98 Recipes to Catch a Buzz in the Civil War


Birds do it. Bees do it. Even elephants and fleas do it. These creatures have all found out that the consumption of fermented fruit or "spoiled" grains can produce a most enjoyable feeling, at least for a time. It did however take humans some time to get the process organized, seeking out the best sorts of fruits and grains for the purpose. At the same time there was ongoing the parallel process of sorting out the best types of yeast to use on each of the above, since the best yeast for making bread may not be the best strain to use for beer. Indeed, those little creatures (yes, yeasts are technically animals, not plants) are the heroic laborers who do the actual heavy lifting of turning sugar molecules into alcohool. Er, we mean alcohol. Hic! Too mush research on an artitickle is never a bad thing, right?

Ahem. We are historians here, not moralists, so we are not going to get into the pros and cons of alcohol consumption except to note that the same argument was in full swing during the Civil War era. Indeed, the temperance movement--although in semi-suspension during the war years themselves as the women who made up the force of the campaign devoted themselves to war work--was on the rising arc that just a few decades later would lead to Prohibition in the US. We as a people have always been schizof...schzitzzo...er, of two minds about booze. (Hic!)

So we will present the thoughts of a "legendary Southern senator," cited in Dr. Thomas Lowry's classic The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell: Sex in the Civil War*:

Sir, you have asked my stand on the subject of whiskey. Well, if by whiskey you mean that degradation of the noble barley, that burning fluid which sears the throats of the innocent, that vile liquid that sets men to fighting in low saloons, from whence they go forth to beat their wives and children, that liquor the Devil spawns which reddens the eye, coarsens the features, and ages the body beyond its years, then I am against it with all my soul. But, sir, if by whiskey you mean that diadem of the distiller's art, that nimble golden ambrosia which loosens the tongue of the shy, gladdens the heart of the lonely, comforts the afflicted, rescues the snake-bitten, warms the frozen and brings the joys of conviviality to men during their hard-earned moments of relaxation, then I am four-square in favor of whiskey. From these opinions I shall not waver."

*Not of course that we would want to imply any connection between liquor and sex. No, no no no non....or at any rate, that's another article. So without farther ado....start mixing!


1/2 c. gin
1 bottle sparkling Moselle wine
1/2 c. raspberry syrup
1 pineapple
Juice of 2 oranges (about 1/2 c.)

Peel, slice and cup up a ripe pineapple into a glass bowl; add the juice of two oranges, a gill or raspberry syrup, a gill of marachino, a gill of old gin, a bottle of sparkling Mosell, and about a pound of pure ice in shaves; mix, ornament with berries in season, and serve in flat glasses.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, New York, 1862.


3/4 to 1 cup brandy or cognac
1/2 tsp. rum
2 and 1/2 tbs. water
1 tbs. sugar
Several fresh mint leaves

Dissolve one tablespoon of white pulverized sugar in two and one-half tablespoons of water. Take two sprigs of fresh mint and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of mint is extracted; add one wine glass of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaican rum, and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw [across the top of the glass], and you will have a julep that is fit for an emperor.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, New York, 1862.

APPLEJACK (an Unofficial Recipe)

Hard (fermented) apple cider

Take a quantity of hard cider, preferably several gallons at least, and put it in a cold place. Traditionally this is done in a barrel outdoors in wintertime, but improvise as your circumstances require. After it has chilled for several hours (traditionally this is overnight) inspect the barrel and see if a layer of ice has formed on top of the liquid. Remove this ice, as completely as possible, and discard. Repeat process until cider has achieved the desired degree of intoxicating qualities.

The rationale for this process is as follows: Cider, or any other wine, ferments naturally only to a certain point of alcohol content, after which it either turns to vinegar or simply goes bad. In circumstances where mechanical distillation was either impractical, illegal, heavily taxed, or unknown, the procedure above was the only means available to raise the alcohol content of the beverage any further. The results were not elegant brandy such as distillation would have produced, but achieved the desired result of the biggest drunk for the buck.
A recipe for this product has not been found in the Cookbook Editor's collection of material from 1865 or earlier, but we had a reader request for this item and decided to pass along what we know about the matter.


