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A Brief History of the Cocktail: Meaning, Origin and Popular Culture

A Brief History of the Cocktail: Meaning, Origin and Popular Culture | Drinks.ng

Introduction to the Cocktail

Simply put, a cocktail is a mixed alcoholic drink. A Cocktail is mixed either as one type of alcohol with juices, as a soft drink and other fruits or as multiple alcoholic drinks with juices or ice tea. Drinking is fashionable and trendy in today’s world. As a result, cocktails and what we’ve come to know as “mocktails” are often confused for each other.

Mocktails are any mixed drinks that don’t contain alcohol. The name “mocktail” is derived from the word “mock” meaning to “imitate or mimic”. Mocktails are imitations of cocktails in the sense that they seem similar to them, but do not have alcohol or any other spirits.

Today, when we refer to a generic alcoholic mixed drink, a cocktail is any beverage that contains two or more ingredients if at least one of those ingredients contains alcohol.There are many theories about the origin of the word “cocktail”, but the strongest claim is that it was derived from the French word “coquetier”, referring to an eggcup-type measure.

A Brief History of the Cocktail: Meaning, Origin and Popular Culture | drinks.ng

Brief History of the Cocktail

A Brief History of the Cocktail: Meaning, Origin and Popular Culture | drinks.ng

Mixed drinks called punch were being made as far back as the 1500s, but the invention of the cocktail itself can be traced to the 1800s. The word “cocktail” was first published in a newspaper in 1806, but the first publication of a bartenders’ guide which included cocktail recipes came in 1862, titled How to Mix Drinks; or, The Bon Vivant’s Companion, by “Professor” Jerry Thomas. The book is still a standard reference work today as the recipes are still used all over the world. Along with recipes for punches, sours, slings, cobblers, shrubs, toddies, flips, and a variety of other mixed drinks are ten recipes for “cocktails”.

The first cocktail party was hosted by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917. She is said to have invited fifty guests to her home at noon on a Sunday. The party apparently lasted an hour, until lunch was served at 1pm. The site of this party still stands today. In 1924, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis bought the mansion and it has served as the local archbishop’s residence since.

United States’ Prohibition lasted from 1919 to1933 and because alcoholic beverages became illegal, cocktails were consumed illegally in establishments known as “speakeasies”. The quality of liquor available during Prohibition was much worse than before and there was a shift from whiskey to gin because it does not require aging, making it easier to produce illicitly. In that period, honey, fruit juices, and other flavourings were used to mask the foul taste of the inferior liquors. Sweet cocktails were easier to drink quickly, which was ideal because the establishment might be raided at any moment.

By the late 1960s and through the 1970s, cocktails became less popular until rising again in the 1980s with vodka often used in place of the original gin in drinks such as the martini. The standard cocktails began to make a comeback in the early 2000s, and by the mid-2000s there was a renaissance of cocktail culture in a style we now call mixology that draws on classic cocktails for inspiration but utilizes novel ingredients and often complex flavours

Traditionally, what we referred to as a cocktail was a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The key ingredient separating cocktails from other drinks in Thomas’ book was the use of bitters. Popular mixed drinks of today which conform to this original meaning of “cocktail” include the Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail and the Manhattan cocktail.

Cocktails have featured in most aspects of our popular culture, if not all. Some cocktails have even come to exist as a result of them. In film and literature most especially, we have a long list of these cocktails including the Vesper Martini, Jack Rose, Whiskey Sour, Scotch Mist, 7&7, May Queen, Rob Roy, Flaming Moe, Singapore Sling, French 75 and so on.

The Cocktail’s Jerry Thomas

A Brief History of the Cocktail: Meaning, Origin and Popular Culture | drinks.ng

Lauded as the father of bartending, Professor Jeremiah “Jerry” Thomas was a native of Westchester, New York. He was given the title “professor” because he established the image of the bartender as a creative profession with peculiar showmanship. He lived a celebrity’s life in his prime in the mid-1800s, bartending and running bars in New York, St. Louis and San Francisco. He also toured the United States and Europe with a traveling bartending show, making signature cocktails like the flaming Blue Blazer.

Recent research has shown that six times more Genever was imported into the United States than gin during that time. Thomas’ biographer David Wondrich reported that recipes made with gin were meant to be made with Genever, since Genever was one of the four main cocktail ingredients and was often mistakenly called gin at the time. Genever gives its cocktails a smoothness and depth and allows classic cocktails such as The Holland House cocktail to be recreated perfectly.

