When the mixture of a cocktail is prepared and packaged for commercial purposes other than immediate consumption, it may be subject to regulations. We will then speak of a premix. The mistelles are not cocktails either.
Cocktails spread in the late 18th century in England and the United States. Their consecration came during prohibition in the United States in the 1920s: the addition of another drink masked the taste of poor-quality contraband alcohol.
Until the 1970s, cocktails were mainly made with gin, whiskey and rum, more rarely with vodka. In the early 1980s, vodka was the most popular base for cocktails, often replacing gin.