They say even the ancient Egyptians would oftentimes drink a small amount of alcohol before meals but if you are looking for the origins of the modern ‘cocktail hour’, then the answer will depend on which side of the Atlantic you’re drinking.
Many say that it began in America just before Prohibition, others say it was a way for the English to subtly spite their ‘dry’ cousins. Either way, the term brings to mind, a well-heeled party ‘that begins at half-past five and last about ninety minutes, with alcohol and not too much food’.
Paraphrasing the English writer Alec Waugh aside, the cocktail hour has taken on a new importance as we drink in the time of Coronavirus. While many believe that Cocktail Hour used to provide the aristocracy with a leisurely, yet socially acceptable reason to start drinking earlier, today, it has provided all of us a justification to say ‘it must be 5 o’clock somewhere’.
On the eve of World Cocktail Day, Bacardi wanted to find out how people were enjoying their drinks at home and discovered that more than half (53%) the Brits surveyed believe the cocktail hour has made a comeback in recent weeks, with 7.30pm emerging as the time people are most likely to raise a glass with loved ones.
Further to that, as many as 43% of respondents attempting to perfect cocktails at home since lockdown began. Almost a third (31%) of participants have enjoyed virtual drinks parties with friends as a way of keeping in touch and one in five (21%) have even dressed up for their virtual drinks occasion.
29% of respondents have been dusting off specialist cocktail glasses and 27% are going all out by making use of a shaker ahead of virtual get-togethers. And nearly a third (32%) of these budding mixologists claim they were inspired to try their hand at a cocktail because they are a more interesting alternative to wine and beer.
Joe McCanta, Global Head of Education and Mixology at Bacardi commented, “It’s great to see Brits embracing the ‘cocktail hour’ once more, getting dressed up and enjoying their favourite serves over apps such as Zoom, as the virtual cocktail hour becomes our new normal.”
According to the survey, the Mojito (made with rum, sugar and zesty lime) is the most popular make-at-home cocktail. The classic Pina Colada, made with coconut cream, rum and pineapple came second, with the Californian-born Margarita coming in third place.
Joe McCanta continues, “The Mojito is perfect for celebrating World Cocktail Day – it’s fresh, crisp and one of the best cocktails for ringing in Spring. Alongside Bacardi White Rum, the classic Mojito features fresh mint which is one of the easiest herbs to grow at home while we are in lockdown. Mint will grow in just about any sunny space and doesn’t need a whole lot of fuss. Using home-grown herbs can really make sipping at home feel a little bit more special!”
While the Mojito proves the number one serve, vodka is the spirit of choice for 35% of those surveyed when making cocktails at home, closely followed by gin (33%) and rum (23%).
Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents have shared a virtual toast over a non-alcoholic or low alcohol cocktail** according to the report, with Virgin Pina Coladas, Virgin Mojitos and Virgin Marys topping the poll of favourite non-alcoholic cocktails. Millennials prove the most mindful drinkers as data shows 41% of 25 – 34 year-olds surveyed have raised a low alcohol or non-alcoholic cocktail during virtual drinks.
Top 20 lockdown cocktails
- Pina Colada
- Bloody Mary
- Gin Fizz
- White Russia
- Classic martini cocktail
- Whiskey Sour
- Long Island Iced Tea
- Non-Alcoholic cocktail / mocktail
- Espresso Martini
- Spritz-style cocktail
- Elderflower Fizz
- Moscow Mule
- Tom Collins
- Whiskey Highball
- Cuba Libre
In celebration of World Cocktail Day, Bacardi will inspire the nation to put their mixology skills to the test and raise a glass with a virtual mixology masterclass live on Instagram. Hosted in collaboration with cocktail bar Grind, the free class will provide tips and tricks for perfecting a range of the nation’s favourite lockdown cocktails, using GREY GOOSE vodka, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin, MARTINI vermouth and BACARDI Rum. Tune in to @Grind on Instagram on 13 May.
50 ml BACARDÍ Carta Blanca rum
4 line wedges
12 fresh mint leaves
2 tsp extra fine sugar
25 ml soda water/club soda
Sprig of fresh mint
Take the lime wedges and squeeze them in a glass. Gently press together the limes and sugar
Bruise the mint leaves by clapping them between your palms, rub them on the rim of the glass and drop them in
Next, half fill the glass with crushed ice, add the BACARDÍ Carta Blanca rum and stir
Top with crushed ice, a sprig of mint and club soda
BACARDÍ Pina Colada
50 ml BACARDÍ Carta Blanca rum
35 ml fresh coconut water
25 ml fresh pineapple juice
3-4 chunks fresh pineapple
2tsp caster sugar
Place the pineapple chunks into a cocktail shaker and crush them lightly (using a muddler or bar spoon)
Then pour in the pineapple juice and coconut water and stir it all up to dissolve the sugar before pouring in the BACARDÍ Carta Blanca rum
Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously
Next pour the mix into a tall glass over crushed ice
Garnish with a pineapple slice and leaf
35ml Patrón Reposado tequila
15ml Patrón Citrónge Orange liqueur
20ml Lime juice
Chill a coupe glass. Garnish glass with lime wedge and ½ salt rim. Add all ingredients and ice to a shaker. Shake and strain into glass