Are those spirited stories true? Did the original Happy Hour start right here during the Revolutionary War? The answers remain as elusive and intriguing as ghosts from the past, but it's fun to speculate. Liberate your vintage highball glasses from self storage here in Elmsford NY, and prepare to toast the truth about the birthplace of cocktails.
Stirred, Not Shaken
The truth is simple in this case: No one really knows. However, the best story probably comes closest to historical fact. If you were a solider fighting for American independence back in the late 1700s, you knew the nearest taverns for enjoying favorite drinks. One of the most popular libations was a concoction of spirits, bitters, sugar and water. It wasn't shaken. It was stirred with a feathery quill plucked from the tail of a rooster. It was called a cocktail.
Based on True Tales
Some early references to the original highball credit a shortage of wooden spoons for this mixology innovation. However, author James Fenimore Cooper laid out an intriguing hypothesis in his 1821 novel "The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground." He drew his characters from true tales told by Revolutionary War veterans and referenced the Ledger House tavern. Betty Flanagan owned and operated this well-known watering hole where she served up classic cocktails stirred with rooster tail feathers.
Located at a Familiar Intersection
Betty's tavern was the place to unwind in the village of Elmsford. Local mythology notes Betty's habit of pilfering her British neighbor's chickens to feed her fellow patriots. After plucking and baking dinner, she used tail feathers to stir and garnish the drinks that roused revolutionary spirits. Oral histories placed Betty's bar at the corners of Saw Mill River Road and Tarrytown Road. Today, Tarrytown Road becomes Main Street as it travels northwest across town, but it still intersects Saw Mill at the location of what may have been Betty's place. That's part of the lore that you can explore at the Westchester County Historical Society, which just happens to be located on Saw Mill River Road.
Like fine wine, some mysteries become better with age. Betty's cocktail legacy will always hold a place in our hearts if not our history books. When you need a place for extra Happy Hour tools and supplies, put everything away in a nearby climate-controlled storage facility. Safeguard Self Storage always has room for spirited organizing here in Elmsford and all across Westchester County.