COCKTAILS date back to the 1800s, serving to inject fun into many a night out through the years and it seems that in lockdown, with social lives on hold, many of us became amateur at-home mixologists in a pandemic trend data shows is enduring.


It’s not quite the same?

Restricted to our homes, with bars and restaurants closed, it certainly wasn’t the same, but for those who enjoy a tipple from time-to-time, making cocktails at home was one way of trying to shake things up.


They date to the 1800s?

Cocktails are initially said to have been inspired by British punches, which contained spirits, spices and fruit juices in big bowls, but it is widely accepted that the first official cocktail was the ‘Sazerac’, a blend of whisky, absinthe, bitters and sugar, created in New Orleans in the mid-1800s that remains a favourite today.


It helped it get its name?

So the saying goes as Sazerac was served by its creator, apothecary owner Antoine Peychaud, in an egg cup - a coquetier - which is said to have led to the term ‘cocktail’. The name of the drink comes from Peychaud’s favorite French brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils, although it was later substituted for whisky. 



Spirits giant Diageo - the world’s biggest distiller of Scotch - has revealed its annual operating profit increased by 18 per cent, to nearly £4.4bn, in the year to June, and pointed to cocktails as a key reason. Ewan Andrew, global supply chain and procurement president, said: "We know that people during the pandemic, in particular, discovered their inner mixologist. They were getting used to drinking spirits at home and as the on-licensed premises - the bars, restaurants, the festivals - have come back, some of those trends have stuck and we continue to see it.”


For those of us not quite shaking it up?

Not everyone is up to the standard of even Tom Cruise in 1988’s Cocktail it has to be said, and the number of bars and establishments running cocktail classes to offer insight into the art of mixology has also risen.



For those not quite making it in the mixing department, a jump in the sale of pre-mixed and ready-to-drink cocktails has also been recorded. In the US, for example, pre-mixed cocktails were the fastest growing spirit sale last year, with 42% year-on-year growth to $1.6 bn, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US.


At home?

Drinks group AG Barr - which makes Irn-Bru, cocktail brand Funkin and Rubicon - earlier this year said its data showed Brits were enjoying cocktails in record numbers at home, as well as in bars. The Scots firm said 7.4 million people were indulging in cocktails when they went to a bar, club or restaurant, up 13% compared to before the pandemic. The company also the sale of cocktails for home consumption had increased 44% year-on-year to hit £92m, with best-sellers including mojitos, Long Island iced teas and daiquiris.


In Scotland?

Favourite concoctions include Rob Roys and Flying Scotsman cocktails, with the latter named after the iconic train that it was served upon on its route between London and Edinburgh.