Claims To 'Inventing The First Cocktail':
1. It was invented by Betsy Flanaghan in 1776, during the American Revolution and was a mix of rum, rye and apple juice. Betsy served this drink to Washington's officers and it was called a cocktail because she dressed it with a rooster's feather.
2. An apothecary called Antoine Amedee Peychaud, invented mixed drinks in New Orleans around 1795. These drinks were made in an egg-cup or coqquetier in French.
English speakers eventually changed this to cocktay and then cocktail. The first known printed use of the word cocktail was in 1803; Farmer's Cabinet (Amherst, New Hampshire, April 28), "drank a glass of cocktail - excellent for the head."
3. The drinks company Bacardi say that the cocktail was invented in Daiquiri, Cuba in 1898 by a mining engineer, Jennings Stockton Cox who mixed Bacardi rum, fresh lime juice and cane sugar.
4. It was made in 1586 by Richard Drake, the first cousin of Sir Francis Drake and was originally medicinal for sick sailors, therefore (as with modern liquid medicines) it was given on a spoon. As the medicine was for sick sailors, the spoon was a large wooden one with a cock's tail handle.
Evidence supporting the theory that the first cocktail was made in 1586:
In 1586 time there was an epidemic on Drakes ships as they sailed towards Havana. A medicinal mix was made from local (tropical ingredients) aguardiente de caña, lime, sugarcane juice and mint. In South America, mint is known as hierbabuena, literally, good herb It was not a cocktail as we know it, a modern cocktail is often judged on its taste, alcohol content, type of spirits uses and other ingredients.
Looking for Sir Francis Drake; Extracts of research by Gail Swanson:
Extracts of this research about Drakes large fleet in 1586 states that there was an intended raid on one last Spanish town (Havana) However, an epidemic onboard his ships and, perhaps, the fortifications he saw at Havana changed his plan. Ref i) Drakes fleet was in no fit condition for any fighting and needed medicine. The epidemic may well have been dysentery and sailors would also have been suffering from or weakened by scurvy. The South America Indians knew a cure for dysentery at that time; it was a drink made from the bark of chuchuhuasi with aguardiente de caña. It is recorded that in 1586, Richard Drake made a medicine using aguardiente de caña, mint, limes and sugarcane juice. Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency, and would have been cured by drinking lime juice. In the 1700's English sailors were called limeys, because of the use of limes in their rations.
It is also recorded that this medicinal mix (subsequently called 'El Draque') was taken during cholera epidemics:
On one occasion, during one of the worst epidemics of cholera to attack the population of Havana, the narrator Ramón de Paula writes: "Every day at eleven o'clock, I consume a little Draque made from aquardiente and I am doing very well."
Identifying the most likely date the medicinal mix was first made:
It is established that in 1586 that Drakes ships had an epidemic on the way to Havana, the Spaniards were well prepared and hoped to defeat Drake, and the fighting would have been fierce. Weakened by an epidemic, Drakes fleet was vulnerable and the sailors urgently needed some kind of medicine It was known that the South American Indians had effective natural medicines. A relatively recent translation records the disappearance of Drakes fleet on June 4th; see appendix.