The Chanticleer Society

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What is the Chanticleer Society?

The Chanticleer Society is a world-wide organization of cocktail enthusiasts. It was founded in 2008 to build upon the successful “DrinkBoy Discussion Forum” that was formed in 1999 on MSN Groups. This discussion forum is often credited as being one of the sparks that formed the modern craft cocktail movement.

The History of the Chanticleer Society

by Robert Hess

DrinkBoy.com

Back in 1997 I decided to create one of these new-fangled internet things called a “website” to kick the tires of a technology I was working on at Microsoft. Since I was just dipping my toes into teaching myself about cocktails, I decided that this would be a fun topic to put out there, and DrinkBoy.com was born. DrinkBoy.com was officially launched in January of 1998.

groups.msn.com/DrinkBoy

At one time Microsoft tried taking a stab at social networking and came out with a “group discussion forum” system, I thought that sounded like fun to mess around with, so in August 1999 I created a “DrinkBoy” discussion group, and invited Gary and Mardee Regan to join up, and they invited a few of their friends as well.

This simple little discussion forum quickly turned into an oasis for others around the world who thought they were alone in their enthusiasm for making great drinks and understanding their history. Many point to this as a flashpoint for what would grow into the craft cocktail movement.

The Chanticleer Society

Microsoft shut down their discussion system in February of 2009, knowing this, I had been contemplating what to do with my group. I decided that instead of a discussion group tied directly to my personal DrinkBoy website, I wanted to take this time to create something that had a broader base, in which the members could feel like they were “part of something”, a “Society” of some sort. David Wondrich provided an interesting quote from the February 2, 1843 edition of “The New Orleans Daily Picayune”

"The Sunday Mercury says that if you are at a hotel, and wish to call for a beverage compounded of brandy, sugar, absynthe, bitters and ice, called by the vulgar a cocktail, ask for une queue de chanticleer-it will be an evidence at once of your knowledge of French and of Chesterfield."

This interesting use of the turn “Chanticleer” struck a chord, so I decided to brand my new group as “The Chanticleer Society”. I found a free discussion forum system I could install on a webserver and launched it in late 2008 (November I believe). There was a relatively seamless transition of folks onto the new system, and the conversation continued.

The Chanticleer Society - Part II

Over time however, the popularity of FaceBook and Twitter started to shift folks off regularly checking the Chanticleer Society, and gradually the conversation slowed to a crawl. In January of 2019, I decided it was time to transition from the Chanticleer Society website being a barely functional discussion forum, to being a “Wiki” for recording and providing information specifically for a cocktail audience. I then put more effort into the Chanticleer Society FaceBook group I had started. Then in February 2021, we found out about Clubhouse and got on to check it out. Audrey and I opened up a Chanticleer Society club there and have been doing regular discussion rooms since then.