The golden age of cocktails

The Golden Age of Cocktails


My grandmother was a flapper in the 1920’s during the golden age of cocktails.

For the uninitiated a flapper was a high spirited your women considered to be behaving badly because she wore short skirts (to the knee), smoked cigarettes, danced at jazz clubs, drank cocktails and generally made Whoope. Back in this era a cocktail referred to an alcoholic drink mixed from a single spirit, flavoured syrup, bubbles and bitters. An wonderful tasting cocktail was referred to as the cats meow or the cats pajamas.

To fully appreciate how far cocktails have advanced we need to go back to 1862 in America where the first published bartender’s guide called “How to Mix Drinks”  included 10 cocktail recipes using bitters to differentiate cocktails from other drinks such as punches and cobblers.

Cocktail parties

Cocktails continued to evolve and gain popularity throughout 1900s, with the term eventually expanding to cover all mixed drinks. In 1917 the term “cocktail party” made it’s way into the vocabulary. The “cocktail party” conjures up scenes of frivolity and decadence well described in the novel The Great Gatsby. Such antics fired up the Puritan movement which led to Prohibition act which made drinking alcohol illegal from 1920–1933.

During prohibition wine and beer were less available. Bootlegging and drinking hooch became epic. The illegal manufacture and distribution of alcohol like gin made liquor-based cocktails more popular due to its accessibility at speakeasies (illicit liquor shop, gin mill or drinking club).

Cocktails and Gangsters

Here is Melbourne we had our own Prohibition stories of brothels and bars, of local gangsters like crime kingpin ‘Squizzy’ Taylor depicted in the TV series Underbelly and lets not forget to mention the glorious Gin Palace. In fact, there are still many subterranean cocktail bars still tucked away in Melbourne city laneways worth discovering. These bars dispense drinks that put the art back into artisanal.

Gin Cocktail Revival

Over the years Gin cocktails has had its ups and downs in popularity but thanks to Bombay Sapphire Gin and professional bartenders reinvigoration of traditional recipes the enjoyment of drinking cocktails has grown and still growing like never before. A thriving cocktail culture has emerged which mixes traditional cocktails with other novel ingredients. Cocktail recipes vary widely across the world, I know this because I make it my job to taste test classic cocktails everywhere I travel. Many websites publish both original recipes and their own interpretations of older and more famous cocktails.

Classic Cocktails

Botanikos classic cocktail recipes honour the traditional versions, and only tweak the recipe by including extra botanical flavour in our simple syrups. There is nothing quite so delicious as enhancing gin cocktails with more botanicals. We like to think that every sip in our cocktails tastes blooming amazing.

Inspired by the retro cocktails mixed at the Eveleigh cocktail bar that I had the good fortune of quaffing at an international women’s day event earlier this month, I would like to shake up a classic Clover Club cocktail for you.

Clover Club Cocktail

Some backstory, the name of this cocktail comes from an actual club. The Clover Club pre-dates Prohibition and takes its name from the Philadelphia men’s club established by lawyers and bankers in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in the 1880s. The clover club cocktail has been described as looking like cotton candy and tasting like raspberry ice cream spiked with gin.

National Cocktail Day

Lets celebrate National Cocktail Day with a classic cocktail made the Botanikos way. Our Clover Club cocktail version is berry pink topped with a light fluffy white foam. The ingredients are in harmony and deliver a balanced flavour. In other words, its just about perfect

If you are craving a cocktail or thinking of hosting or attending a cocktail party why not try out one of our classic cocktail recipes or  perfect your hand at mixing a classic.

Bottoms Up


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