Introduction to Cocktails

Alcohols, cocktails, gin & tonic. You think you know them, but do you really?

What is a Cocktail?

Today’s definition of a cocktail is a mixed alcoholic drink. Cocktails are usually mixed with juices, soft drinks and even fruits along with other alcohols. 

This definition used to be more complicated though, with cocktails having to contain liquor, water, sugar and bitters to qualify as one. When more ingredients became available and incorporated into old recipes in the late 1800s, the definition of cocktails expanded to include more drinks.

Name origin

There are endless theories that address the origins of the word “Cocktail”. Here’s the most popular one: The Mispronunciation of a French word ‘Coquetier’.

In New Orleans, a US pharmacist Antoine Peychaud used a coquetier - an egg cup - as a measure when selling his family’s own gentian-based bitters. Later on in the late 18th century, a bar started selling an aperitif containing Peychaud’s bitters. The drink was served in a coquetier as well. Coquetier is pronounced ‘cock-tay’ and thus slowly evolved to what we know as cocktail. Well, a story is a story and this is just one of the tales often told. Read more about how this tale is debunked here!

Brief History

The term ‘cocktail’ became widely used by bartenders and in publications, kickstarting the culture of cocktails. Distinct styles of cocktails began to take shape, like the Highball and the Old Fashioned (types of cocktail). In 1919, cocktails were banned in the US and this lasted all… the… way...till 1933. This was known as the Prohibition (a dark time). However, illegal speakeasies (bars with restaurants and sometimes clubs) continued serving alcohols through this time and kept cocktails alive.
When the ban was lifted in 1933, cocktails were extremely popular amongst people.

During the World War II, cocktails were not too well received but in the late 70s, it began picking up again. This resulted in a sudden boom of interesting cocktails that we know and love today, with bartenders creating their own mixtures as an art form.

Want to be a bartender for a day?

We always look at bartenders in awe as they stand behind bar counters with their cool acts and stunts. What if you could be one too? What if you could make your own perfect drink to your liking? Let me present to you…

A gin and tonic masterclass!

Nestled along Amoy Street in Telok Ayer, this workshop is held in a speakeasy pub - the only one in Singapore! Learn about the history of different styles of gin and tonic and taste how the different gins and tonics complement each other! You will be able to appreciate gin and tonic so much more and go out with a great story to impress your friends!

So what’s stopping you? Book this class now for just SGD $99 per pax! Bring along a few friends and indulge in an informative, chill drinking sesh!

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At Culturally, we offer you a wide range of cultural workshops for you to immerse yourself in. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more amazing cultural facts and activities!