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Cocktail - The first written appearance of the word
The opening words of any conversation make an impression so trying to start up a conversation with the attractive man or woman sitting next to you in the bar using a cheesy clichéd chat up line may not be that successful unless of course you are Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie!. So you never know reading this hub might arm you with enough information to strike up a conversation with the person you will end up spending the rest of your life with, but then again it might not. It is far more likely however that the information you glean from this hub will prove itself to be extremely useful when trying to find something intelligent and interesting to talk about to your boss’s wife at the next cocktail party you have to attend.
The origins or etymology of the word cocktail remains unknown and there are many different and diverse explanations vying for the credit.
The word cocktail first appears in print on 28 April 1803 in a publication called “The Farmer’s Cabinet” from Amherst, New Hampshire. The word appears twice in the fictional journal entry of a man a little the worse for wear the morning after the night before, and he drinks a “glass of cocktail “twice during the course of the day and gives it credit for making him feel much better. So the cocktail makes its first literary appearance as a cure for the hangover and given the number of hangovers caused by cocktails I must admit I find this to be amusingly ironic.
The earliest published definition of a "cocktail" was printed on 13 May 1806 in the Balance and Columbian Repository, where it answered a reader’s question "What is a cocktail?" with this response.
“Cocktail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters — it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a Democrat because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else.”
To understand the context of the answer you need to know that the reader’s question was posed following the publication the week before of a losing democratic politician’s election profit and loss account in which he lists his losses as being
411 glasses bitters
25 glasses cocktails
And his gains as being
The newspaper conjectured that the price of rum might need to rise in Claverack due to the shortage created.
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