Apple cider, newly made

Take cider which has been made but a day or two, and boil it nearly half away. Skim ot often. It will keep good a long time, and is useful in making mince pies, and to flavor pudding sauce. Bottle it and cork it well. A mould [mold] will form over the top, but will not injure the cider.
From The Young Housekeeper's Friend by Mrs. M. H. Cornelius, Boston, 1863.


Pears (for perry)
Apples (for cider)

As for the making of perry and cider, which are drinks much used in the west parts [of England], and other countries well stored with fruit in this kingdom, you shall know that your perry is made of pears only, and your cider of apples; and for the manner of making thereof, it is done after one fashion, that is to say, after your pears or apples are well picked from the stalks, rottenness and all manner of other filth, you shall put them in the press mill which is made with a millstone running round in a circle, under which you shall crush your pears or apples, and then, straining them through a bag of haircloth, tun up the same [put it in barrels], after it hath been a little settled, into hogsheads [larger barrels], barrels and other close vessels [ones which can be sealed so air can't get in, so fermentation can take place.]
Now after you have pressed all, you shall save that which is within the haircloth bag, and putting it into several vessels, put a pretty quantity of water thereunto, and after it hath stood a day or two, and hath been well stirred together, press it over also again, for this will make a small perry or cider, and must be spent [used] first. Now of your best cider, that which you make of your summer or sweet fruit, you shall call summer or sweet cider or perry, and that you shall spend first also; and that which you make of the winter or hard fruit you shall call winter or sour cider, or perry; and that you shall spend last, for it will endure the longest.
From The English Housewife, etc., by Gervase Markham, 1631


Apple cider or fresh-pressed juice

Note: This must either have yeast added to it or else left open at some point after boiling so that wild yeast can come into contact with it from the air. If the juice was not boiled it would ferment naturally from yeast on the skins of the apples.

Take sweet cider immediately from the press. Strain it through a flannel bag into a tub, and stir into it as much honey as will make it strong enough to bear up an egg. Then boil and skim it, and when the scum ceases to rise, strain it again. When cool, put it into a cask, and set it in a cool cellar till spring. Then bottle it off, and when ripe, it will be found a very pleasant beverage. The cider must be of the very best quality, made entirely from good sound apples.
From Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats by Eliza Leslie, 1838


Juice of apples, preferably fresh from an apple-press

Note: This is not really a recipe as much as a description of a filtration process. However, the fact of the matter is that despite Mr. Bemiss' promises, the cider made by this process WILL ferment since at no point is the fresh juice boiled. Apples naturally contain yeast on their outer peel, which will pass into the juice when they are crushed. The yeast will work on the natural sugars in the juice to form alcohol, just as in any other winemaking process. The "hardness" of the resulting product will depend on how long it is left undisturbed in the barrel to work.

Take the largest cask [barrel] you have on your farm, from a barrel upwards; put a few sticks in the bottom, in the manner that house-wives set a lye case, so as to raise a vacancy of two or three inches from the bottom of the cask; then lay over these sticks either a clean old blanket, or if that not be at hand, a quantity of swindling flax, so as to make a coat of about a quarter of an inch thick, then put in so much cleaned washed sand, from a beach or road, as will cover about six or eight inches in depth of your vessel; pass all your cider from the press through a table cloth, suspended by the corners, which will take out the pummice [residue from the crushed apples] ; pour the liquor gently upon the sand, through which it must be suffered to filter gradually, and as it runs off by a tap inserted in your vessel, in the vacancy made by the sticks at the bottom, it will be found by this easy method, as clear cider can be expected by the most laborious process of refining; and all the mucilaginous matter, which causes the fermentation and souring of cider, will be separated so as to prevent that disagreeable consequence.
From The Dyer's Companion by Elijah Bemmis, 1815.