Thomas’ death in 1885 at the age of 55 from a stroke was marked by notable obituaries. The New York Times obituary, one of the most famous of the publications said Thomas was “at one time better known to club men and men about town than any other bartender in this city, and he was very popular among all classes.” Jeremiah P. Thomas was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.


A Brief History of the Cocktail: Meaning, Origin and Popular Culture | Drinks.ng

A Brief History of the Cocktail: Meaning, Origin and Popular Culture

Posted on 03 01, 2017

Introduction to the Cocktail Simply put, a cocktail is a mixed alcoholic drink. A Cocktail...

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Prices of Chivas Regal in Nigeria

Prices of Chivas Regal in Nigeria | www.drinks.ng

Chivas Regal is one of the most popular and successful Scotch whisky brands worldwide.

Brief History of Chivas Regal

Chivas Regal is a market-leading scotch whisky which traces its roots back to 1801 from the Strathisla distillery at Keith, Moray in Speyside, Scotland, the oldest operating Highland distillery founded in 1786.

In 1843, Chivas Brothers was granted a Royal Warrant to supply goods to Queen Victoria and by 1890, May’s edition of Scotland Magazine described Chivas Brothers as “undoubtedly the finest purveying business in the north of Scotland.” In the 1850s, the firm’s first blended scotch whisky, Royal Glen Dee, was launched.

The Chivas Regal blend itself became a reality after Chivas Brothers bought the Strathisla Distillery, which produces the Strathisla single malt whisky used in the Chivas Regal blend. Since then, Chivas Regal has grown steadily into the new millienium.

Chivas Regal is blended from whiskies matured from at least 12 years. It consists of the following:

  • Chivas Regal 12, blended from whiskies matured for at least 12 years.
  • Chivas Brothers’ Blend, launched in 2012 as a Duty Free exclusive. It pays tribute to the pioneering art of blending and the Chivas house style, with a predominance of Speyside malts, in particular Strathisla and Longmorn.
  • Chivas Regal Extra, which is an expression with a higher proportion of sherry casks and priced between the 12- and 18-year-old expressions.
  • Chivas Regal 18 is blended from more than 20 single malt Scotch whiskies, matured for at least 18 years. This expression is winner of multiple Gold awards at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Chivas Regal 25 is created using whiskies aged at least 25 years and available only in limited quantities.
  • Chivas Regal The Icon is blended from whiskies matured for at least 25 years. It was initially launched in 2015 as a Dubai Travel Retail exclusive and is sold in a hand-blown Dartington Crystal decanter crafted from green glass

Latest Prices of Chivas Regal in Nigeria

How much is a bottle of Chivas Regal? And how much is a carton of Chivas Regal?

See the latest prices below.

Product Size Amount in Carton

Unit Price (NGN)

Carton Price (NGN)
Chivas 12





Chivas 18 70cl




Chivas 25 70cl




Prices of Chivas Regal in Nigeria | www.drinks.ng

Prices of Chivas Regal in Nigeria

Posted on 02 09, 2017

Chivas Regal is one of the most popular and successful Scotch whisky brands worldwide. Brief...

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What About Vermouth? Brief History, Use & Care

What About Vermouth? History, Use & Care | www.drinks.ng

Most of us recognise vermouth as that stuff they put in our whiskey so we get a Manhattan. Most of us really don’t know what it is and why it’s important to the overall flavour of our drinks. It’s common to find that people think vermouth is a spirit, but it is actually a fortified wine. Vermouths are aromatised, fortified wines flavoured with botanicals such as roots, seeds barks, flowers, herbs and spices.

Red (sweet) vermouth, which originally hails from Italy, and white (dry) vermouth, which first appeared in France are the two main varieties of vermouth. However, manufacturers have provided other styles like extra-dry white, sweet white, red, amber and rosé. The interest in aromatised wine and aperitifs continues to grow and so do the number of styles in vermouth. Some manufacturers are even charging into somewhat unexpected territory with heady, all-new vermouths like mint-apple.

To appreciate vermouth, you need sip it solo but very few bars go down this rabbit hole. You can educate yourself here though. Vermouth is much more than a snazzy cocktail ingredient. It’s a cocktail unto itself. A glass of the legendary Punt e Mes over ice with an orange peel is a great start. This sweet vermouth has more bitterness than others and that’s what helps it stand alone.

History of Vermouth

Like amaro, vermouth was first marketed for medical purposes but went on to be a popular aperitif, served solo or with a twist of citrus. Infusing wine with a variety of herbs has been standard practice for centuries spanning continents as it is believed to have begun in China as early as the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties (1250-1000BC). The modern iteration we know today was born around 1786 in Italy and rose to popularity soon after in England and France. Vermouth’s own lineage began in the mid-1600s, when a subset of Germans began spiking their wine with wormwood because it was apparently effective at treating stomach disorders and intestinal parasites, creating “wermwut”.

A later version of the libation contained other botanical ingredients combined with wormwood and competing brands developed soon after in eastern and south-eastern France contained their own, proprietary mix of ingredients, including herbs, roots, and spices. The name “vermouth” stuck despite the fact that the wine doesn’t contain wormwood anymore.

Prior to Prohibition in the United States, vermouth was so popular that its sales outnumbered table wine. Today, vermouth has found home at bars all over the world now that it’s associated with some of history’s most iconic cocktails.

How to store Vermouth

We bet you have an old-as-the-hills bottle of vermouth in the house somewhere. Our advice? Throw it out. Vermouth keeps considerably longer than table wine, but you don’t want to keep one that’s been open around for more than a couple of months. Plus it’s highly recommend you keep your bottle refrigerated for as long as it’s available.

What About Vermouth? History, Use & Care | www.drinks.ng

What About Vermouth? Brief History, Use & Care

Posted on 02 09, 2017

Most of us recognise vermouth as that stuff they put in our whiskey so we...

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The Types of Champagne: Brief History & Classification

Types of Champagne: Brief History & Classification | www.drinks.ng

Champagne is often part of our world as adults. Bottles of champagne are used to celebrate an occasion, make a toast, to please a date, to entertain friends or just to enjoy an evening alone with our thoughts. Brands like Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Laurent –Perrier, G.H. Mumm and Nicolas Feuillatte aren’t giants in the adult beverage industry because they are lucky. It’s because of what they offer. Wine lovers among you probably know a lot about champagne, but how much do you really know? What do you know about its different types?

Where’s Champagne from?

Champagne is the name given to sparkling wine made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. This region follows strict rules that demand precise vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes from precise parcels in the Champagne appellation, unique pressing regimes, and secondary fermentation of wine in the bottle to allow carbonation.

Unfortunately, “Champagne” is used a considerable lot as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in a good number of countries, it is illegal to officially label a product Champagne unless it’s coming from the Champagne region and made under the rules of the appellation.

Black pinot noir, black pinot meunier and white chardonnay are the primary grapes used in Champagne production. As the appellation law states, only grapes grown in line with the appellation rules in specific plots inside the appellation are used to produce Champagne.

Champagne grew to be associated with nobility between the 17th and 19th century and the leading manufacturers in that period took advantage of the perception through packaging and advertising, eventually appealing to the emerging middle class.

Classifications of Champagne

Champagne has been classified into different types varying wildly in taste and price.  We have non-vintage champagne, vintage champagne, rose champagne, prestige cuvée, demi-sec champagne, recently disgorged, blanc de blancs champagne, and blanc de noirs champagne.

Non-vintage champagnes

These are the most widely available champagnes as they account for 90% of all champagnes produced. Non-vintage champagnes are those that are blended from a variety of up to forty different wines from different years. Champagne producers usually keep 20% of their harvest every year to accommodate future blends.

Vintage champagnes

Vintage champagnes are created from grapes harvested in a particular year. Not all years are deemed vintage and the decision on whether it’s vintage or not is made by individual houses.

Rose champagnes

Rose champagnes are created by one of two methods; Champagne producers either add a small amount of Pinot Noir to the champagne or press the grapes slower so that the skin colours the wine. Also called pink champagne, rose champagne is perceived as romantic because of its colouration.

Prestige cuvée

These are vintage champagnes from the very best vineyards. Their grapes are from a specific year but are the best grapes among the handpicked bunch.

Demi-sec champagnes

These are medium dry, medium sweet champagnes. In a bid to cater for all tastes, it is one of the countless champagne blends created.

Recently disgorged champagnes

These are called so because after fermentation, the sediment is removed just before sale. Lovers of recently disgorged champagnes believe that the champagne maintains its freshness and gains from the additional maturation in the bottle.

Blanc de Blancs champagnes

Unlike other champagnes made with three grapes including chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, blanc de blancs champagnes use only white chardonnay grapes.

Blanc de noirs champagnes

These are champagnes made only from pinot noir and/or pinot meunier red grapes. They have a slight salmon or pink tint.

