Cocktails – Past, Present and Future
History of Cocktails
The name Cocktail has an interesting history in and of itself. One popular theory for the origin of the name comes from New Orleans, the birthplace of the American cocktail in the mid-1800s. At Peychaud’s apothecary on Royal St. guests were served drinks named Coquetier, the French word for an eggcup. Guests eventually shortened the name to “cocktay” and eventually it became “cocktail,” a name that obviously stuck. The bitters created by Peychaud for cocktail creation at his apothecary still carry his family name to this day and Peychaud’s Bitters is one of the best-selling cocktail ingredients in the world. Many cocktail history buffs believe the first cocktail was the Sazerac, a blend of whisky, absinthe, bitters and sugar and was served at Peychaud’s apothecary. Irrespective of its exact origin, this is one of the first cocktails recognizable by name and remains a favorite of classic whiskey cocktail lovers to this day.
The Cocktail Culture of Yesteryear and Today
Some of the most popular cocktails in today’s cocktail culture include the vodka martini, the Manhattan, the Cosmopolitan, the Old Fashioned, the Margarita and the brunch favorite Mimosa. Some history and more on these popular libations that are consumed in many bars, restaurants and in homes throughout the world:
The Manhattan is one of five cocktails named after a borough in New York City and is by far the most famous of these drinks. A Manhattan is traditionally made with Rye whiskey, but some use bourbon or Tennessee whiskey. The cocktail is usually stirred then strained into a cocktail and garnished traditionally with a brandied or maraschino cherry.
Vodka Martini -- Another popular theory suggests it evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez served sometime in the early 1860s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, which people frequented before taking an evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez, California.
Cocktails are traditionally thought of as an American innovation, but they were actually at least partly inspired by British punches—big bowls of spirits mixed with fruit juice, spices, and other flavors, consumed in punch houses in the 18th century. The term cocktail was even first seen in a British newspaper printed in March of 1798. But the term wasn’t really defined as we know it until 1806, when The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, New York, pinned the cocktail down to what we follow today: “a stimulating liquor composed of any kind of sugar, water and bitters.” It was sometimes called a bittered sling. The word sling actually predated the cocktail, which is basically the same thing made without bitters.
One of the biggest innovations in cocktail culture happened with the advent of one key ingredient in cocktail culture: ice. Instead of going to a bar and getting every cocktail at room temperature, all libations could be enjoyed ice cold. Every cocktail drinker enjoys this improvement, thanks to an entrepreneur crazy enough to dream up an ice exporting business. This innovation came at a time when the fastest delivery system for long distance was a ship and most ports weren’t equipped to store whatever ice didn’t melt on its way to its destination. That didn’t discourage Frederic “Ice King” Tudor, who kept trying and failing at hauling ice from colder climates to warmer ports. Then, the venture finally succeeded. This tremendous innovation made Frederic Tudor a billionaire. With ice now more available around the U.S. and even in some spots around the world, cocktails, and cocktail consumption, exploded
The exact origins of many cocktails have varied stories, with stories as varied as there are number. But whatever actually happened, we do know that the formal invention of The Cosmopolitan appears to have happened in 1987 when a bartender named Toby Cecchini made the drink while working at the famous Odeon in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. It was an immediate hit with men and women alike. Today, the Cosmopolitan has become a mainstay, with the preponderance of consumption taking place among female cocktail drinkers. This popular cocktail consists of vodka, contreau, cranberry juice and lime. The ingredients are poured over ice in a cocktail shaker, then strained into a cocktail coupe garnished with a lemon peel. When property made, it is a well-balanced libation, not too sweet and not too tart.
The Old Fashioned has long been is a bona fide mainstay for male cocktail drinkers, both in America and in other parts of the world. The stories are varied like all other cocktail origin tales, but the one that seems most logical starts in Louisville, Kentucky. Many give credit to a private social club, called The Pendennis Club, for making the very first old-fashioned. James E. Pepper was a bartender there and a well-respected bourbon enthusiast. It is said that Pepper invented the drink have invented in Louisville, before he brought his popular recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. The drink became wildly popular when brought to New York City and many say that this is where it was actually born. Whatever to origins or birthplace of The Old Fashioned, it continues to thrive. Variations are many, with Bourbon, Rye Whiskey and even Mezcal being used in the cocktail. The traditional recipe consists of bourbon, sugar, Angostura bitters and a lemon peel garnish. Many bars now include a brandied cherry as part of the garnish. Whatever the ingredients and garnish, the ingredients are first placed in a cocktail mixing glass with a bit of ice, stirred the appropriate number of times and then poured through a strainer into a cocktail glass with ice. True Old Fashioned afficionados prefer a single clear cube in this cocktail. This large single cube allows the ice to melt more slowly, keeping the drink from dilution too rapidly.
