Cocktail Kingdom Library

The Evolution of Mixed Drinks: A Timeline

American cocktail culture evolved over time without a plan, involving myriad people, places, and circumstances. Our understanding of how cocktails evolved has required heavy reconstruction work from historians (primarily David Wondrich) examining the writing and other evidence that has survived to the present, and then writing the many chapters worth of stories the evidence implies. In this exhibit, we attempt to model a great many fragmentary stories into a single view “from 10,000 feet” to tie it all together. For a related view, see our timeline of writing exhibit.

This exhibit is interactive:

  • Slide timeline left and right by dragging it or using your device’s scrolling features
  • Click/tap on drink names for more information
  • Switch between different sets of historical context:
1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 Spritz Veneziano (c. 1900, Italy) Spritzer (1840s, Austria) Aperol Spritz (2003, Italy) Cosmopolitan (Toby Cecchini, 1988, New York) Harvey Wallbanger (McKesson Imports, c. 1969 , New York) Bloody Mary (c. 1930s, USA) Caesar (1969, Calgary) Margarita (c. 1929, Mexico) Negroni (Negroni/Scarselli, c. 1912-1920, Italy) Americano (c.1890s, Italy) Sidecar (by 1922, France) White Lady (by 1929, London) Mojito (c. 1920s, Cuba) Caipirinha (by 1856, Brazil) Dry Martini (between 1890-1896, USA) Pisco Sour (by 1924, Lima) Ohio (c. 1910, Germany) Gibson (by 1904, San Francisco) Ward Eight (c. 1905, Boston) Stinger (by 1913, New York) Bronx (c. 1900-1907, New York) Cuba Libre (c. 1900, Cuba) Rob Roy (by 1895, Hoboken, New Jersey) Highball1830s, Scotland Cooler1880s, USA Sangaree 1820s, British colonies Sang-gris1600s, England Daiquiri (Lyman Jr./Cox Jr. et al, c. 1897, Cuba) Manhattan (by 1882, New York) Collin’s Punch (John Collin, 1820s, London) Tom Collins (old tom gin, by mid-1860s, Montreal & Brisbane) John Collins (genever, by mid-1870s, America) Daisy [old school]Frank Haas, c.1873, New York Rickey (Joe Rickey, c.1883-1889, Washington DC) Bamboo (Louis Eppinger, by 1886, San Francisco) Fizzc. 1870-1876, USA Cocktail [americano]from the late 1860s, USA Cocktail [sour]from the 1890s, USA PROHIBITION IN THE USA ICE GRADUALLY BECOMES CHEAP AND UBIQUITOUS IN AMERICAN BARS THROUGH THE DOMESTIC ICE TRADE Cocktail [dessert]from the 1890s, USA Tomato juice cocktailfrom c.1920s, USA [“exotic” drinks] Daisy [new school]from the 1890s, USA Flip1870s, New York Sour (old school)c.1850-1856, USA Pisco Punch (Mrs. Sykes, c. 1856, San Francisco) Swizzle1860s, Caribbean Vermouth Cocktail (by 1868, USA) Gin & Tonic (by 1868, occupied India) Fixc.1850-1856, USA Improved Cocktail (c. 1870-1876, USA) Cobbler1830s, New York Champagne Cocktail (by 1850, California) CrustaJoe Santini, 1850-1855, New Orleans Milk Punch (new school, 1850s, New Orleans) Sherry Cobbler (by 1838, New York) Sherry Flip (by 1874, New York) Cock-Tail/Cocktail [old school]/bittered slingby 1790, USA various practices of combining Stoughton’s with wines and spirits for enjoyment, by 1750s, England & colonies Punchfrom 1600s, occupied India Milk punch (old school)from 1670s, England Egg Nogg (from 1780s, Pennsylvania & New Jersey) iced Mint Julep (by 1807, Virginia) Posset, syllabubfrom 1600s and earlier, Europe Purlfrom 1600s, England hot buttered/spiced rum (from 1700s, colonies) Stoughton’s Stomach Elixir(from 1690, London) Slingby 1785, USA Toddyby 1750s, Scotland Mint julepby 1780s, Virginia Ice Punchby 1780s, Philadelphia Smashby mid-1830s, USA Collinsby mid-1860s, Canada & Australia Pousse Cafe/Chasse Café1780s, Paris Layered pousse cafés1850s, America Sazerac (Wilkinson/Miret, c. 