Types of Champagne: Brief History & Classification | www.drinks.ng

The Types of Champagne: Brief History & Classification

Posted on 02 09, 2017

Champagne is often part of our world as adults. Bottles of champagne are used to...

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10 Things You Need to Know About Rum

10 Things You Need to Know About Rum | www.drinks.ng

Things to Know About Rum

“There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.” – Lord Byron

Rum is a timeless, unique alcoholic beverage with a rich history and to appreciate while you drink, it’s only right that you get to know a little more about it.

Rum – fermented and distilled from sugarcane by-products or sugarcane juice, then commonly aged in oak barrels – is mainly produced in the Caribbean and Latin America but also in South Africa, India, Scotland, United States and many other countries. It is an impressively diverse spirit ranging from light and dry to dark and rich, thus, still embraced by a curious cocktail culture today. The origin and nature of rum is well-known and easy to access on the internet, so we will delve into these lesser-known facts instead.

They have no classification system

Unlike cognac and bourbon, rum is not regulated by any sort of strict definitive classification system. With rum, individual countries have their own standards. This means that any spirit starting with some form of sugarcane can be referred to as rum. Consequently, rums can range from clear and gin-like to dark molasses-heavy brews.

Rums are categorised by colour

If you absolutely need to differentiate between rums, it’s important to note that they are commonly categorised by colour. These are the light or white rums, gold or amber rums, dark rums and black rums. Light rums are the mildest. They are sweet and generally have little flavour. Gold and amber rums have spent more time in some sort of barrel than the light rums and have a stronger taste. Dark rums have been barrel or cask-caged for even longer and taste a little like whisky while black rums are as rich as Guinness.

Rums have specific terms for identification

Similar to when identifying French wine labels, rum can be identified by specific terms. Rums identified as “rhum industriel” are those which were made from sugarcane by-products while the ones identified as “rhum agricole” are seasonal rums made from the juice of fresh sugarcane.

That your rum is sweet isn’t necessarily a bad thing

Rum is sweet or dry depending on three factors: the duration of its aging process, the type of barrel it aged in and the form of sugarcane used. The degree of dryness with rums in general is significantly diverse. Common dry rums like Brugal Extra Dry are no better than sweet rums like the vanilla-scented Old Monk 7 Year from India. They were just made differently.

Rum is your best bet against a hangover

Even in Barbados, the birthplace of rum where it’s been distilled since 1703, people fear rum-induced hangovers so much that most resort to vodka. In reality, all light-coloured spirits including vodka, gin or filtered rum is your best bet for pain prevention. You aren’t more prone to a hangover with rum, and besides, a glass of water and banana before bed won’t hurt.


Rum has medicinal properties

Rum was especially useful for armies at war until a couple of decades ago. The British Army for instance, gave rations of rum it called “tot o’ rum” to its sailors because a mixture of rum and wine kept the risk of scurvy at bay. It was the added dash of lime to the mix that actually prevented scurvy.

Rum owes a great deal to advancements in air-conditioning and tourism

The latter half of the 20th century saw the development of modern-day air-conditioning, and this made it possible for large numbers of people to migrate to warmer regions in the world where rum remained the dominant spirit. Naturally, the massive increase in tourists in such regions led to a rise in rum’s popularity.

Rum was at the core of the slavery triangle

From the late 16th to the early 19th century, rum was at the epicentre of the slavery triangle. The first leg of the triangle had to do with the shipment of molasses to New England from the Caribbean to produce rum. After this, came the shipment of rum to West Africa to trade for slaves and the last leg of the triangle involved the passage of slave ships to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean and South America where slaves were put to work in the sugarcane fields.

The most expensive rum is nameless

The most expensive rum in the world doesn’t have a specific name but makes up for that in price. This rum was bottled in the 1940s by the Jamaican distillers Wray and Nephew, and contains blends that experts say date as far back as 1915. The bottle has been displayed at Europe’s first Rum Festival (RumFest) and there are only four such bottles remaining in the world! These bottles are valued at a whopping $40,000 each.

Admiral Nelson was preserved in rum

The infamous Admiral Nelson who died in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar is said to have had his body preserved in a cask of rum before finally being laid to rest. As a result of this incident, rum was referred to as “Nelson’s blood” for a while. It is not known for sure whether the cask was full or mostly empty.

10 Things You Need to Know About Rum | www.drinks.ng

10 Things You Need to Know About Rum

Posted on 02 08, 2017

Things to Know About Rum "There's naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as...

