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More Cocktail Connections

Updated on November 8, 2013

 Cocktail folklore is one of my favourite subjects and this hub is the third and final one in a series I’ve written on the more popular theories which compete with each other to explain how cocktails came to be called cocktails.  In my first hub I wrote about theories based on cocks’ tails and in the second hub I wrote about theories which involve mixed drinks or horses’ tails.  This hub will deal with all the main ones which are left.

The Mexican Connections

One of the theories emanating from Mexico is supposed to date from the very early 19th century. The then King of Mexico was negotiating a pact with a General from the American Southern States when he called for refreshment and his beautiful daughter brought in the refreshments but she only brought the drink in only one cup. She quickly realised the potentially embarrassing situation this had created as one of the men would have to drink before the other and she retrieved the situation by toasting both men and drinking the drink herself. The American General was greatly impressed by her intelligence and beauty asked the king her name. The king advised that his daughter’s name was Coctel and the General advised that he would think of her every time he had a drink and would ensure that her name would be always remembered and honoured by his men.

Another theory believes that the origin of word might be traced back to drinks in Mexico that were named after the Aztec princess Xochitl and that soldiers and sailors who visited Mexico brought the word back with them . This seemed plausible to me until I found out that Xochitl is pronounced so–cheet and actually means flower. I find it hard to see how the jump from socheet to cocktail was made and even more difficult to see hardened soldiers and sailors admitting to calling their drink after a flower.

The final Mexican theory has British sailors coming home from Mexico with tails of exotic drinks that were stirred with a root from a plant that looked like a rooster tail feather and "Cola de Gallo" is Mexican for cock's tail

The French Connection

This theory has the word cocktail being derived from coquetel, the French word for egg cup.  The link between the egg cup and the cocktail being that the cocktails were said to have been served in an egg cup.  I personally would feel more than a little short changed to receive a cocktail in an egg cup so perhaps the egg cup was just used to sample a drink or perhaps it was used a s a measure to mix the drink.  I can see the logic behind this theory and although this isn’t my favourite theory it is the one I believe to be most likely.

The Mississippi Connection

The final theory dates from the riverboat gambling days in Mississippi when men fought each other for the right to be “Cock of the Walk” and to wear a red cock’s feather in their cap.  Some versions have the theory reinforced by the additional twist that these men were also expected to drink a mixture of every spirit from the boat’s bar in a glass that resembled the breast of a cock and that was stirred with a stirrer resembling a tail feather.  This seems to me to be stretching the truth in a deliberate attempt to strengthen a weak theory but then again it could be true!


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    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Thanks for your comment katie. I like the stories and folklore that surround cocktails almost as much as I like the cocktails themselves.


    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      I do not know how I missed this little treasure of more cocktail connections. I love the south and was most taken with the funny bit of history “Cock of the Walk” and to wear a red cock’s feather in their cap. Oh boys will be boys now pass this gal a cocktail.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Hello epigramman

      Welcome to Hubpages. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope to see you again soon.


    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      your hubs are like a volatile cocktail - I'm hooked - and I just want moreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Hi Tom

      I think I'll have one too! Thanks for popping by.


    • Tom T profile image

      Tom T 7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks for sharing this delightful piece. I think I'll go mix myself a cocktail ... no matter the origin.