Thursday, January 10, 2008

word origins: cocktail

From whence does the word, "cocktail," originate? Choose your answer:

1. Bartenders used to dreg off barrels and mix them together, then serve the resulting ‘concoction’ at a reduced price. The “tailings were the last bits of alcohol and the “cock” was the spigot.

2. Leftover liquor was served dumped in a ceramic container shaped like a rooster. You could get a cheap drink from a tap set in the tail of the rooster, otherwise known as the “cock’s tail.”

3. Here’s the story I heard this morning: In New Orleans, an apothecary named Peychaud would serve his customers a mix of bitters and brandy in an egg-cup. In French, that’s coquetier.”

4. Another French story is that “coquetetel” was the name of a mixed drink from Bordeaux served to French officers during the American Revolution.

5. Doctors once treated throat problems with a medicine applied to the tip of a cock’s tail feather. The medicine itself eventually acquired the name “cock’s tail.”

6. A doctor in ancient Rome made a wine-based mixed drink called “cockwine” drunk by the Emperor Lucious Aurelius (180-192 A.D.)

7. A potent drink will “cock your tail,” or lift up your spirits.

8. A 16th century drink called “cock-ale” got its name from a key ingredient.

Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better; parboil the cock, flay him, and stamp him in a stone mortar until his bones are broken (you must gut him when you flay him). Then, put the cock into two quarts of sack, and put to it five pounds of raisins of the sun-stoned; some blades of mace, and a few cloves. Put all these into a canvas bag, and a little before you find the ale has been working, put the bag and ale together in vessel. In a week or nine days bottle it up, fill the bottle just above the neck and give it the same time to ripen as other ale.


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