2 qt. green tea
1/2 pint currant jelly
Juice of 4 lemons

To two quarts of green tea, add half a pint of currant jelly, a little champagne, and the juice of four lemons; sweeten with loaf sugar, and add old spirits of brandy to your taste.
From The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, 1847


1 pineapple

Wash and then pare a pine-apple; if a good size, put the rind into about two quarts of water (in the quantity you must be guided by the size of the pine-apple); cover it for twenty-four hours; then sweeten to your taste, bottle, cork, and put it into the sun for five or six hours, cool it and it is then fit for use.
From The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, 1847


1/2 c. hops
1/2 c. boneset
1 tbs. essence of spruce
Sugar, molasses or other sweetener

Boil a small handful each of hops and boneset for an hour or two, in a pailful of water; strain it, and dilute it with cold water till it is of the right strength. Add a small table-spoonful of essence of spruce [see note below "Maple Beer"], sweeten, ferment and bottle it, like the spring beer.
The essences of hops, checkerberry, ginger, and spruce, put into warm water in suitable proportions, then sweetened, fermented and bottled, make good beer.
From The Young Housekeeper's Friend by Mrs. [M. H. ] Cornelius, 1863.


4 gallons water, boiled
1 qt. maple syrup
1 tbs. essence of spruce [note, we are not sure what this is, how it is made, or where it might be found today]
1 pint homemade yeast, or 2 packets or cakes commercial yeast

To four gallons of boiling water, add one quart of maple syrup and a small table-spoonful of essence of spruce. When it is about milk warm, add a pint of yeast; and when fermented, bottle it. In three days it is fit for use.
From The Young Housekeeper's Friend by Mrs. [M. H. ] Cornelius, 1863.

A Note on "Essence of Spruce": An anonymous contributor tells us that this commodity is made by taking the tender new-growth tips off branches of either spruce or balsam fir trees and soaking them in water or molasses until the flavor is absorbed into the liquid. Strain and save the liquid for use in recipes such as these.


4 qts. water, boiling
1 and 1/2 ounces ginger root
1 oz. cream of tartar
1 lb. brown sugar (or white sugar, optional)
2 lemons, sliced thin
1 cup homemade yeast, or 2 packets or cakes of commercial yeast

Pour four quarts of boiling water upon an ounce and a half of ginger, an ounce of cream of tartar, a pound of clean brown sugar, and two fresh lemons, sliced thin. It should be wrought [left standing] twenty-four hours, with two gills of good yeast, and then bottled. It improves by keeping several weeks, unless the weather is hot, and it is an excellent beverage. If made with loaf instead of brown sugar, the appearance and flavor are still finer.
From The Young Housekeeper's Friend by Mrs. [M. H. ] Cornelius, 1863.


Sugar, 1 unit
Currant juice, 1 unit
Water, 2 units

Use sugar, water and currant juice in these proportions, viz., one quart each of juice and the best of sugar, and two of water. Put the mixture into a tight keg with a faucet. Leave out the bung for two or three weeks, and then put it in loosely, so that if it continues to ferment longer, the keg will not burst. After a few days more put in the bung tight. Let it stand a year, and then draw it off and bottle it.
From The Young Housekeeper's Friend by Mrs. [M. H. ] Cornelius, 1863.


1 handful wintergreen leaves
Sassafras root, cut up
1/2 handful pine buds
1 handful hops [see note]
1 and 1/2 pint molasses
1 to 1 and a half cups homemade yeast [2-3 packets or cakes commercial yeast]

Take a handful of checkerberry (wintergreen), a few sassafras roots cut up, a half a handful of pine-buds, while they are small and gummy, and a small handful of hops. (If dried in the ordinary way. But a small pinch of the hops put up in pound packages by the Shakers is enough.) Put all these into a pail of water over night, and in the morning boil them two or three hours; fill up the kettle when it boils away. Strain it into a jar or firkin that will hold a half a pailful more of water. Stir in a pint and a half of molasses, then add the half pailful of water, and taste it. If not sweet enough add more molasses. It loses the sweetness a little in the process of fermentation, and should therefore be made rather too sweet at first. Add two or three gills of good yeast, set it in a warm place, and let it remain undisturbed till it is fermented. When the top is covered with a thick dark foam, take it off; have ready clean bottles and good corks; pour off the beer into another vessel, so gently as not to disturb the sediment, then bottle it, and set it in a cool place. It will be ready for use in two days. The sediment should be put into a bottle by itself, loosely corked, and kept to ferment the next brewing. From The Young Housekeeper's Friend by Mrs. [M. H. ] Cornelius, 1863.