The Manhattan is an offshoot of The Old Fashioned and is popular with men and women alike. The primary spirit in this cocktail can be either bourbon or rye whiskey. To make the perfect Manhattan cocktail, place 10 to 12 cubes of ice in a cocktail mixing glass, pour 2 ounces of the spirit of choice over the ice, then add 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters and 1 dash or orange bitters ·Stir the concoction 10 to 12 times with a long spoon, then pour through a strainer into a coupe. The drink can be garnished with either a brandied cherry or a lemon twist.
The Margarita is the most popular cocktail in America and the stories of its origins are varied. Many people claim that the drink was invented by Margaret Sames for a party she was hosting at her home in Texas in 1948. David Wondrich, a well-known cocktail historian agrees that, whatever the origin, the Margarita was invented during this time frame. Wondrich goes on to say that the Margarita evolved from the Tequila Daisy. The Daisy recipe consisted of blanco Tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur, all served in a glass with a salted rim. In recent years the frozen Margarita has become popular, with the first such libations being served in the 1950s. But the frozen concoction really took off when Dallas restaurant owner Mariano Martinez created the first frozen margarita machine. It was such a breakthrough that his original machine is in the Smithsonian museum!
You can’t go out to brunch without seeing or ordering a Mimosa. This drink is made up of just two ingredients, orange juice and champagne or sparkling white wine. The champagne and orange libation is said to have been invented In 1921, at Buck’s Club in London. The drink was called the Buck’s Fizz and it was a drink made up of champagne and orange juice, just like the Mimosa. But the Buck’s Fizz had more sparkling wine or champagne than today’s Mimosa. Most Mimosas gracing menus around the world these days contain equal parts of orange juice and champagne. It is believed that a bartender in 1925 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, was the first to create the mimosa with the formula enjoyed today. Variations of the orange juice-based Mimosa include cocktails made with pineapple, cranberry, passion fruit juice and more. All establishments serve the Mimosa, whatever the variation, in a champagne flute. Many establishments offer a “bottomless” Mimosa for their very thirsty guests
Future of Cocktails
Major spirits providers are innovating and experimenting to bring a new level of experience to cocktail culture. Some examples include “What's Your Whisky?' from Diageo. This is digital experience using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze your preferences to match you with your perfect Whisky. And, it allows participants to learn a lot more about whiskey along the way. Also, Google’s Alexa has partnered with Talisker in a home-enabled, immersive experience that transports users to the Isle of Skye. The experience allows participants to join an iconic tasting tour, all from the comfort of your own home. From here, the intersection of technology and spirits seems to be a great frontier!
History of the Moscow Mule Cocktail
At Royal 38 we have created a cocktail experience unlike any other Dallas bar. It all starts with creative, delicious cocktails that aren’t found at your average bar in the city. From our signature rye whiskey cocktail, the Blind Date, to our signature, elevated Moscow Mule cocktail called the Pretentious Mule, our menu is unlike any other. In this post, we are going to describe in some detail our inventive, delicious take on this classic American cocktail, the Moscow Mule. We call this derivation on this classic the Pretentious Mule. First, we are going to give you a little history on this Vodka based cocktail as well as a little information about the nature and history of the vodka spirit. We will then provide you with some details about how we painstakingly make the Pretentious Mule cocktail at Royal 38. A little history on the classic cocktail, the Moscow Mule goes as follows: this vodka based concoction was born on the island of Manhattan in New York City in 1941. It was birthed by three good friends who were drinking at a cocktail bar in one of New York City’s classic hotels, the Chatham. These three friends, one of them the President of a Vodka company and all of them being in the liquor business, were sharing a few cocktails and appetizers one brisk New York evening, when they began wondering how they might invent something new and exciting for Vodka drinkers to enjoy. A little history and insight into vodka is as follows: different varieties of Vodka originated in Russian, Poland and Sweden and it is typically made by distilling liquid from fermented cereal grains such as wheat. But, in more recent times, potatoes have been used. Since the 1890s, standard vodkas have been 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). The good friends who invented the Moscow Mule, began thinking about what might happen if they took their favorite liquor, Russian Vodka and mixed it with another of their favorites, Ginger Beer. After some experimentation with various flavors, they decided to add some citrus juice to the mixture to give it a bit of a tart flavor twist. They loved the resulting cocktail and christened it the Moscow Mule! These good friends pinned the Moscow moniker on their cocktail based on country of origin of their favorite Vodka, the primary liquor in their invention. The Moscow Mule cocktail has become immensely popular and has enjoyed many variations since it was invented decades ago. Some versions of the cocktail have been made with Whiskey, others made with Gin and some have even been made with Tequila, as well as a myriad of other spirits. At Royal 38 we have taken the classic Moscow Mule cocktail, and completely reinvented it to deliver an elevated, even better tasting version than the original classic. We use the classic spirit vodka, but we use fresh, house made ginger honey syrup instead of Ginger Beer and crystal clear, clarified lime juice instead of standard pulp laden juice. Each cocktail is carefully hand carbonated to add champagne sized carbonation to both the liquor and the juices to create the most refined and what many guests consider, the best tasting Moscow Mule in Dallas.
