Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #4 Cocktails

There is something undeniably glamorous and indulgent about sidling up to a bar and ordering a cocktail. Nowadays, the cocktail has become a consumable work of art, thanks to the introduction of boutique liquor, exotic ingredients, and creative mixologists (when did mixologist become a profession?). However, a quick glance into the history of the cocktail reveals more humble beginnings.

Cocktail_WallpaperForget the juices, fruits, and creative touches; there was nothing fussy or fancy about the original cocktail. American magazine The Balance first defined the “cock-tail” as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” The actual origin of the word “cocktail” is debated: some claim that the name refers to the colonial habit of garnishing these drinks with a feather from a rooster tail, while others maintain that the name is derived from the drink’s ability to make one “cock up their tail” like a horse.

Often consumed to clear the head or shake a hangover (hair of the dog, anyone?), the cocktail found a new purpose during Prohibition, when drinks were mixed to disguise the strong taste of the “hooch” that had been smuggled by bootleggers. Mixed drinks such as the Colony Cocktail (2 parts gin, 1 part grapefruit juice, and maraschino cherries) and the Sidecar (1 part cognac, 1 part Cointreau, 1 part lemon juice) soon became popular in speakeasies across America.

One of the earliest modern cocktails was the martini, which traced back to a recipe from 1862 for a drink called “The Martinez,” named for a patron who ordered the drink from San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel on his way to the town of Martinez. The Margarita was said to have been invented in 1941 by a Mexican bartender and named for Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German ambassador and the first person to taste the bartender’s concoction.

After suffering a decrease in popularity during the 1960’s, the cocktail made a comeback in the 80’s. Cocktails soon became the drink of choice for yuppies. And shows such as Sex and the City, in which a Cosmopolitan or two always accompanied the exploits of Carrie Bradshaw and her friends, added to the gaining popularity.

Whatever your poison, be it dry or fruity, shaken or stirred, go ahead and channel your inner Carrie with the cocktail from this month’s chef sponsor!


Meet Steph Legari, the Grilling Gourmet®!

Steph the Grilling Gourmet® is a graduate of the prestigious George Brown College Culinary Management Program. Having worked in many different types of restaurants, Steph discovered his true passion: creating mouthwatering original delights on smokers and grills. Steph loves to share easy techniques that anyone can use and of course, his always-delicious creations.

I love the fact that Capital’s grill is so multi purpose (have you checked out the hidden rotisserie?!). It can be used for appetizers, desserts and even cocktails. How do I get everyone in the BBQ frame of mind? I start off with a few grilled cocktails of course!”

Steph the Grilling Gourmet’s® Grilled Orange Creamsicle Martini

Makes 2 Cocktails

  • 2oz Grand Marnier
  • 1.5oz Grey Goose Vodka
  • 2oz Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Juice Oranges
  • 1 cup of Ice Cubes
  • Cocktail Shaker
  1. Preheat your grill to high.
  2. Cut Oranges in half and place cut side down on preheated grill. Grill until oranges are golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from grill and place on counter until cooled down to room temperature. (Time-saving tip: You can grill all your oranges ahead of time and have them ready at the bar before your guests arrive.
  3. In a cocktail shaker place ice cubes, Grand Marnier, whipping cream, Vodka and the juice of grilled oranges (use a reamer to get every drop) with the zest of 1 of the grilled oranges.
  4. Place lid on cocktail shaker and shake until cocktail is cool, about 10 seconds then poor into martini glass and garnish with a grilled orange slice.
  5. Enjoy and Keep the Fire Hot!

Want to add a little something special? Purchase bar bags with all the ingredients for individual drinks (complete with mini 1oz bottles of Grand Marnier and Vodka) and include a recipe card for your guests to take home.