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Nigerian Breweries Milestones

Nigerian Breweries | www.drinks.ng

Nigerian Breweries Milestones

nigerian breweries history

1946- UAC and Heineken sign a contract for incorporation of Nigerian Brewery limited in Lagos

1949- First bottle of Star Lager beer rolls off the bottling line

1951- Nigerian Breweries introduces the cartoon character, ‘Sammy Sparkle’.

1955- Work commences on the Aba Brewery.

1957-  First bottle of Star lager rolls off the Aba plant.

1957- Nigerian Brewery Limited becomes Nigerian Breweries Limited.

1960- Expansion work on Lagos Brewery is completed.

1962- Nigerian Breweries voluntarily offers 10 per cent of its shares to Nigerians

1964- Nigerian Breweries obtains a franchise from Schweppes International to bottle its wide range of products.

1964- Kaduna Brewery is commissioned.

1966- Another Franchise is obtained at L. Rose & co limited to produce a range of squash drinks in Nigeria.

1967- Nigerian Breweries sets up a public relations unit to project a positive image of the company.

1970- Gulder is born.

1971- Nigerian Breweries’ Training School is established in Iganmu, Lagos.

1976- Maltina is born.

1977- The importation of Heineken beer is stopped.

1981- The Company registers the sales of Green Sands Shandy.

1982- Ibadan Brewery is commissioned.

1983- Nigerian Breweries enters into an agreement with Guinness (Nigeria) to promote the search for the cultivation of barley around Lake Chad basin.

1985- Rex Beer is introduced.

1990- Star news and NBL News, both company magazines, are changed respectively to Nibrew News after the company becomes Nigerian Breweries Plc.
1992- Legend Extra stout is born.
1994- Amstel Malta is born.
1996- Maltina Fruity Variants (Strawberry and Exotic Fruits) officially launched.
1997- Crush orange drink is added to the company’s stable.
1998- Nigerian Breweries wins the Diamond Award for Excellence in recognition of the outstanding performance in the bottling and marketing of the Schweppes range of carbonated soft drinks in Nigeria.
1999- Heineken introduces the Information System for Heineken Africa (ISHA), a high-speed upgrade of the existing Lotus Notes, predicated on a Wide Area Network (WAN) infrastructure.
1999- Nigerian Breweries enters into a joint venture partnership with the French company, Perrier Vittel MT. (November).
2000- Nigerian Breweries becomes a subsidiary of Heineken.

2000-Heineken takes over control of Nigerian Breweries.

2000- Maltina with Pineapple is launched (July); Wins for the second time, the Africa Beer Award.

2000- Foundation stone of Ama Brewery is laid by Governor Chimaroke nnamani, in Umuzeani Vilage, Udi Local Governement Area of Enugu State.

2001 -Nigerian Breweries sells its Schweppes franchise to the Nigerian Bottling Company.

2001 –Wins for the second time, the PEARL (Performance, Earnings and Returns Leadership) Award.

2001 –Named ‘Quoted Company of the Year’ by the Nigerian Stock Exchange

2001-Wins Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Merit Award; Leadership Watch Achievement Award.

2001-Wins Nigerian Conservation Award; the Company bids farewell to soft drinks Business.

2002 -The new bottling line at Ibadan Brewery is commissioned.

2002- Nigerian Breweries team wins the Heineken World’s Business Challenge Award.

2003- President Obasanjo commissions Ama Brewery.

2004- Ama brewery produces its first Heineken beer in small 33cl. Bottles.

2004- The large Heineken 60cl. Bottle is introduced.

2004- Amstel Malta Box Office reality show is introduced.

2005-  Nigerian Breweries wins the trophy for Best Cost-Saving Company in the Heineken Group. Maltina Sip-It is launched.

2006- Enters into an agreement with the management of the National Arts Theatre in Lagos to refurbish part of its facilities.
2006- Gulder Max is introduced.

2006- Gulder Draught is introduced.


2006-Nigerian Breweries clocks 60.


2007- The Company started producing some of its brands in Cans.


2011- Sona Breweries was acquired bringing brand portfolio to 11.


2014- Nigerian Breweries merges with Consolidated Breweries; bringing brand portfolio to 19 brands and  SKU’s to 59.


2014- Ace Passion launched.


2015- Ace Roots launched.



Nigerian Breweries | www.drinks.ng

Nigerian Breweries Milestones

Posted on 07 28, 2016

Nigerian Breweries Milestones 1946- UAC and Heineken sign a contract for incorporation of Nigerian Brewery...

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