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The History of Cocktails In America

Gather round and settle down kids, we’ve got grand old tales of the history of cocktails in America, and as ever, we want to share our fanatical knowledge with you! (You clicked the blog, you only have yourself to blame!)

Cocktails In America

Now, the cocktails that we all know and love are thought to have originated in America (Go Team USA!); however, they were inspired in quite a large way by our British friends across the pond, who loved to create massive bowls of fruit punch and the use of the word “cocktail” was even seen in a British newspaper article back in 1798, before we swooped in and finessed their version of cocktails, to create the classics that we have today.

What Is Punch?

When we think of Punch nowadays, many of us think of Frat House parties with giant bowls of spirits, fruit juices, Sour Patch Kids and whatever other horrific ingredients are at the disposal of the country’s youth (yeah, we said “youth” and we don’t even feel bad about it); however, back in ye olden days, Punch was considered to be a more refined drink for Lords and Ladies, made from wine or brandy, which after a few years changed to adding rum as a base instead, with fruit pieces and fruit juices. Punch evolved to become rum-based at the same time that the disgustingly named Grog was invented.

What Is Grog?

The name of this drink (in our humble opinion) is grim, and the original ingredients were even worse; the Brits created this questionable little “treat” by mixing rum with water (why ruin good rum?!) to serve to the British Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy back in 1740, the Vice-Admiral then took this idea and used it aboard his ships, where his sailors would dilute their daily rations of rum with water, to avoid being absolutely sloshed for their entire voyage. Grog later evolved to the drink that we would most recognise today, where hot water, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar are added to rum to create this questionable concoction.

History of Daiquiri Cocktails

We swiftly move on from one questionable alcoholic beverage, to one that’s an absolute delicious classic, the good old Daiquiri! Whether it’s Strawberry, Mango, or Unicorn flavored (we have no idea what flavor a unicorn is, but apparently it’s a thing. Who are we to question it?) it’s got to include rum and ideally, for the best taste sensation, it’s got to be frozen! But where did Daiquiris come from? How did this glass of heaven become so popular?

Well, it’s all thanks to a little known guy called Jennings Cox, who was an American Engineer in the 1890s. Cox, the certified legend that he clearly is, was hosting a spicy little party in Cuba after the Spanish-American war and realized he had completely run out of gin; Cuba being the land of rum and fun, came to his rescue! Cox replaced the gin in his homemade cocktails, adding lashings of delicious rum, fresh fruit juice and the rest is quite literally history! *We do just need to note that this cocktail probably already existed in Cuba, so we think Cox technically stole this recipe and made loads of dollar off the back of it. 

History of Margarita Cocktails

So we’ve acknowledged the very debatable origins of the Daiquiri, yet we now move on to an even more mysterious tale. 

Nobody knows where Margaritas came from…

Like, literally nobody.

Ok, so there’s mention that a Mexican restaurant bar owner first created this for a showgirl back in the 1930s and the drink became massively popular during the Prohibition era, but after reading about Cox potentially stealing the Daiquiri recipe, we just don’t know what to believe anymore!


Regardless of the mystery surrounding this classic cocktail, it must include Tequila and remember, with a Margarita... Keep. It. Simple!

History of Cosmopolitan Cocktail

Surprisingly, this cocktail is one of the youngest of the classics, with sources claiming that it was created in 1975 by a bartender at a SteakHouse in Minneapolis. 

The Cosmopolitan obviously had a resurgence when referenced in Sex and the City ( we haven’t watched it, don’t @ us!) , and has maintained its status as a cult classic cocktail since its inception. The Cosmopolitan is surprisingly deceptive, as it can sometimes be (very wrongly) written off as a very girly, feminine drink, but this packs an absolute punch!

History Of The Bloody Mary Cocktail

We were really hoping that this cocktail would have some crazy Halloween vibes, or some kind of origin which would be at home on the TrueCrime channel, but nope, we were wrong (and slightly disappointed). 

We’ve got yet another tale of someone maybe taking credit for this little powerhouse of a cocktail, potentially without actually deserving the credit. The story goes that Fernand Petiot, a young bartender in Paris in the 1920s, was the inventor of this alcoholic meal in a glass; however, its argued that Fernand simply added a bit of finesse to an existing cocktail of vodka and tomato juice, by adding the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, salt and random stick of celery. Ok, fine, Fernand added quite a lot to an existing boring recipe, so let’s give him credit where it’s due and move on.

History Of Sex On The Beach Cocktail

The history of sex on the beach is actually exactly how we all imagined it; created in Florida in the 1980s by a bartender who needed to sell excess stock of peach schnapps, the Sex on the Beach cocktail was born. Amongst the chaos of mustard colored power suits, giant cell phones and “Discotheques”, the Sex on the Beach cocktail was an absolute winner when targeted at the Spring Breakers of the 1980s, and has remained popular with basically everyone, ever since. 

Even if today’s bartenders may roll their eyes at this choice of cocktail, we make no apologies that this is one of our guilty pleasures; it’s fun, tastes delicious, and we’re sorry if you disagree, but it genuinely is a modern classic!

Which Cocktail Should You Try?

We’re glad we could impart a little more of our wisdom upon you, and if you want to check out some immense ready to drink cocktails whose origins definitely aren’t up for debate, try our Full Bar collection.