There are several theories about the origin of this phrase as in meaning a strong drink.

  1. Some have said that it comes from the West African word "kaketal" which means scorpion. Obviously, it would be the sting that the drink gives you which would lead to this conclusion. (A plausible explanation.)
  2. Some have said that drinks were once stirred with rooster tails, and this is where it came from. (That's pretty silly, if you ask me.)
  3. Others have said it has to do with Aztec princesses named "Xoctil." (Not sure how that would apply here.)
  4. The leading contender for the correct theory, it seems to me, is the one Webbie vaguely alludes to down there. Show horses would have their tails bobbed, which would make them look all dapper and jaunty. Thus, they were called "cocktailed" horses.

So, you could take it either of two ways: The kick of the drink would be enough to cock your tail. Or, the effects of the drink would make you all dapper and jaunty.

Also, Cocktail is Doktor Kosmos's second album and first album recorded in English. All of the music was made first with a "very tiny synthesizer" and the lyrics were added later.

Track listing:
01 Do You Remember?
02 Don't Look At Photographs
03 Rocktail (To Elvis)
04 Holiday
05 Porno Person
06 Aspen, Colorado
07 Elevator Bossa
08 Yes It Is Many Times That You Doubt On The Human
09 Streets Of Bronx
10 L.S.A.T.T. (Lazy Sunday Afternoon Table Tennis)
11 Dance Dance Dance
12 Noone At Home
13 Legalize It. Now
14 Funk Off
15 Goodnight
16 Techno-Mania

This album is A1.

A music genre whose name comes from the drink (surprise, surprise).

The genre was born in the middle of the 1950s, grew strong with the increased popularity of home audio and stereo systems especially as it utilized it to the fullest, and started to fade toward the 1960s, only to come back to life every now and then.

The sound is jazzy, but is often somewhat more innovative in its choice of instruments than ordinary jazz. (The theremin is often heard in cocktail, as is the sitar and other "exotic" instruments.) Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the sound is a movement towards tribal music, with bongo drums utilizing the full stereo spectrum.

An incomplete and sure-to-be-revised list of artists crazy enough that they claim to play, or that have been accused of playing, cocktail music:

*) Verified as working as of 2002-05-15. This is not a metanode. The above are examples of artists of the genre for reference purposes only. The indication of existing writeups is purely for your convenience. It is a bonus, not a purpose.

A short visit to Merriam-Webster online dictionary shows us that a cock can also be:

a device (as a faucet or valve) for regulating the flow of a liquid

I can see why that could be the basis for the name.

Additional ideas:

  • The color of a rooster, or being flashy like one.
  • Makes one cocky.
  • The word cocktail appears only around 1806 (M-W) – could it be related to a gun’s cock?

But why dillydally, dawdle, or delay. Let’s go get us some drinks!

Cocktail is an arcade game form-factor. A cocktail machine is a dedicated cabinet that is in the shape of a small table. The table itself will have a glass top, and the monitor will be mounted underneath the glass (facing upwards). You sit down at them rather than stand (like a normal arcade game).

This style of game was most popular in the 1979 to 1983 arcade game era, with most game produced during that time available in a cocktail version. Very few cocktail games were made after the mid 80s, but older cocktails are often converted to newer games (which is why you may sometimes see a NEO GEO or even a Street Fighter 2 cocktail).

Gambling machines (most often Video Poker), will often have a modified cocktail form. That is, they will be installed directly into the surface of a bar (without having their own separate table). This is so the casino can make extra money from customers who are drinking at the bar.

Cocktail tables are very popular among collectors. The main reason is the spouse effect. You see, a standing arcade cabinet, and a cocktail table both take up about the same amount of floor space. But mentally, the cocktail seems much smaller. This is very important if you have a spouse or roommate who doesn't share your enthusiasm for gaming. They say, "You are not bringing that huge thing into my house.". So you can simply counter with "Well how about one of those small table ones honey?". The mental image of cocktails being smaller (combined with the spouse effect), is the main reason that classic cocktail tables sell for hundreds of dollars more than the exact same game in a stand up cabinet.

The first English usage of the word "cocktail" for a drink is from 1806, when it was described as "a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters" and noting that this "renders the heart stout and bold at the same time as it fuddles the head." Throughout the 1800s, the word was limited to this particular kind of mixture, but at that time the world of mixed drinks was very small. The 1862 guide by bartender Jerry Nichol says that the cocktail "is a modern invention, and is generally used on fishing and sporting parties, though some patients exist that it is good in the morning as a tonic." In other words, you would probably not order one in a saloon.

Although they gradually gained acceptance over the latter half of the 19th century, the period where cocktails were most popular was the 1920s, during Prohibition in the United States. Mixed drinks were necessary to cover up the low-quality alcohol that was illegally obtained by speakeasies. Commercial bootleggers did not bother with wine or beer, so it was necessary to make spirits palatable to those who would not normally drink them. During this period the American habit of mixing drinks spread across the Atlantic Ocean, even though there were no prohibition laws outside the U.S., because technology was making it easier to keep ice on hand for those which required them.

A bartender writing after the repeal of Prohibition included some of the concoctions in his guide, but noted that "They are published here as a matter of record and as a mirror in which future Americans may see the follies which the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment produced." After repeal, simpler cocktails such as the martini replaced the elaborate ones in popularity for a few decades, but fashions change and mixed drinks with more ingredients and different tastes have come back since the 1950s.

Sources:
Barr, Andrew. Drink: A Social History of America. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999.
http://dictionary.oed.com
http://www.sasky.com/saskycom/databases/cocktails/categories/

Cock"tail` (?), n.

1.

A beverage made of brandy, whisky, or gin, iced, flavored, and sweetened.

[U. S.]

2. Stock Breeding

A horse, not of pure breed, but having only one eighth or one sixteenth impure blood in his veins.

Darwin.

3.

A mean, half-hearted fellow; a coward.

[Slang, Eng.]

It was in the second affair that poor little Barney showed he was a cocktail. Thackeray.

4. Zool.

A species of rove beetle; -- so called from its habit of elevating the tail.

 

© Webster 1913.

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