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There are many stories as to the origin of this word. It's use goes back to at least 1806. It may be derived from the French 'coquetier.' meaning egg cup. In New Orleans around 1793, Antoine Amedee Pechaud (inventor of Peychaud bitters) served a mixture of Cognac and his own bitters to customers in his apothecary shop. He served them in egg cups, and the Americans would pronounce 'coquetier' as 'cocktail.'

Another story is that it was a French term, 'coquetel', a drink from the Bordeaux region, and it was introduced to America by French officers during the American Revolution.

It is a drink that will 'cock your tail.'

Several stories connect the name to the feathers of a cock's tail, which would be placed either in a bottle or the individual glasses a drink was served in. The reason the feather was placed there was to toast the winner of a cockfight; or at an inn during the American Revolution to poke fun at Tory neighbor who owned some chickens, a Frenchman toasted "Vive le cocktail."

These are just a few of the stories. There are many more.




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