Bartender, I’d like a macaroni please!

Linda Pinto and Heather Prochnow

We are bartenders. In our longtime experience, we’ve come to notice that a significant portion of the VR patrons get stuck in a rut, constantly ordering the same drinks over and over. It’s not that their preferences aren’t good ones, but sometimes – let’s be honest – they just make bad choices.
Linda is not 21, so naturally she will not be going into bars. Therefore, until December, Heather will be drinking alone for her contribution to this column. For the record, we stress that it is not a good idea to go to bars while underage.
Because we do not support underage bar-goers and fake IDs, we thought we’d get you started with a little history of alcohol and different drinks you might want to try or attempt to make. Eventually, we’ll be heading downtown and trying out local bars’ specialty drinks. Therefore, our goal is to teach students how to expand their palates by tasting new and interesting drinks. After all, there is more to life than just Blatz.
Due to the severe lack of alcohol in this first article (our “virgin” article, if you will), we’ll begin by whetting your palate with a few tales about the history of the word “cocktail.” Although there are many stories about the origin of this word, these three are by far our favorites.
The first story takes place during the Revolutionary War when a group of rowdy soldiers played a joke on the British. One night, American soldiers stole male pheasants from the British camp, and as the story goes it resulted in a wild party. In the cheers and jeers they toasted, “Here’s to the divine liquor which is as delicious to the palate, as the cock’s tails are beautiful to the eye.” With that a French officer shouted, “Vive le cocktail!” and the “cocktail” was born.
Another story from the same time period claims that our nation’s first president can be given credit for the word “cocktail.” General Washington would wear feathers in his hat (hence the song “Yankee Doodle”). As a result, his officers would toast to the “cock’s tail,” referring to Washington. Personally, we’re upset that “macaroni” didn’t stick.
The last story refers to a drink commonly served at cockfights around the same time. Known as “cock’s ale,” the drink was flavored with a mixture of parboiled chicken, raisins, mace and brown sugar and left to ferment for nine days. It’s easy to say that today’s version of the cocktail is much tastier than that not-so-yummy-sounding drink.
We hope these stories help you to appreciate the long history of the name of the drink we enjoy today.