What is a cocktail? Cocktail definition

Early on in the life of a cocktail blog ought to be a definition. What is a cocktail?

Well, just to add to the mystique, there is no agreed industry definition. Some say it’s an alcoholic mixed drink with 2 or more ingredients, one of which is a spirit or liqueur. Others say it’s a drink with 3 ingredients. Overall I guess I’d say it is a mixed alcoholic drink with 2 or more alcoholic spirit and or liqueur ingredients.

So by my definition, gin & tonic isn’t a cocktail (cos it’s only got one alcoholic ingredient),so we call it a ‘spirit & mix.’ However a whisky mac (whisky and ginger wine is.)

Adding a simple fruit juice or carbonated mixer to offset the ‘fire’ in a spirit is clearly a creative idea that helps make the spirit drinkable. However it is the next bit where you start to add a third ingredient and consider how to create a new balanced drink, that the creativity is required. This (to me) is where cocktails start.

Cocktails come in many shapes, sizes & combinations
Cocktails come in many shapes, sizes & combinations

In an accompanying blog article I’ve set out how the structure of a basic cocktail is put together and again it describes the 3 parts, the base, the modifier and the mixer.

The one significant cocktail that doesn’t fit into my definition of a cocktail is the Mojito. Damn! Back to the drawing board.

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