Hard cider
1 egg
1 and 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 or 3 small lumps ice

Add all the above ingredients except the cider to a large tumbler, fill with cider, and shake well. This is a
splendid drink and is very popular on the Mississippi River. It was General Harrison's favorite beverage.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862

(Note: For many years this recipe has run with this note: "We have no clue who General Harrison was, but are shocked that a general officer would be drinking hard cider anyway. Shocked, we tell you!" Thanks to alert reader J. Henry Flake Jr. of Battery C, 32nd. Georgia Infantry/Artillery reenactment group, we can add that "Harrison was a Major General, Commander of the 32nd Infantry Regiment of Georgia. Just thought I'd toss in the info, I'm a reenactor." Our thanks to Sgt. Flake for the solution to this puzzle!)


1 gallon cold water
1 lb. white sugar
1/2 oz. race ginger
1 lemon, sliced
1 tea-cup homemade yeast (1 packet dry or 1 cake moist commercial yeast.)
Several raisins

1 gallon cold water, 1 lb. white sugar, 1/2 oz. race ginger, 1 sliced lemon, 1 tea-cup yeast. Let it stand all night to ferment; then pour it off without stirring, bottle it, and add 1 raisin to each bottle.
From The Economical Cook-Book by Elizabeth Nicholson, 1865.


1 wine glass Scotch or Irish whiskey
1 piece of lemon peel

Add the above to a tumbler and fill one-half full of boiling water. This is called a Columbia Skin in Boston.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862.

(for a Party of Twenty)

The following claret and champagne cup ought, from its excellence, to be called the nectar of the Czar, as it is so highly appreciated in Russia, where for many years it has enjoyed a high reputation amongst the aristocracy of the Muscovite empire. Proportions:

3 bottles claret [a type of red wine]
2/3 pint Curacao
1 pint sherry
1/2 pint brandy
2 wine glasses [ about 1 cup] raspberry liqueur
3 sliced oranges
1 sliced lemon
A Few Green Balm Sprigs
A Few Borage Sprigs
2 bottles German seltzer water
Pieces of cucumber rind [peel]
3 bottles Soda Water

Stir the above together and sweeten with pounded sugar until it ferments. Let it stand one hour, strain and ice it well. It is then fit for use. Serve in small glasses. For a Champagne Cup, use champagne instead of claret and Creme do Noyau instead of raspberry liqueur.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862.
 (Introductory paragraph by that author. Jerry Thomas spent the Gold Rush years as a bartender in California, where contact with Russians, who after all still owned Alaska, was more common than it was in the eastern United States.)


1 qt. champagne
1/4 lb. sugar
1 orange, sliced
juice of 1 lemon
3 slices pineapple
1/2 to 3/4 c. raspberry or strawberry syrup

Place the above in a large punch bowl, mix well, ornament with fruits in season, and serve in champagne goblets. This can be made in any quantity by observing the proportions of the ingredients as given above. Four bottles of wine make a gallon, and a gallon is generally sufficient for fifteen persons in a mixed party.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862.


2 qts. rye whiskey
1 pint Jamaica rum
6 sliced lemons
1 sliced pineapple
4 qts. water

Place the above in a punch bowl, sweeten to taste, and ice.
From The Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862.


1/2 C. whisky
1 bottle soda water, chilled
Lemon ice (composition not described--try freezing lemonade in ice cube trays)

Put a lemon ice in a soda water glass, add one half gill of whisky and a bottle of iced soda water, mix and serve.
From Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks by William Terrington, 1869.


1 wine glass (about 3/4 c.) peach brandy
1 tbs. honey

Mix the above and stir with a spoon.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


Wine or pure alcohol such as Everclear (tm)
Brimstone match

It is necessary, in preparing a new barrel for wine, to scald it in salt and water, and afterwards soak it in two cold waters; after which heat a little wine or pure spirits and rinse out the barrel; when an old cask is emptied, drain it thoroughly, burn a brimstone match in the barrel, and close the bung immediately. The wine casks should be raised from the cellar floor about six inches. The temperature should be kept between 55 and 60 degrees, the cellar clean, and protected from currents of air.
From The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861


1 lb. raisins, chopped
1 qt. soft water
Juice and grated peel of oranges
1 qt. brandy

One pound of chopped raisins, one quart of soft water boiled and cooled; mix and let it stand one month, stirring frequently; take the raisins from the cask and put the liquor in a closely stopped vessel; in four weeks rack it clear, leaving out all sediment; if, at the first racking, it is muddy in the least, repeat the process until the liquor is perfectly clear; measure and add to every five gallons, three pounds of loaf-sugar, the juice of six oranges, and the yellow rind infused in one quart of white French brandy; mix the whole in a cask, keep the temperature even, and bottle in about three months.
From The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861.


