Cocktail Hour: Redux
The true cosmopolitan among errant aesthetes knows the importance of conviviality, intelligent discourse strewn with witty badinage and perfectly timed bon mots to the accompaniment of the indispensable and always reliable style staple — the bar cart.
As the passage of light, time and flirty summer dresses eclipses into cashmere scarves and soft cardigans, let’s contentedly succumb to the wind-rippled days and chilled darkened nights with a glass of autumn wine . . .
So enthused am I on the topic of the leisurely and languorous cocktail hour and its celebrated attendant, the bar cart, I am revisiting this blessedly civilized ritual of propriety and mannerism. The mildly curious might do well to catch up with The Retro Ritual: Cocktail Hour.
And the ardently adventurous hoping to secure a modicum of fame, showcase their brilliance for decor and/or drinking prowess or simply share my love of this most splendid of pastimes, might submit a photo of their very own beloved bar cart or designated space of spirits (the alcoholic variety, not the preternatural).
The earliest known printed use of the word “cocktail” was in The Farmer’s Cabinet, April 28, 1803:
“Drank a glass of cocktail —
excellent for the head . . .”
Early advocates of cocktails had the terribly good sense to christen it a morning beverage, as the name was a metaphor for the rooster (cocktail) heralding the morning light of day.
As the observant or rurally raised well know, a cock’s tail has feathers in many varied colors just as a cocktail has varied alcoholic drinks mixed together.
Some say that it was customary to put a feather, presumably from a cock’s tail, in the drink to serve both as decoration and to signal to teetotalers that the drink contained alcohol. So wisely prudent our ancestors, no?
The first “cocktail party” ever thrown was allegedly by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917. Mrs. Walsh invited 50 guests to her mansion at noon on a Sunday. The party lasted one hour, until lunch was served at 1pm. The site of the first cocktail party still stands.
Legend and literature has it that it was “Catherine Hustler who invented the gin cocktail, stirring it with a feather from a stuffed rooster’s tail.” Catherine described her drink saying, “it warms both the soul and body and is fit to be put in a vessel of diamonds.”
Images: This is Glamorous