What is a cocktail? I thought this would be easy, it’s any drink found on the happy hour menu for cocktail hour. A mixed drink with a kick… right, guys? ...guys?
No! The history is a lot more complex and flavorful, with a little bit of in-fighting between America and England. The origins of the word are legends, even where the term comes from has 5 different stories. It could come from horseracing, French word for an egg cup, or even that a rooster’s tail was used to stir a Bittered Sling.#
The term today has come to mean any mixed drink, but back in the day, it referred to a specific recipe. It lived in the world of punches, sours, slings and other varieties of alcoholic libations. In the May 13th edition of the 1806 newspaper, Balance and Columbian Repository, the editor defined a cocktail as: “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters.” In my research, I learned that any time NVD refers to a cocktail, we are heralding the original meaning and it must include bitters.
So I decided to make a cocktail as a part of my research but there's no official name, the working title is Autumn Harvest.
1.5 oz NVD Brandy Cordial
.75 oz NVD Apple Brandy
.5 oz Liber & Co. Grenadine
2 dashes Lemon bitters
Shake vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a glass, and put the two dashes of lemon bitters to float on top.
What is missing from the picture?
Bitters of course!
I purchased the Berg & Haucks travel set because it offers a wide variety which adds versatility to any self-proclaimed cocktail aficionado.
It comes with aromatic (think Angostura, but something unique), celery, orange, lemon, and creole bitters (think Peyshauds, but all natural).
So now, we (NVD) have the largest selection of bitters in the USA, and maybe the world, and the options are endless! Mix up me hearties!
*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.
#For more information, feel free to visit this site with some more fun facts about the cocktail: Today I Found Out