Catawba grapes
Soft water

Pick over carefully Catawba grapes, bruise, and add to each gallon of fruit one quart of soft boiled water; let it stand one week, draw off the juice, and to each gallon allow one pound of loaf-sugar; let the bung remain open until the wine ceases to hiss, and then close tightly. Keep a blanket over the barrel until the wine is bottled, unless the cellar maintains a temperature of from 55 to 60 degrees. It will be fit to bottle in from nine to twelve months.
From The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1816


1 gallon grapes
1 gallon water, soft

One gallon of grapes free from stems and blemishes, one gallon of soft boiled water; bruise the grapes and let them stand with the water seven days without stirring; draw off the liquor, and to every gallon allow three pounds of loaf-sugar; put it in a barrel, cover with a blanket, and close the bung as soon as the wine ceases to hiss. It will be fit for bottling in from six to nine months.
From The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861


5 gallons grapes
4.5 gallons water, soft
17.5 lb. sugar

Five gallons of ripe grapes crushed and soaked in four and a half gallons of soft water seven days; seventeen and a half pounds of nice sugar. Wash all the juice from the grapes into the water, and remove the seeds, skin and pulp; put it in a clean cask, leave open the barrel until fermentation ceased, then stop the bung tightly.
From The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861


Ripe plums
Brown sugar

Break up some fine ripe plums, and boil them in a small quantity of water till soft, adding the kernels from half of the plum seeds, after bruising them. Strain the liquid through a cloth, and to each three quarts add two pounds and a half of the best brown sugar. Boil it up, skim it, and cool it; put in a quart of brandy to every three quarts of the syrup, and bottle it for use.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839


Cherries, preferably Morello

Gather ripe morello cherries, pick them from the stalk, and put them in an earthen pot, which must be set into an iron pot of water; make the water boil, but take care that none of it gets into the cherries; when
the juice is extracted, pour it into a bag made of tolerably thick cloth, which will permit the juice to pass, but not the pulp of your cherries; sweeten it to your taste, and when it becomes perfectly clear,
bottle it--put a gill of brandy into each bottle, before you pour in the juice--cover the corks with rosin. It will keep all summer, in a dry cool place, and is delicious mixed with water.
From The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph, 1841

A SPLITTING HEADACHE (or, "Tween-Deck Cup")

2 qts. ale
1/4 pint rum
1/4 pint lime juice
6 cloves, crushed

Into one-quarter pint of rum, put six crushed cloves and a little cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Strain in an hour, with pressure, add an equal quantity of lime juice and two quarts of bottled ale.
From Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks by William Tarrington, 1869.


1 pint ale
1/2 c. wine, gin or brandy
a few drops Essence of Cloves

Mix the above, sweeten to taste, and make hot, but do not boil.
From Gentleman's Table Guide by Edward Ricket, 1873


1/2 c. Santa Cruz rum (or any sort you like)
1/4 c. water
1/4 lemon
1 tbs. sugar

Fill a tumbler two-thirds full of shaved ice and add the above. Stir with a spoon, and dress the top with fruit in season.
From The Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1 wine glass (about 1/2 c.) brandy
1 tsp. powdered sugar or rock candy
1 toasted biscuit (something like Melba toast would work)
1 egg yolk
Nutmeg, ground
Boiling water

Place one teaspoon of powdered sugar or rock candy and one wine glass of brandy in a tumbler. fill the tumbler one-third full of boiling water, mix well, and place a small cracknell or biscuit (toasted) on top. Grate a small quantity of nutmeg on top. The yolk of one new laid egg is an improvement.
From Gentleman's Table Guide by Edward Rickett, 1873


1 qt. rum, dark if possible
1 qt. cognac or brandy
1 lb. sugar, cubes if available
4 lemons
3 qts. boiling water
1 tsp. nutmeg

Rub the sugar [if cubed] over the lemons until it has absorbed all the yellow part of the skins, then put the sugar into a punch bowl. [note, if hard cubes of sugar are not available, peel the yellow part only off
the lemon skins and add them to the punch.] Pour in the boiling water, stirring well. Add the rum, brandy and nutmeg, mix again, and the punch will be ready to serve.

