人口的習慣;1830 年時,紐澳良地區一位名叫 Antoine Amedee Peychaud 的藥劑師自己創造出一種苦精,製成調酒時會加入白蘭地盛在蛋杯裡飲用。另外也有人說,這個字是來自於cock那種鳥的尾巴,一般是用來裝飾或攪拌飲料,但有時客人也會拿它來敲擊酒杯,表示"再來一杯。"

Meanwhile, the English allegedly referred to any spilled or leftover ale and spirits as the "cook tailings" and helpfully mixed them to create what was undoubtedly a cheap treat.

其實,據說英國人稱被灑出來或剩下的酒為 ”cock tailings”,他們也有效地的把這些 cock tailing 再製成廉價的酒。

Plenty of options then, but whatever the truth, by the end of the 18th century "cocktail" was starting to find its way into print in direct association with mixed drinks. In 1803 it appeared with a medical connotation in the publication The Farmer's Cabinet of Amherst, New Hampshire, and the cocktail was up and running.

說法有千百種,姑且不論哪個才是事實,到了 18 世紀末 "cocktail”這個字開始與調酒相關的印刷品產生直接的關聯性。1803 年在新罕布夏,艾摩斯特市一個名為 The Farmer’s Cabinet 的刊物中,更暗示性地賦予了 "cocktail" 醫藥相關的意義。雞尾酒亦開始在人們生活中佔有一席地位。

An indispensable guide to drinking history comes in the form of the two-volume Spirituous Journey: History of Drink by Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, who provide us with what could well be the earliest printed reference to a "cocktail." Their discovery of a reference to a drinking debt cleared for Prime Minister William Pitt in a bar in Lodon's Downing Street, in a 1798 edition of the Morning Post and Gazetteer, is celebrated in mixed drink circles.

在飲酒的歷史中,Spirituous Journey: History of Drink,是一部不可或缺的指標性作品。一共兩冊,由 Jared Brwon 和 Anistatia Miller 所合撰,很有可能是雞尾酒最早的參考書籍。他們引用了一則在 1798 年刊於 The Morning Post and Gazetteer 的文章;在倫敦唐寧街的酒吧,有人清償了前首相 William Pitt 的酒債,這個故事在調酒圈中被大大頌揚。