Ever wonder about the origin of everyday food and beverage expressions?  Here’s a few delicious answers:

mixed drinks origin


Couch Potato, a term coined by Tom Iacino and friends for a group appearing in the Doo-Dah parade of Pasadena, California in 1979 and denoting a person who likes to watch TV sitting on the couch, as inert as a potato on a sofa.


The Mixed Drinks paragraph is an excerpt from the book  ‘Fruitcakes & Couch Potatoes’  by Christine Ammer.  The term mixed drink has been used since about 1940 for any alcoholic drink that combines two or more ingredients. An older name for mixed drink is cocktail, whose source has been a matter of speculation for some years. About the only thing is certain is that the word originated in America.about 1800. There are numerous theories about its derivation, ranging from the African Creole dialect kaktel for ‘scorpion’ ( because the drink’s bite is very sharp ), to the Aztec princess’s name Xochitl, who brought some cactus juice to the emperor, to tonic and bitters and served in a coquetier, or egg cup.  And  there are those stories, mixtures fed to fighting cocks, a racehorse whose tail is “cocked”, and cock tailing. liquor remnants thrown together in a large vat and sold together for a song. Whichever the true origin, the word cocktail has made its way into numerous other languages, including French, Russian and Japanese. It has given rise to the cocktail hour, cocktail napkins, cocktail aprons, cocktail lounge and cocktail dress. The word cocktail also has been extended to certain foods that are served as the appetizer at  dinner party. One of the best-known mixed drinks is the martini, originally a mixture of gin and dry vermouth, graced with an olive. Although the martini’s name has not been directly transferred to other items, it acquired certain connotations. It came to imply urbane sophistication ( Ian Fleming’s hero, James Bond, always insisted on a particular proportion of gin to vermouth and that it be shaken not stirred ). Martini implies heavy drinking. Thus, the three-martini lunch, a not unusual expense-account meal for American executives in the 1950s and 1960s.


A fruitcake is a cake containing nuts, dried and candied fruits. Nutty as a fruitcake originated in America in the 1920s. Nutty was a slang for crazy; a nut was a crazy person. Not everyone likes fruitcakes and the cake is  made with plenty of nuts.


‘Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die’ or ‘Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.’  are  biblical sayings. Many variants phrases have been used for centuries.  Today’s “Eat, drink, be merry” phrase is understood as ‘enjoy yourself at the party’.