Cocktail music

Today’s morning name. Lounge music for the cocktail hour.

(#1) DJNTV’s (Disc Jockey News TV) Mobile Music with DJ Jason Jones features mobile DJs from around the country who are playing weddings, schools and bars to find out how and what they play and when they play it.

Step by step.

cocktail. The relevant sense from NOAD:

an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or several spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice, lemonade, or cream

From OED3 (Sept. 2019) on the use of the term (1st cite 1803 from New Hampshire):

There was a gradual transition between the term being used to denote a specific type of mixed drink — essentially a sling … with the addition of bitters — and it being used to refer to any alcoholic mixed drink. Clear references to drinks made with ingredients other than those of the original cocktail can be found from the mid 19th century …, and the transition was substantially complete by the beginning of the 20th century.

As the later generic sense ‘alcoholic mixed drink’ developed, individual types of cocktail were typically distinguished by a particular name. [There are many postings on this blog on particular named cocktails. It’s a colorful area of the lexicon, full of extravagant invention.]

The origin of the word cocktail is disputed, and is clearly complex. Though as I noted in my 2/4/16 posting “Some news not for penises”:

quite often an expression with /kak/ in it has nothing to do with penises

and that includes cocktail. Nevertheless, any occurrence of /kak/ is likely to evoke penises subconsciously, and to trigger snickers in teenage boys. As a result, the term cocktail comes with a slightly racy aura about it.

The social world of cocktails. Cocktails are at the center of a variety of social practices (especially in the US). Including, for example, the cocktail hour, a period of the day devoted to the imbibing of cocktails in the company of friends — either informally in a private setting, or in a conventional public setting in some sort of drinking establishment.

[Digression. I can’t resist quoting a bit of a parody by Bernard DeVoto:

When evening quickens in the street, comes a pause in the day’s occupation that is known as the cocktail hour

taking off from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Between the dark and the daylight
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupation,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

End of digression.]

Then there’s the cocktail party, an informal event of (usually) fixed duration in a private setting. From Wikipedia:

A cocktail party is a party at which cocktails are served.

… A cocktail hour is sometimes used by managers of hotels and restaurants as a means of attracting bar patrons between 4 pm and 6 pm

[the article dates the invention of the cocktail-party

practice to the US in 1917]

… Women who attend a cocktail party may usually wear a cocktail dress. A cocktail hat is sometimes worn as a fashion statement.

Note that for women at least there are cocktail-specific items of apparel.

Next, the cocktail lounge. From NOAD:

noun cocktail lounge: a bar, typically in a hotel, restaurant, or airport, where alcoholic drinks are served.

And then, separately, lounge music. From Wikipedia:

(#2) For a YouTube video; this is the French Cambodian-Chinese actress/model Berenice Lim Marlohe as Severine in the movie Skyfall.

Lounge music is a type of easy listening music popular in the 1950s and 1960s. It may be meant to evoke in the listeners the feeling of being in a place, usually with a tranquil theme, such as a jungle, an island paradise or outer space. The range of lounge music encompasses beautiful music — influenced instrumentals, modern electronica (with chillout, and downtempo influences), while remaining thematically focused on its retro-space-age cultural elements. The earliest type of lounge music appeared during the 1920s and 1930s, and was known as light music. In the 21st century, the term lounge music may also be used to describe the types of music played in hotels (the lounge, the bar), casinos, supermarkets, several restaurants, and piano bars.

Put them together and we get cocktail music: (lounge) music for the cocktail hour.

There are (of course) musicians who specialize in the genre. In this YouTube video you can watch a selection of cocktail music by the ALMA Project wedding band, which performs “jazzy and easy listening songs for cocktails, aperitifs, dinners” (link).


One Response to “Cocktail music”

  1. Rod Williams Says:

    FDR used to hold the “Children’s Hour” every evening in the White House! 🍸

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