There’s something about a cocktail that just oozes glamour and a sense of sophistication. Maybe it’s the careful preparation of the ingredients, the items you need to make a really great cocktail, or the sensual glasses you drink them from. The whole affair is a more leisurely social way to enjoy a drink.
The origins of the name ‘cocktail’ might surprise some, coming from the horse trade! A Cock Tail was the name given to a horse of mixed breed whose tail had been cropped to distinguish this much sought after breed. Unscrupulous sellers would give a less than favourable horse of ginger concoction to fizz it up, so it Cocked it’s tail! Looking lively and therefore more desirable at the point of sale. When the horse returned to its new home it would only be then that the poor unsuspecting buyer would realise it’s dullsome character!
It’s the Americans that really took this style of drink to their hearts in the late 1800s, even though its origins are believed to be in London dating back to 1798 with London gin being mixed with bitters.
I always think of the 1920s, when I think of the cocktail. The glamorous fashions of the day were emerging, the social relaxations on dress code had arrived, gone were the corsets and hemlines were gradually lifting and ‘going out’ to drink and socialise was following.
Several London hotels opened American Bars. The Savoy being the oldest to shake up cocktails for their customers. At 125 years old it’s still making headlines, being the winner of Best International Bar team 2016. Their bartenders have been amongst some of the most famous. In 1903 Ada ‘Coley’ Colman, unusual for being a lady, created the famous ‘Hanky Panky’. When she finally hung up her shaker, the legendary Harry Craddock took the reins, coming over from New York after the introduction of prohibition forced him out. Harry is said to have created 240 cocktails with ‘White Lady’ being his most iconic.
The cocktail scene was also creating its own style at the beginning of the 20th Century. Clean lines, strong form and a touch of glamour with colour and textures. I must say I’m a real sucker for a beautiful mid century table. This French glass table sets the scene beautifully. It’s unfussy clean lines and understated detailing makes this as desirable today as its was in the 50s, working so well in different locations, either as a central focal point against a wall or as a neat little sofa table. High in style and hugely collectable.
West Germany’s strong design in the 50s brought us the cocktail chair. It’s uncomplicated form with its clean curving lines means it sits in our modern day interiors seamlessly looking as contemporary today as it did then. Small neat easy to work into any space.
The correct glasses are all important for the perfect look to serve your favourite tipple. From Martini to Margarita, Champagne saucer to Crystal coupe.
And finally your shaker! Well they speak for themselves. Enjoy!