The History Behind Cocktail Hour
Yes, The Cocktail Does Have it’s Own Hour
While the American’s were busy fighting prohibition in the 1920’s, the Brit’s were busy moving the clock back. Perhaps not so surprisingly from the country that invented the Gin and Tonic.
You see, while everyone was busy working their office jobs in Gatsby-esque London, the leisurely British aristocracy did not. Yes, some were writers, and may have worked “from home”, but most British aristocracy did no such thing. There was afternoon tea and crumpets, to keep you satisfied until dinner served at 7:00 PM.
There were also the young British men that would take a young lady out for dinner. He would take this young lady to dinner, soften her with wine, and then while thinking about taking her back to his flat, she would remember they were invited to a party, and could not disappoint. The gentleman graciously agreed, and off to the party they would go. Once you have arrived at said party, the time is 9:00 PM, perfect British social hour. The party hosts are also serving alcohol, and two hours later, a gentleman takes his date home, only to say “Good Evening”.
The wealthy British realized what they really needed was a socially acceptable reason to start drinking earlier. They were not finding tea a great way to end a long day (who would?). What they were looking for was about ninety minutes, at which alcohol was served, but not much food. The leisurely, wealthy British found this to be a great way to end the day, and soon realized it wasn’t bad for business either. Regardless of your social status, inebriation is very democratic, so barriers broke down, Inhibitions were diluted, and deals were made. Drinking at the dinner table was acceptable, but not the place to do business or let one’s inhibitions become diluted.
Well…. It did not take long for this to reach American Aristocracy, and by the 1950’s almost every man in America would come home from a long day at work, and reach for his high ball glass with a few ice cubes, and something to pour that would take the edge off.
History really isn’t about where it originated, but how we honor and carry it today, and in our present lives. So…. Cheers! Enjoy your cocktail at the end of a long day, and relax.
I hope to explore the art of the cocktail and its traditions in all forms in this blog, and I hope you'll join me for the ride. #Cocktailhour
Here are a few classic cocktails made right at the Tavern at the Admiral: