Next time you're at a party, inventing a brand new cocktail out of whatever you can find in the kitchen, have a think about the first cocktail ever made. According to some historians, it was an improvised concoction of weird and wonderful ingredients too.
In 1586, a fleet of English ships commanded by Sir Francis Drake was stranded near Havana. The ships were full of plundered gold but the crew were too sick to sail, or more importantly, fight. Which was a problem, considering the number of natives that were (rightfully) out for their blood.
According to the legend, Drake took local medicines such as mint (good for stomachs) lime (to treat scurvy), bark from the chuchuhuasi tree soaked in rum (a cure for dysentery), and cane sugar (to make it all taste OK), and mixed it all together. The resulting drink, dubbed El Draque, is credited with curing his sailors who then went on to plunder a few more villages on their way home.
The word 'Cocktail' comes into it because Drake's crew allegedly drank this concoction from a long spoon with a cock tail handle. Sound like a stretch? Most drinking stories are. There is however a striking resemblance between the El Draque and the drink now known as the Mojito. And whoever invented that definitely deserves our respect.
Photo credit: History.com