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I'm leafing through Hugo Ensslin's foundational Recipes for Mixed Drinks from 1916.

First, note the title.  Not Recipes for Cocktails.  Recipes for Mixed Drinks.

Then, Ensslin goes on to devote separate sections to "Cocktails", "Daisies", "Flips", "Highballs", "Sours", and other categories.

So clearly to Ensslin in 1916, Highballs weren't cocktails.  But neither were Daisies, Sours, and Flips (and many other kinds of mixed drinks).

Now, and for as long as I've been drinking, no one would deny that a Whiskey Sour or a Margarita or a Brandy Flip is a cocktail.  All the categories but Highballs have unquestionably been subsumed into "Cocktails".  They still exist as categories -- but they are subcategories of "Cocktails".

I think the same has to be true of HIghballs.  There was a time when they were considered separate from cocktails.  But now, they must be a subcategory.  There is no reason that anyone has articulated to treat them separately.

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I went to a local crafts fair today and scored 3 vintage coupe glasses for $9 total.  So we enjoyed a Twentieth Century in them in the backyard this afternoon. 1 1/2 oz. gin 3/4 oz. Lil

Today, when I toasted my wife on the 15th anniversary of her death, I couldn't escape the bald fact that I was really in the mood for a Corpse Reviver #2. I WISH it were called something else.

Last night, a Maverick 3/4 oz gin (Beefeater) 3/4 oz Aperol (subbed Cappelletti Aperitivo) 3/4 oz sweetened ginger juice 3/4 oz lemon handful mint Shake over ice, double strain into

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  • 2 weeks later...

Badminton Cup

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 or 5 slices cucumber
  • 5 mint leaves
  • Club soda, to top Mint sprig

Muddle cucumber and mint. Add lime juice, simply syrup, & gin and shake well over ice. Strain into a Collins glass, as seltzer to top.

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On 6/11/2022 at 12:00 AM, Wilfrid said:

But what does he class as cocktails that makes them different from all the other categories?

This key question turned out to be so hard to answer that, after two weeks (I HAVE NO LIFE), I'm just gonna throw up my hands and hand it to you all.

Most of Ensslin's non-"Cocktail" categories are specific styles that make sense in themselves.  A Flip is a Flip, a Highball is a Highball, a Daisy is a Daisy, a Sour is a Sour, a Punch is a Punch, a Smash is a Smash, and so on.   The definitions employed for these categories may have changed from Ensslin's time to ours (and we now consider almost all if not all of them to be subcategories of "Cocktails"), but it's easy to see what his requirements are for each.  So it would all make sense if you could then say that Ensslin must categorize as a "Cocktail" any mixed alcoholic drink that doesn't fit into one of the specific categories.

But no.

The last section of the book is entitled "Miscellaneous Mixed Drinks".  So what keeps them out of the "Cocktail" section?  After two weeks' thought, I can't tell.

Here are a few of each, not quite chosen at random.  See if you can figure out what differentiates a "Cocktail" from a "Miscellaneous".


Humpty Dumpty Cocktail

1/3 Maraschino

2/3 French Vermouth

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.


Liebfraumilch Cocktail

1 jigger Creme de Cacao

1 jigger Cream

Juice of 1 Lime

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.


Harvard Cocktail

1 drink of Brandy

2 dashes Boker Bitters

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve with a twist of lemon peel on top.


Leap Frog

Cube of Ice

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1 jigger El Bart Gin

Split of Ginger Ale

Use Collins glass



After Dinner Special

1/2 Apricot Brandy

1/2 Curacao

Juice and rind of 1 Lime

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.


Lone Heart

1/2 pony Maraschino

1/2 pony Crème Yvette

Top with Cream

Use Collins glass


Mamie Taylor

1 drink Scotch Whiskey or Apple Jack

Juice of 2 Limes

Cube of Ice

Fill up with Ginger Ale

Use Collins glass


Wilson DIstilling Company Special

1 drink El Bart Gin

2 dashes French Vermouth

2 slices Blood Orange

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into Whiskey glass and serve.

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On 6/24/2022 at 10:50 PM, Wilfrid said:

It’s too obvious, but most of those don’t have a liquor base and when they do they have no more than one accenting ingredient, obviously not counting fruit or cream or yogurt if there is yogurt.

Right, but did you look at the Ensslin "Cocktails" I listed?

Your definition would exclude at least a couple that he included.

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