1893, New Orleans) Cafe Brulôt (Jules Alciatore, c. 1895, New Orleans) Jack Rose (c. 1899, New York) Old Fashioned (c. 1888, Chicago) Ramos Gin Fizz (Henry Ramos, c. 1890s, New Orleans) Gin Fizz (by 1876, USA) Sweet Martini by various names (by 1884, USA) Vodka Martini (Smirnoff, c.1935, USA) Zombie (Donn Beach, 1934, Hollywood) French 75 (by 1927, USA) Aviation (Hugo Ensslin, c. 1916, New York) Singapore Sling (by 1910, Singapore) Planter’s Punch (single serving, by 1900, Jamaica) Planter’s Punch (bowl, by 1694, Jamaica) El Presidente (Constante Ribalaigua, c. 1910-1915, Cuba) Rose (Giovanni Mitta, c. 1910, Paris) Combinación (c. 1920s, Madrid) Alexander (by 1914, USA) Irish Coffee (Joe Sheridan, 1945, Ireland) Grasshopper (c. 1946, Midwest USA) Mai Tai (Vic Bergeron, 1944, Oakland) Hurricane Punch (Bob Bergeron?, c. 1939, Miami) Scorpion (1930s, Hawaii) Moscow Mule (Hueblein/Smirnoff, 1942, USA) Piña Colada (c. 1954, Puerto Rico) Blue Hawaii (Harry Yee, 1957, Hawaii) Tequila Sunrise (Lozoff/Rice, c. 1972, California) Tequila Sunrise (Agua Caliente, c. 1930, Tijuana) Lemon Drop (Norman Hobday, c. 1970s, San Francisco) Long Island Iced Tea (Robert Butt, 1972, New York) Appletini (Lola’s Restaurant, c. 1996, Hollywood) Clover Club (c. 1900-1901, Philadelphia) 4 million slaves in the United States 0 slaves in the United States (sort of) 700,000 slaves in the United States lynchings 49 161 1.5 million in Federal incarceration 100,000 in Federal incarceration California gold rush Republic of Texas Railroads developed Systematic eradication of the bison Choctaw Forced Relocation Colorado gold rush Nevada silver rush Civil War Black Hills War Mexican-American War War of 1812 Reconstruction Black Hills gold rush Sexual Revolution McCarthyism “The Progressive Era” Louisiana Purchase (white) women get right to vote in USA Margaret Sanger founds Planned Parenthood Brown v. Board of Education Oral contraceptives Hugh Hefner founds Playboy AIDS first clinically reported Los Angeles riots Barack Obama elected POTUS Stonewall Black Lives Matter Thurgood Marshall appointed to SCOTUS American Colonization Society founded Cotton Gin patented Erie Canal Opens Missouri Compromise William Lloyd Garrison founds The Liberator Texas becomes a state Hawaii annexed Hawaii statehood Watergate Scandal Assassination of Malcolm X Black Panther Party founded crack epidemic Seminole Forced Relocation Creek Forced Relocation Lewis & Clark Expedition Cherokee Forced Relocation Chickasaw Forced Relocation Wounded Knee Massacre Uncle Tom’s Cabin (book) Sojourner Truth escapes slavery Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Harriet Tubman escapes slavery and becomes active Fugitive Slave Act ACLU founded W.E.B. duBois’ The Souls of Black Folks (book) W.E.B. duBois’ Black Reconstruction in America (book) Nation of Islam founded in Detroit Kent State Shootings FBI runs COINTELPRO Albert Hoffman creates LSD Albert Hoffman creates LSD Timothy Leary establishes L.S.D. Equal Rights Amendment introduced ERA ratification fails San Francisco earthquake and fire Plessy v. Ferguson Chinese Exclusion Act The Birth of a Nation (film) NAACP founded Greenwood Massacre Detroit Race Riot Race Riots Japanese Internment Camps Civil Rights Movement Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr. Emmett Till lynched Haitian Revolution Vietnam/American War WW1 Russian Revolution Chinese Civil War Unification of Italy Spanish–American War Great Depression Spanish Civil War WW2 Cuban Revolution Khmer Rouge Regime Canadian Independence first skyscraper electrification begins Bessemer steel process Mexican Independence Congress of Vienna establishes Confederation of German States Unification