Tropical cocktails
stories, legends and anecdotes

The origins of the word Cocktail

There are a great number of stories that talk about the origins of the word 'Cocktail'. The english etymology is quite clear: The tail of a cock (rooster) is comprised of numerous wonderful colors, representing the varied ingredients that are combined to make a unique whole. The exact origin of the word 'cocktail', however, will remain a mystery for ever. Patrons of cafe's know all too well that their esthablisments are better remembered for their barstories, than for the drinks that they serve. The origin of the word cocktail has therefore been the source of many legends. Legends that can not nesecarilly always be traced back to actual situations, dates or places. Those cocktail legends would usually have one thing in common: een girl, either a waitress in an Inn or the daughter of de lord of the house, one days comes up with the absurd idea to mix several different beverages. In the cafe's, which used to be a stronghold of womenhate, this story would go down as easy as a pint of beer. Some other would try to add a devine touch to the story of the cocktails and turned Ganymedes into the creator of the cocktail. According to mythology, this trojan prince was abducted by Zeus, whom then promoted him to be the cupbearer of the gods and pour drink for the gods on olympus.

Fashionably doing cocktails

Soon after, cocktails were being served in quality esthablisements like oceanliner's steamships and aeroplanes, where "well off" crowds tend to gather. This type of clientele loved the complicated composition of these beverages, which where unobtainable to the average man in the street. Since late 19th centuryde Manhattan and the dry Martini are true classics on both sides of the atlantic ocean. They symbolize the meeting of different countries: the Italian vermouth is being introduced to American Bourbon and British Gin. The mixture creates a bond and symoblizes de development of a new lifestyle. The american prohibition, which was intended to eliminate the destructive effects that alcohol can have, actually contributed to a further expansion of the 'cocktail world'. The many people that were not going to accept this type of big brother lawmaking found their way to the Caribean, particularly Cuba. There they discovered new aroma's, like the cuban rum which, after the 1920's, had become of very good quality, but also the enormous variety of tropical fruits. This movement was wat inspired a special Cuban "cocktail school", which even today after almost 50 years under Fidel Castro's ruling, still excists. Bartenders from all of the world go there to learn how to tap into the exotic register and how to extend their taste palet.

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