Tea Party winners: Janet Grunst's Amazon Gift card winner is: Anne Payne, her book winner is: Sydney Anderson, Elaine Marie Cooper's winner is Karen Hadley, Carrie Fancett Pagels' Tea Cup Courtship Collection goes to: Marilyn Ridgeway , Vicki McCollum's winners are:, Gabrielle Meyer's winners are:
Friday, May 25, 2012
Tippling, Toasting, and Quaffing in Colonial Times by Susan F. Craft
By Susan F. Craft
Most colonial Americans thought that alcohol was beneficial to one’s health, aiding digestion, strengthening the weak, keeping one warm, improving one’s outlook on the world, and enlivening social events such as weddings, christenings, election-day gatherings, and funerals.
Americans brought with them from the Old World the suspicion that water could make you sick. They believed alcohol cured some sicknesses. Whiskey was taken for colic and laryngitis. Hot brandy punch addressed cholera. Rum-soaked cherries helped with a cold. Pregnant women and women in labor were often given a shot of whiskey to ease their pain.
Colonial Americans started their day with a pick-me-up, enjoyed a midmorning whistle wetter, with libations at luncheon, in the afternoon, and at supper, imbibed either at home or at a local tavern.
Drinking was everywhere - at work, in the fields, in shops, at sea, and in military camps. College students drank malted beverages. Harvard had its own brewery, and in 1639, when the school didn’t supply enough beer, President Nathaniel Eaton lost his job.
The Founding Fathers also enjoyed a glass or two. Each day, John Adams had a draft of hard cider. Thomas Jefferson imported fine wines from France. Samuel Adams managed his father's brewery for a time. John Hancock was accused of smuggling wine. Patrick Henry worked as a bartender and served home brew to guests.
The names of the variety of beverages included, Syllabub (see recipe below), Flip, Toddy, Rattle-Skull, Whistle Belly, Stonewall, Bogus, Blackstrap, Bombo, and Mimbo. Most preferred cider and beer--cider made from apples, and beer made from corn, wheat, oats, persimmons, and green cornstalks. Madeira, imported from the Portuguese island, became popular in the 1750s when brandy was added to it. Peach brandy, a Southern specialty, was also popular, as was applejack, which came from distilling cider. Rum was king of the colonies before the Revolutionary War. It was made from molasses imported from Caribbean sugar plantations. Sometimes the raw material arrived legally; sometimes it was smuggled.
Rum, Sugar, Slave trade
By 1770, the colonies had more than 140 rum distilleries, making about 4.8 million gallons annually. That was on top of the 3.78 million gallons imported each year. Production was concentrated in the Northeast.
Some people tried growing grapes for wine, but failed as the European root cuttings succumbed to disease and weather. Vintners in the Southern states learned to cultivate indigenous grapes such as muscadines and scuppernongs.
Early Americans really did not care what anybody thought about their love of alcohol. As a Georgian wrote: "If I take a settler after my coffee, a cooler at nine, a bracer at ten, a whetter at eleven and two or three stiffners during the forenoon, who has any right to complain?"
Benjamin Franklin came up with over 200 names for being drunk.
But not everyone approved of drinking. As early as 1622, the Virginia Company of London complained to Governor Francis Wyatt at Jamestown that drinking hurt the colony. James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, tried to ban rum. Even though Puritans attacked drunkenness, they saw alcohol as a necessary part of life. Benjamin Franklin called for moderation, writing "nothing is more like a fool than a drunken man." He came up with hundreds of names for drunkenness including -- addled, afflicted, biggy, boozy, busky, buzzey, cherubimical, cracked, and "halfway to Concord," bowz'd, cherry merry, fetter'd, lappy, and mountous. Perhaps you have poetically seen a Flock of Moons, or, more nautically, been Right before the Wind with all your Studding Sails Out. Or perhaps even had a Thump over the Head with Sampson's Jawbone.
In 1790, United States government figures showed that annual per-capita alcohol consumption for everybody over fifteen amounted to thirty-four gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine.
Recipe for Syllabub
The name originated in Elizabethan times and is a combination of the words "sillie" (a French wine that was used in the mixture) and "bub" (old English slang for "bubbling drink").
Recipes for syllabub, a frothy cappuccino-like drink, can be found back to the time of the Tudors who ruledEngland from 1485 until 1603. Earlier recipes contained new milk and cider, with the cows milked directly into an ale pot. Everlasting Syllabub allows for the cream to rise and thicken by letting it stand for several days.
Here’s a recipe from “The First American Cookbook – A Facsimile of “American Cookery,” 1796 by Amelia Simmons.
Take two porringers* of cream and one of white wine, grate the skin of a lemon, take the whites of three eggs, sweeten it to your taste, then whip it with the whisk, take off the froth as it rises and put it into your syllabub glasses or pots, and they are fit for use.
A porringer* was a small dish (4” to 5” diameter and 1 /2” to 3” deep) with a low usually metal bowl with a single and usually flat and pierced handle from which Europeans and colonial Americans ate their gruel or porridge, or other soft foods. Colonial porringers tended to have one handle whereas European ones tend to have two handles on opposite sides, on which the owner's initials were sometimes engraved, and they occasionally came with a lid. Porringers resembled the smaller quaich, a Scottish drinking vessel.
Contemporary syllabub recipes can be for either a drink or a parfait:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white wine
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or to taste)
fresh mint leaves for garnish
lemon slices for garnish
Whip the cream and sugar in a chilled bowl, until the cream begins to thicken. Gradually whip in the white wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Continue to whip until light and fluffy, but not grainy. Cover the mixture and chill until serving time.
Serve in chilled parfait glasses, garnished with a dash of nutmeg, a sprig of mint, and a slice of lemon. Syllabub should be eaten with a small spoon, and savored.
For Syllabub punch
Continue to add white wine to the whipped mixture, until the mixture reaches a drinking consistency.