As we have said before, it is very important, in making good punch, that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. To insure success, the process of mixing must be diligently attended to. allow a quart of punch for four persons; but this information must be taken cum grano salis [with a grain of salt] for the capacities of persons for this kind of beverage are generally supposed to vary considerably.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1 c. sherry
1 egg yolk
1 tbs. white sugar, dissolved in 1 tsp. water

Dissolve the sugar with a little water, break the yolk of the egg in a large glass, and put in one-quarter tumbler of broken ice. Add the dissolved sugar, fill the glass with milk, and shake up until the egg is
thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients. Then, grate a little nutmeg on top and quaff the nectar cup.
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1 pint Scotch ale
1 glass whiskey (around 1/2 cup)
2 eggs
1/4 oz. cinnamon
1/4 oz. nutmeg
1/4 oz. ginger (all spices grated)
Brown sugar, around 1 tsp.

Heat a pint of Scotch ale and add, while warming, the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Beat up the egg yolks with a little brown sugar, pour in the ale gradually and when well amalgamated add a glass of whiskey. Stir well and serve.
From Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks by William Terrington, 1869


1/2 c. cognac
1/4 c. rum
1 egg
1 tbs. cold water
1 tbs. sugar, confectioners if available
about 3/4 c. boiling water

Dissolve the sugar in one tablespoon of cold water, and add this mixture and the remaining ingredients to a large tumbler one-quarter full of boiling water. Fill the glass with milk, shake the ingredients until
they are thoroughly mixed together, and grate a little nutmeg on top. This drink is very popular in California.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1/4 pint peach brandy
1/2 pint cognac
1/4 pint Jamaica rum
1/3 pint lemon juice
3/4 lb. white sugar
2 and 1/2 pints cold water.

Place the above in a punch bowl, stir well, and serve.
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1 pint arrack (substitute strong dark rum)
1 pint port wine
3 pints hot tea
juice of 6 lemons
1 lb. sugar

Dissolve one pound of sugar in three pints of hot tea. Add the juice of six lemons, a pint of arrack and a pint of port wine.
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862

(to Be Made in a Wooden Cask)

1 gallon rum
3 pints orange juice
1 lb. sugar

Put three pints of orange juice, and one pound of loaf-sugar to a gallon of rum. Put all into a cask, and leave it for six weeks, when it will be ready for use.
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1/2 c. port wine
8 oz. brandy
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tbs. sugar
Berries or other fruit, in season

Fill the tumbler with shaved ice, shake well, and ornament with fruits in season, and serve with a straw.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862

* also known as Copenhagen, or Jerry Thomas*

1/2 c. Jamaica rum
12 eggs, separated
5 lb sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 c. brandy (served separately, see recipe)

In a punch bowl, beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, and the yolks they are as thin as water, then mix together and add the spice and rum. Thicken with sugar until the mixture attains the consistency of a
light batter. To serve to customers, take a small bar glass, and one tablespoon of the above mixture, add one wine glass of brandy, and fill the glass with boiling water, grate a little nutmeg on top.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


(Makes About 30 Gallons)

30 gallons cheap whiskey, 80-90 proof
3 qt. tincture Grains of Paradise (see note 1)
2 ounces catechu (see note 2)
10 drops creosote (see note 3)
5 gallons water.

