National Cocktail Day on March 24 each year celebrates the tasty alcoholic drinks we have come to know and love.
Cocktails remind us of vacations on sandy beaches, relaxing pool-side lounges, or just Friday night out with the girls. Speaking of, did you know that even though cocktails are now often referred to as ‘girly drinks,’ it used to be frowned upon for women to drink them?
On National Cocktail Day, we celebrate the unique concoctions that remind us of good times.
History of National Cocktail Day
National Cocktail Day was created by holidaymaker Jace Shoemaker-Galloway as a fun day to celebrate a fun drink.
Cocktails were traditionally a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters, and some mixed drinks today still conform to this, such as the Old Fashioned Whiskey cocktail, the Sazerac cocktail, and the Manhattan cocktail.
Many people believe that cocktails originated in the U.S. While this is partly true, cocktails were actually inspired by British punches from the 18th century. British punches were big bowls of spirits mixed with fruit juice, spice, and other flavors.
No one is exactly sure who first created cocktails, but the world is more than grateful to them. What is known is that by the 1860s, it started gaining popularity. Cocktails became especially popular after alcohol was prohibited in the United States from 1920 to 1933 ironically.
Speakeasies began to sell inferior liquor because it was easier to produce illicitly. Then they started adding honey, fruit juice, and other flavorings to mask the foul taste of this liquor, enabling customers to drink faster, which was very important in case of a raid.
The Industrial Age made a major contribution to the evolution of cocktails with the production of ice. Before the Industrial Age, there was no effective way to make ice blocks and keep them from melting.
In the 90s, a group of bartenders at New York’s famous Rainbow Room brought back classic cocktail culture and followed strict quality standards. Today, there is a substantive cocktail culture in the art of mixology, which draws on traditional cocktails, but uses novel ingredients and complex flavors.
National Cocktail Day timeline
The first written mention of a cocktail as a beverage appears in a magazine, “The Famer’s Cabinet.”
The cocktail was first defined as an alcoholic beverage in a newspaper, “The Balance, and Columbian Repository” in Hudson, New York.
Jerry Thomas, the father of American mixology, shares 10 cocktail recipes in his bartenders’ guide, “How to Mix Drinks; or, The Bon Vivant’s Companion.”
In Missouri, Clara Bell Walsh (or Mrs. Julius Walsh) invites 50 friends to her house on Sunday at high noon and coins it as a ‘cocktail party.’
National Cocktail Day FAQs
Is there a National Drink Day?
While there is not a single National Drink Day, there are many holidays celebrating drinks. Some examples are National Drink Beer Day, National Rum Day, National Wine Day, National Irish Coffee Day, National Vodka Day, and National Cocktail Day, among many others.
What is the most popular cocktail in the U.S.?
The most popular cocktail in the U.S. is the Margarita. It ranks top in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Tampa. However, in Chicago, the Old Fashioned tops the list. The Margarita is most popular in the afternoon and evening.
Does the U.S. have a national cocktail?
While the U.S. does not have a national cocktail as Canada does, it has a national spirit. Bourbon whiskey was proclaimed the U.S. National Spirit by an act of Congress in 1964.
National Cocktail Day Activities
Make a cocktail
On National Cocktail Day, you can create your cocktail from any of the hundreds of recipes available online. Even better, you can test your creativity by coming up with your very own cocktail recipe.
Throw a cocktail party
Gather some of your closest friends and throw the most fabulous cocktail party. Cocktail parties are notoriously great for feel-good times with friends.
Appreciate a bartender
We can’t all be master mixologists. On National Cocktail Day, take the time to appreciate your favorite bartender. You could write them a thoughtful note, get them a nice gift, or leave them an extra big tip.
5 Crazy Facts About Cocktails
Ernest Hemingway had a recipe
Hemingway invented his cocktail called ‘Absinthe and Champagne’ or ‘Death in The Afternoon.’
There’s one with a toe
The Sourtoe Cocktail, which can be found in Yukon, Canada, reputably has a real human toe in it.
Stirred, not shaken
Martini cocktails are traditionally stirred, not shaken, despite how James Bond likes to take his.
Drink a cocktail, get some Chinese wisdom
Cocktail umbrellas traditionally contain hidden scrolls of Chinese newspapers, which you can read like fortune cookies.
A drug or a drink?
Some cocktails can help heal or ease certain diseases, like the Atomic Cocktail, which can cure minor fevers, headaches, and depression.
Why We Love National Cocktail Day
We love the tasty buzz
Alcohol is notoriously bitter, but cocktails break the mold. You can have all kinds of fruity wonderfulness when you get your buzz on with a cocktail. Cocktails make you feel good with drinks that taste good.
It lets us get our party on
On National Cocktail Day, every hour is cocktail hour (don’t tell the boss). National Cocktail Day is all about having good times with wonderful people. When you have a cocktail in your hand, you can let your hair down and truly have fun.
Variety is the spice of life
One of the greatest things about cocktails is that there are so many choices. Although the International Bartender Association only recognizes 77 cocktails, there are at least 300 different cocktail recipes in the world. With cocktails, there are so many options to choose from and you can enjoy the true joy of variety in life.
National Cocktail Day dates