World Cocktail Day

by Cindi SutterChief Communicator & Editor of Spirited Table® - PRESS RELEASE by TANTEO SPIRITS


A Word on World Cocktail Day

May 13th belongs to the cocktail. But before your reach for the top shelf to celebrate the occasion, we’re thinking a short history lesson is in order. So sit back, relax and settle in with a glass of whatever does it for you — this is the story of the cocktail.

Where It All Started

In true cocktail fashion, the word’s etymology comes with some added zest.

The first recorded definition of cocktail harkens back to 1806, when the Hudson Valley rag The Balance and Columbian Repository published the term in what roughly accounts to 2019’s equivalent of here-today-gone-tomorrow political satire.

A followup letter to the editor requested clarification on the term, to which The Balance responded with further clarification… and further satire(?):

“Cock-tail, then in a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said also, to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else.”

A peculiar context, to be certain. And while the political sendup may not exactly translate to today’s Washington, the end result was all the same: Cocktail entered the American lexicon, never again to exit.

Cocktails Over the Years

While 1806’s definition of a cocktail started and stopped at “stimulating liquor… sugar, water and bitters,” 2019’s definition has become quite a bit looser.

The foundation holds steady: something boozy, something sweet and something to cut it. But these days, cocktails have come to encompass any number of drinks containing all the expected ingredients (honey, milk, cream, egg whites etc.), plus a few of the unexpected (tea, coffee, squid ink, turkey broth).

The terms mixed drink and cocktail have become almost interchangeable. The purists will call out the drawbacks — cocktails are meant to be simple. It’s about doing more, with less. But the more adventurous mixologists have a fair point of their own: Why not? Life’s short.

What May 13th Means to Us

Here at Tanteo, we try to keep cocktail as close to its original definition as possible. Most of our trademark cocktails keep things clean and smooth. That way, the companion flavors won’t talk over the tequila.

We even went so far as to develop our product with one of the modern classics — the margarita — in mind. Our CEO, Neil, says it best:

“We started Tanteo with the Bartender, and their various cocktail applications, in mind. From our base blanco tequila, proprietary infusion process, and small batch blending — we take great care to make a quality product that is consistently spicy every time. However, we didn’t stop there. Our bottle was designed with the professional bartender in mind, fitting a speed pourer, fitting in a well, and top heavy so that the bottle helps pour itself. Even the ridges on the neck make Tanteo easy to grab to make a batch of margaritas for friends. While the Margarita was a later addition to the cocktail cannon, we are proud to make our contribution to 200 years after the word’s origin.”

Of course, we’re not opposed to letting our hair down when the moment calls for it. Shake and stir us a clever concoction with some holiday flair or eye-popping ingredients? We’ll still drink to that.

Happy World Cocktail Day from all of us here at Tanteo. To you and yours.