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Let Freedom Reign: 12 Fun Facts on the History of the Cocktail

June 7, 2011

Cheers to the new golden era of the cocktail but let’s not forget those who over history have tried to put a lid on flavor, fun and the freedom of spirits.

1. The first cocktail party was held for 50 house guests in St. Louis in 1917. The house still stands today….as the  residence of the Archbishop.

2. While Prohibition resulted in a decline in alcohol it also resulted in a dramatic increase in crime as money flowed to the bad guys. Crime rose as high as 500% in some countries. Consequently, government costs soared while tax revenue declined.

3. Calling an illegal bar a ‘speakeasy’ came from a lady barkeep who would warn her customers to “speak easy, boy, speak easy” whenever they became loud enough to attract police.

Speakeasy cocktail history

4. A greater crime was what it did to the cocktail. Prior to Prohibition, America was enjoying its first golden age of mixology. Once liquor became illegal, ‘rum runners” brought it in by boat but watered down their blends so they could ship less and make more.

5. At the same time, gin and vodka replaced rum and whiskey as cocktail ingredients because they didn’t require as much aging and were easier to make illegally.

6. Hitler, the original Dr. Evil, believed in abstinence but Churchill, that voice of freedom, called prohibition:

“an affront to the whole history of mankind”.

7. July 30th is known as Black Tots Day to memorialize the day in 1970 the British Navy did away with providing every sailor with a daily ration of rum. What would Jack Sparrow think?

8. The Boomer’s drug revolution further delayed the return of the quality cocktail and the 70s weren’t exactly a highpoint in highballs.

1970s Mixology

9. But slowly, fueled by a renewed appreciation of island culture (and all that is good and cool and free), cocktails with integrity and soul began to make a comeback one tiki at a time.

10. By 1980, rum surpassed vodka in sales for the first time.

11. Traditional cocktails really started to come back in the 2000s as top mixologists took the profession to new heights of creativity and care.

12. Today, alcohol is  still banned in 10 countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, Brunei and in certain parts of Australia, India and England but elsewhere liberated spirits enjoy a new cocktail culture that has no boundaries.

Cocktail Bar


Free the Flavor!

Denizen is a new, award-winning choice in white rum: a blend of three different styles of rum from Jamaica and Trinidad meticulously selected by master blenders in Amsterdam so that you can fully enjoy the new golden age of rum mixology.

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