Ingredients for this Refreshing Cocktail
This amazingly refreshing cocktail starts with the specialized ingredients we use in this Royal 38 signature version of a Moscow Mule cocktail:
Fresh squeezed, crystal clear, clarified lime juice
Hand carbonated to order
Building the Pretentious Mule Cocktail
Here is the exacting and unique process we undertake to create this special cocktail for each and every one of our guests who want to experience a Moscow Mule like no other:
Step 1: Create fresh ginger honey syrup. Starting with fresh ginger root, the roots are juiced and the resulting juice is place in a high speed blender. Wild honey is then added to the ginger root juice in the blender. The mixture is then blended for a total of two minutes. The resulting syrup is tart, slightly sweet, but tangy and has a nice pungent fragrance. This juice blend forms the basis of our Pretentious Mule cocktail and is unique to Royal 38.
Step 2: Create clarified lime juice. Limes are cut and then placed in an automated juicer until a full 4 cups of juice have been extracted. The resulting juice is then placed in a medical grade centrifuge where all the sediment and color are removed by the high-speed centrifugal force generated by the machine spinning at 4,000 revolutions per minute. The result is crystal clear, pure tasting lime juice, perfect for our Pretentious Mule cocktail, which also ends up as a crystal clear cocktail, void of any pulp.
Step 3: Place the fresh ginger honey syrup, clarified lime juice, premium vodka, filtered water and ice into a Perlini Carbonating Cocktail System cannister. Aggressively shake the cannister a minimum of 10 times, more if desired.
Step 4: After shaking is complete, place a CO2 hose into the nipple of the cannister to infuse champagne sized carbonation into all the ingredients. This ensures that all ingredients are carbonated and have effervesce equally, unlike standard Moscow Mule cocktails you may have drank elsewhere, which have no carbonation in the lime juice or the vodka in the drink.
Step 5: Release excess carbonation with a single twist of the cannister lid, then tighten. Once again, place the CO2 hose into the nipple on the cannister for one last infusion of champagne sized bubble carbonation. The resulting effervescence permeates the entire mixture at this point.
Step 6: Place a single, long, crystal clear ice cube in a tall, Collins sized cocktail glass.
Step 7: Pour the ingredients from the Perlini cannister directly over the ice, using a strainer to catch any ice that may spill from the cannister.
Step 8: Serve the Pretentious Mule with a metal sipping straw.
Patio Sipping Favorite
The Pretentious Mule cocktail has become a Royal 38 favorite, especially for our guests who enjoy our large outdoor patio, which seats about 85 guests. In the spring and fall when the weather makes patio lounging so enjoyable, our guests often sip a the Pretentious Mule or two while sharing one of Royal 38’s small plates from our food menu with friends. Our guests that order our Pretentious Mule at our Dallas cocktail bar tell us they love the Pretentious Mule because it is crisp, very refreshing and easy to drink. Our guests especially like the unique carbonation effect of champagne sized bubbles infusing all the ingredients so that every sip of the cocktail is filled with just the right amount of effervescence. They also tell the Pretentious Mule complements many of the items from our extensive food menu, including our Ahi Tuna Nachos, House Made Ceviche, Lobster Corn Fritters, Portobello Frites and many more.
Creating an Unmatched Cocktail Bar Experience
Royal 38 is the latest cocktail bar created and run by the award winning originators of one of the quintessential Dallas cocktail bars, HIDE Bar. HIDE Bar was named the Best New Bar of 2017, Best Bar of 2018 and was named as the bar with the Best Cocktail of 2019. This award winning team of bartenders and mixologists have outdone themselves again and created a menu of 20+ unique signature cocktails for Royal 38’s guests. And, Royal 38 continues to deliver a twist on every classic cocktail you know. One of the classics Royal 38 makes that has a very special twist is the Old Fashioned cocktail. Our Old Fashioned will be the subject of a future blog post, highlighting the alternative approach we have taken with the traditional simple syrup used in an Old Fashioned. But, as we say, that is a subject for a future cocktail blog post. Suffice it to say, the Royal 38 staff’s creativity and expertise all adds up to a cocktail bar experience unlike any other available at a Dallas bar. No matter what spirit you like, there are signature cocktails on the Royal 38 menu that will make your taste buds smile. There are numerous choices for Vodka and Gin aficionados. There are ample choices for those that enjoy Tequila and Rum as well. And, no cocktail bar can be without lots of choices for Whiskey fans and Royal 38 does not disappoint in that regard. All Royal 38’s cocktails, either one of our signatures or our spin on a classic, are complemented by a food menu consisting of 15 shared plates, half a dozen sandwiches, several entrees and numerous salads. And, of course beer and wine are served at Royal 38 as well.