Whilst sipping a cocktail, have you ever thought about the meaning of the word?
cock + tail = cocktail
Why is that? – Well, nobody knows for sure, but there are numerous theories about the origin of the name. Here are just a few, which we like most:
The drink used to be decorated with a plant that looked like a cock’s tail. Today, colourful stirrers and picks (e.g. umbrellas) are used instead.
Alcoholic leftovers that could not be drawn off through the taps of the barrels were all put into one jar and sold. Cock is said to have been the name of what today is called tap (or spigot). Alcoholic leftovers were called tailings. So according to this theory, the drink was first called cock-tailing, which later became cocktail.
Alcoholic leftovers from bottles and barrels were put into a large cock-shaped ceramic vessel, the tap of which was at the tail of that cock. According to this theory, the drink was first called cock’s tail.
A pharmacist in New Orleans used to offer his guests a drink (brandy, sugar, water and bitters) in an egg-cup. He called the drink egg-cup cocquetier. His guests shortened this to cocktay, which later became cocktail.
The term derives from cock ale, a drink for which the blood of a cock was used – yuck!