The first recorded use of the word cocktail is found in The Morning Post and Gazetteer in London, England on March 20, 1798. But obviously people had been drinking spirits in many constellations a long time before then.
In the 17th century, the most common way of drinking alcohol was straight up or from bowls mixed with sugar, water, fruit, spices, wine and spirits - the so called punches that were adopted in from India by the Englishmen in the early 1600's.
In 1731 James Ashley, the first English celebrity bartender, opens the Sign of the Two Punch Bowls in London where he was serving various punches. He would use the fruits of the season and whatever spices that were available, and he would definitely use gin as the base spirit, since it was in the middle of the Gin Craze and everybody wanted gin.
We have gathered a selection of original recipes with gin from the beginning of the 1700's and up to 1935 where the London Dry Gin styles took over, and the use of the original Old English Gin seemed to be lost in confusion. Please enjoy this historical cocktail journey responsibly!