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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Cocktails and Bitters

The first publication of a bartender’s guide, which includes cocktail recipes, was made in America in 1862. On top of listing recipes for various punches and other types of mixed drinks there were ten recipes for drinks referred to as "cocktails". The "cocktails" were differentiated from other drinks in this guide through the use of bitters as an ingredient.

Bitters, a herbal mixture with a bitter flavor was originally created in 1824 in Venezuela by a German doctor, who intended it as a treatment for stomach ailments. Soon the blend was being exported to England and North America where it began to be used as a flavor enhancer in cocktails. Different types of bitters were developed including Peychaud Bitters whose chief taste comes from a bitter herb called gentian.

The word “cocktail” came about earlier in the century. In the French founded city of New Orleans, Antoine Pechaud, the inventor of Peychaud bitters was serving a mixture of cognac and his own bitters to customers in his apothecary shop. He served them in eggcups, which in French is “coquetier”. His American customers started pronouncing “coquetier” as “cocktail.”

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