Bluemont Hotel

A History of Cocktails

A History of Cocktails

You know we love a good well-crafted cocktail at the Bluemont Lounge. When you think of a “cocktail”, what’s the first type of drink that comes to mind? Maybe it’s a Manhattan, Old Fashioned or a Gin Martini. Well, did you know that there was a time in the United States were these cocktails were only served in underground speakeasies? 

The idea of a cocktail was completely lost during the Prohibition period and as soon as Prohibition ended, they became all the rage. With new Mixology bars popping up all over big cities, bartending in our modern era has taken on many characteristics from the Father of Mixology himself, William Schmidt.  Throughout Schmidt’s 1891 book, The Flowing Bowl, you’ll find thousands of mixology recipes with several unique  ingredients each. Some of his cocktail recipes include over 10 ingredients! Utilizing elaborate garnishes, liquors and more – the father of the cocktail has inspired many of today’s bartenders to develop sensationally delicious drinks for all to enjoy! 

The Story Behind Some of Your Favorite Cocktails 

Irish Coffee

The Irish Coffee is a very popular drink that many enjoy during the evenings with dessert. The blend of coffee, Baileys and whiskey is a well-known cocktail across the world. Back in 1943, the first Irish coffee was created by Joe Sheridan. Sheridan was preparing hot food and drinks for passengers who were braving the cold airs during a Pan Am flying boat flight. He came up with the idea to add some delicious Irish whiskey to their hot coffees and top with pouring cream in order to warm the passengers. He called it “Irish Coffee” due to the use of Irish whiskey, while the actual coffee is said to be Brazilian. 


The history of this James Bond favorite isn’t altogether too clear but some experts say it dates back to the Gold RUsh of the 1800s in Martinez, California. After striking gold, a miner sat down at a local bar and requested champagne to celebrate. They didn’t have any left so the bartender concocted his own recipe consisting of gin, vermouth, liqueur, slice of lemon and bitters. He coined it the “The Martinez Special” and the miner loved it so much he ordered it again at another bar, where he was instructed on how to make it. In the 1880’s the drink was published in the Bartender’s Manual. 


There are many stories told to describe the creation of this delicious cocktail. The story most often told dates back to the 1880s with Dr. Lain Marshall and a party held at the Manhattan Club in New York City. This party was hosted by Winston Churchill’s mother but many nah sayers believe that Miss Churchill was pregnant during this time, therefore no party was held. The contradicting story is that a man named ‘Black’ invented the drink at the Hoffman House in New York City. Either way, the Manhattan, traditionally made with American rye whiskey, is a staple for all mixologists and a very common drink across the United States.

What’s Your Favorite Cocktail?

At the Bluemont Hotel, we pride ourself on the many delicious cocktail recipes offered at our Lounge. Whether you are gathering with friends before a night out, socializing while watching a sporting event or meeting up with family – we love to welcome our guests in the lounge area or on the rooftop patio!

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