This Was The First Cocktail Ever Created In The US

Cocktails across the world dazzle casual sippers and ingredients enthusiasts alike, accompanying dinner parties, making a bar night experience, and even selling in canned convenient concoctions. There was not always the cocktail, though. There was a time when having a drink meant sipping on just one thing, or perhaps with added bitters (via Chivas). Alcohol, like spirits, was medicinal in many cases, not just recreational. Tinctures and flavors might be mixed with a spirit for flavor by a doctor or pharmacist, but it wasn't done by a bartender. A local saloon might be a destination for a pint of ale, not a margarita.

In 1806, this all changed. The first recorded cocktail appeared in a print newspaper, unnamed, made by a bartender in New York for a visiting New York editor. The trend took off, but Prohibition in the United States stopped it in its tracks. It was only after the end of this era that we saw the first named cocktail, a variation of that first recorded one: the Sazerac. Now, there are so many variations it can get overwhelming. 

The first cocktail: the Sazerac

Much like the first cocktail in that 1806 newspaper, which was made of a spirit, water, sugar, and bitters, the Sazerac contained brandy, absinthe, sugar, and bitters. The first Sazerac supposedly got its start at an apothecary's shop in New Orleans, constructed by the druggist Antoine or Anthony Peychaud. The United States Bartenders' Guild does not have any record of the named cocktail recipe until the late 1800s, but it is believed that the libation took off in the 1830s.

The actual name, Sazerac, has a few different potential origin stories. The name was probably inspired by the popular brandy used in it at the time, the Sazerac De Forge et Fils. Plenty of coffee houses in the 1800s had the name Sazerac, though it isn't entirely clear which came first. Sazerac Co. says the original coffee house was named after the cocktail, but the USGB says the cocktail very well could be named after a coffeehouse of the same title. 

This cocktail became whiskey based somewhere along the line and was officially trademarked by the Sazerac Co. in 1900 (per Liquor). Since then, this cocktail has remained a New Orleans classic and the kicking drink is even the official cocktail of the city.