Test Your Knowledge



9 Questions

What is a cocktail?

When did the term 'cocktail' originate?

Who published the first bartender's guide that included cocktail recipes?

What is a highball?

What are 'zero-proof' or 'virgin' cocktails or 'mocktails'?

What were cocktails traditionally made of?

When did cocktails become less popular?

What was the first 'cocktail party' ever thrown?

What was the important consideration for sweet cocktails during Prohibition?


A Summary of Alcoholic Mixed Drink

  • A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink that typically contains either a single spirit or a combination of spirits, mixed with other ingredients such as juices, flavored syrups, tonic water, shrubs, and bitters.
  • The word "cocktail" originated in the U.S. and the first definition of a cocktail as an alcoholic beverage appeared in The Balance and Columbian Repository in 1806.
  • Jerry Thomas published a bartender's guide in 1862, which included 10 cocktail recipes using bitters to differentiate from other drinks such as punches and cobblers.
  • Cocktails continued to evolve and gain popularity throughout the 1900s, with the term eventually expanding to cover all mixed drinks.
  • In the early to mid-2000s, there was a rise of cocktail culture through the style of mixology which mixes traditional cocktails and other novel ingredients.
  • The term "cocktail" can refer to a wide variety of drinks, but when a mixed drink contains only a distilled spirit and a mixer, it is a highball.
  • Mixed drinks without alcohol that resemble cocktails can be known as "zero-proof" or "virgin" cocktails or "mocktails".
  • The origins of cocktails are not clear, but traditionally cocktails were a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters.
  • The first publication of a bartender's guide which included cocktail recipes was in 1862, and in addition to recipes for punches, sours, slings, cobblers, shrubs, toddies, flips, and a variety of other mixed drinks were 10 recipes for "cocktails".
  • The first "cocktail party" ever thrown was allegedly by Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917, and cocktails were still consumed illegally in establishments known as speakeasies during Prohibition in the United States.
  • Sweet cocktails were easier to drink quickly during Prohibition, an important consideration when the establishment might be raided at any moment.
  • Cocktails became less popular in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, until resurging in the 1980s with vodka often substituting for the original gin in drinks such as the martini.


Think you know your cocktails? Test your knowledge with our quiz on the history and evolution of alcoholic mixed drinks! From the origins of the term "cocktail" to the rise of mixology, this quiz will challenge your understanding of this popular type of beverage. Whether you're a seasoned bartender or a casual drinker, put your skills to the test and see if you can ace this cocktail quiz.

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