of Germany Franco-Prussian War Austro-Prussian War CIA-affected Iranian coup d'état India Independence Elizabeth II coronation Cuban Missile Crisis Boeing 707/“jet age” begins Partition of Ottoman Empire George VI coronated failed CIA-affected Indonesian coup CIA-affected Indonesian coup and massacre CIA-affected Chilean coup d'état Islamic Revolution in Iran Smallpox eradicated Berlin Wall falls Cuban Independence Napoleonic Wars French Revolution Irish Famine March Revolution in Germany First Italian War of Independence Second Italian War of Independence Arab–Israeli War Civil War (USA) Mexican-American War War of 1812 “Reconstruction” (USA) McCarthyism “The Gilded Age” “The Progressive Era” AIDS first clinically reported Erie Canal Opens Telegraph patented Wright Bros. first powered flight Watergate Scandal Haitian Revolution Panic of 1907 Panama canal opens Crash of 1929 Black Monday World Wide Web full commercialization of the Internet Kent State Shootings Ford Model T MK-Ultra (CIA mind control program) Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 Dust bowl San Francisco earthquake and fire Iraq War US invasion of Afghanistan Al Qaeda terrorism in USA London bombings Madrid bombings Cold War Apollo 11 Yuri Gagarin orbits Earth Sputnik Korean War ocean liner era development of continuous distillation various obscure early references to “cocktail” in media phylloxera epidemic/wine blight liquor brands begin to emerge world-wide various absinthe bans begin in Europe and America introduction of the coupe Old Tom gin era (England) GE begins selling electric refrigerators Frigidaire invents Freon Waring Blender introduced Schenley Distillers Company founded Studio 54 Midori liqueur launched by Suntory Coco López invented Playboy Club opens in Chicago Mariano Martinez invents frozen Margarita machine Henry Africa’s opens in San Francisco Pure Food and Drug Act Don’s Beachcomber opens in Hollywood Trader Vic’s opens in Oakland Mai Kai opens in Fort Lauderdale Tiki-Ti opens in Los Angeles soda fountain at Tilemmas, in Milwaukee, does “Hawaiian Week” reintroduction of absinthe begins A Tribute to “Professor” Jerry Thomas (Slow Food USA) Tales of the Cocktail IBA founded UKBG founded “dipsomania” coined by C.W. Hufeland “alcoholism” first use by Magnus Huss Alcoholics Anonymous founded Jean Lanfray murders his family in a drunken rage in Commugny, Switzerland James Pimm produces his first fruit cup “mixologist” first appears in print Pullman Car Company begins making rail cars Pernod Fils builds large absinthe distillery in Pontarlier peak soda fountain era decline of soda fountain John Mathews invents soda fountain apparatus Charles Plinth invents soda syphon Delmonico brothers open first restaurant service in New York Schrafft’s begins restaurant chain that caters to unaccompanied women Heublein introduces bottled cocktails Bottled-in-Bond Act Owens Bottle Machine Company automates bottle manufacturing first T.G.I.Fridays opens in New York first T.G.I.Fridays opens in England first T.G.I.Fridays opens in Japan flair bartending fad launched by John Bandy at T.G.I.Fridays in Los Angeles Distillers Corporation Limited/Seagrams founded Martini, Rossi & Sola founded vermouth goes mainstream Ford Model T Interstate Highway System Begun Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Schumann’s Cocktail Bar opens in Munich Temperence movement begins (and never really ends) electrification begins international lake ice export trade era begins in earnest Dug’s Dive and emergence of dive bar
Designed by Martin Doudoroff. Contributions by David Wondrich, Frank Caiafa, Craig Eliason, H. James Lucas, and François Monti. Pointer icons by @sawyerh.