A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink that’s usually served in a short glass. If you have too many cocktails, you may not find your way home.
A cocktail will usually contain some type of hard liquor — such as gin or whiskey — mixed with something else. For example, a screwdriver cocktail is vodka mixed with orange juice. Many cocktails are mixed with some type of fruit juice, which hides the alcohol's taste. The word is also used as an adjective to describe things associated with these popular beverages. You might, for example, buy a new cocktail party dress to wear to an upcoming cocktail party. How smashing!