Over weekends, we make mostly summer whisky cocktails to enjoy at the BBQ. Sipping these cooling drinks, I was wondering where cocktails came from. The first reference to the word cocktail was found in the UK Morning Post and Gazette during March 1798. The word made its appearance in the US during 1803. In 1806 a formal definition was published in the Balance and Columbian Repository in New York. The first ingredients included spirits, sugar, water and bitters.
By 1862 a recipe book was published and the listing included recipes for Punches, Sours and Cobblers. Mrs Julius Walsh of St Louis, Missouri threw the first every cocktail party. She invited 50 guests to her home at noon on a Sunday for drinks. During Prohibition in the US, when alcoholic beverages were illegal, cocktails were consumed illegally.
Unfortunately the quality of the liquor was not very good. Fruit juices, honey and other flavourings masked the taste of the inferior liquors. The sweeter cocktails were easier to drink quickly, an important consideration when the establishment might be raided at any moment.
Cocktails became less popular in the late 1960s and through the 1970s. They became popular again in the 1980s with vodka often substituting the original gin in drinks such as the martini. Traditional cocktails began to make a comeback in the 2000s.
Summer in South Africa is warm and long. We have enjoyed a variety of summer whisky cocktails over the weekends to celebrate our great weather while we BBQ with our Big Green Egg. Below are some of the recipes of the great summer whisky cocktails that we have tried. The number next to the recipe is our rating out of 5. We use Peter Bohrmann’s ‘The Bartender’s Guide’ as basis, but substitute for products available in South Africa where necessary.
Summer Whisky Cocktails
- 45ml Wild Geese Whiskey
- 25ml Lemon juice
- 2 tsp Grenadine
Shake together with ice in a strainer and strain into a cocktail glass. (3/5)
- 25 ml Compass Box Peat Monster
- 25 ml Drambuie
Pour over an ice cute and serve. (3.5/5)
- 15 ml Three Ships 10 yo Single malt
- 15 ml Amaretto
- 15 ml Crème de Cassis
- 15ml Campari
Mix ingredients together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. (3.5 /5)
- 45 ml Whisky
- 25 ml Lemon juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 tsp sugar syrup
- Ginger ale for topping up
Shake all the ingredients except the ginger ale together with ice. Strain into a highball glass over a few ice cubes. Top up with Ginger ale. (3.5/5)
- 45 ml Glenfiddich Whisky
- 25 ml Cinzano
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
Stir ingredients together with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Spear the cherry with a toothpick and add to the glass. (2.5/5)
- 30 ml Canadian whisky
- 2 tsp Triple Sec
- 2 tsp Maple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake all the ingredients together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. (3/5)