Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blue Cocktails

What is a Cocktail?

The official definition of a Cocktail according to the modern Merriam-Webster Dictionary is "an iced drink of wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients." That's a pretty broad definition, but reflects the modern practice of referring to almost any mixed drink as a Cocktail. The first published definition of the Cocktail appeared in an editorial response in The Balance and Columbian Repository of 1806. This read: "Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters." It is this definition of ingredients that still refers to the "ideal cocktail."

When was the cocktail created?
People have been mixing drinks for centuries but it wasn't until the 17th and 18th centuries that the precursors of the Cocktail (the Slings, Fizzes, Toddies and Juleps) became popular enough to be recorded in history. It's unclear where, who, and what went into the creation of the original Cocktail, but it seems to be a specific drink rather than a category of mixed drinks during that time.

The first published reference to the Cocktail appears in the Farmer's Cabinet (Amherst, New Hampshire, April 28, 1803). The spoof editorial tells of a "lounger" who, with an 11 a.m. hangover, "…Drank a glass of cocktail – excellent for the head…" In Imbibe!, David Wondrich attributes the first known Cocktail recipe in print to Captain J.E. Alexander in 1831 who calls for brandy, gin or rum in a mix of "…a third of the spirit to two-thirds of the water; add bitters, and enrich with sugar and nutmeg…"

Why Blue Cocktail?
Our chosen cocktail theme this month in case you hadn’t already guessed is blue! We have chosen and tested a selection of recipes all featuring one particular liqueur which is often misunderstood – Blue Curaçao.

Often thought of as just to add colour rather than enhancing the flavour or alcoholic content to a cocktail, Blue Curaçao is an extremely versatile liqueur which we would recommend as an essential component for your home cocktail ingredients selection.

Curaçao liqueurs are traditionally made from the dried peels of the small bitter curaçao orange – named after the Dutch island of Curaçao in the Caribbean. As the island of Curaçao was formerly a Dutch colony, it supplied fruit to the liqueur makers of Holland. Now Curaçao liqueurs are also produced from bitter oranges of other origins and can be clear, blue, or orange. The colours are purely decorative, but the bitter orange flavours are very similar.

De Kuyper Blue Curaçao is a vibrant electric blue with pronounced citrus aromas reminiscent of orange and lime marmalade although its fragrant bitter orange flavours have a balanced sweetness. Even though it is rarely consumed neat or over ice – De Kuyper Blue Curaçao is the essential ingredient for many eye catching cocktail recipes. Have a look at the cocktail ideas we have selected this month and see what you think.

Enjoy : )

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