Oatmeal or rice, 3 parts
Wheat flour, 1 part
Combined, enough to fill a whiskey barrel about 1 ft. deep

See note 4 before actually assembling ingredients

Mix the whiskey, Grains of Paradise and water, then add the remaining ingredients. Pass through a bed composed of ground oatmeal, or of ground rice, of a mass composed of three parts of unground rice, to one part of wheat flour. This bed should be about twelve inches in depth, and for convenience can be arranged in an empty whiskey barrel. The spirit should pass with rapidity through the filter, and if it comes off too highly charged with starch, it should have clean spirit added until the starch becomes dissipated, or is not perceptible to the naked eye; or if the spirit should be too heavy, or cloudy, run through the sand filter alone until it comes out bright. The amount of flour necessary to impart the
desired flavor to the spirit, is not distinguishable to the naked eye; and neither should the liquor have the slightest tinge imparted to its original color.
From Manufacture of Liquors by Pierre Lacour, 1853

Note 1: "Grains of Paradise" is another name for pepper seeds, either guinea pepper or melegueta pepper. Cayenne would probably work about as well. Grind pepper and soak 1 to 1 and 1/2 lb. in a gallon of pure alcohol such as Everclear. Seal bottle tightly and soak for days or weeks as desired. Strain carefully to prevent muddiness, and add from one to two quarts to whiskey recipe above. This was a common method of making fake liquor seem stronger than it was, since the sting of the pepper simulated the bite of alcohol.

Note 2: Catechu is the bark of an East Indian acacia plant, recommended by Lacour for addition to fraudulent liquor as it constricted the throat like strong alcohol. Where you would find this today we have no idea, and no intention of investigating.

Note 3: Creosote is the stuff the use to coat telephone poles to keep them from rotting in the ground. Lacour's recommended dose was 60-80 drops per 100 gallons of fake booze. Unless you like drinking tar, the recommended dose is zero.

Note 4: Please read notes 1, 2 and 3. This is an authentic recipe of stuff that was made by cheating sutlers and sold to soldiers stuck in camp or field who were so desperate for a drink they would buy the godawfullest rot you can imagine. This recipe is included for historical interest ONLY and we trust our readers to have the good sense God gave a goat and not to actually make this dreadful stuff.


1 c. sherry or Madeira wine
dash bitters

Add the above to a mixing glass, stir, and serve in a wine glass.
From Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, by William Terrington, 1869


1 bottle gin
2 oz. fresh cut pine wood

Split a piece of the heart of a green pine log into fine splints, about the size of a cedar lead-pencil, take two ounces of the same and put into a quart decanter, and fill the decanter with gin. Let the pine soak for two hours, and the gin will be ready to serve.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1/2 c. brandy
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. sugar

Combine the above and a lump of ice in a small bar glass. Stir with a spoon. For a hot brandy toddy omit the ice, and use boiling water.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1/2 c. rum
1/4 c. water
1/4 lemon
1 tbs. sugar
Berries or other fruit

Fill a tumbler two-thirds full of shaved ice and add the above. Stir with a spoon, and dress the top with fruit in season.
From The Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1/2 c. brandy
1/4 c. water
1/4 lemon
1 tbs. sugar
Berries or other seasonal fruit

Fill a tumbler two-thirds full of shaved ice and add the above. Stir with a spoon, and dress the top with fruit in season.
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1 c. sherry
1 egg

Pour in about one wine glass of sherry. Then break in the glass one fresh egg.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1/3 cup brandy or cognac
1/3 c. maraschino liqueur (sweet cherry liqueur, not Kirschwasser)
1/3 c. curacao (orange liqueur such as Gran Marnier)

This delicious drink is from a recipe by Santina, proprietor of Santina's Saloon, a celebrated Spanish Cafe in New Orleans.
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862.


4 gal. strong red wine
6 gal. plain red wine
Tincture of Alderberries

Mix and color to the same shade of red as the Bordeaux wine with tincture of alderberries.
From The Manual for the Manufacture of Cordials by Christian Schultz, 1862 See note below about 'recipes' from this book.


10 gallons white wine, rhine or sauterne
3 lb. rock candy, dissolved in 1 1/2 pints water
1/2 gal. grain alcohol, 190 proof
1/8 tsp. citric acid
1/8 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

Bottle, cork, wire, cap and label.
From Manual for the Manufacture of Cordials, by Christian Schultz, 1862

Note: The Manual for Manufacture was a book on how to make fake liquor for times and places when the real thing was not available. This should not kill you unless you drink the whole thing at once (note the half gallon of Everclear in the recipe!) but is NOT recommended for consumption. Really, really not recommended.


2/3 c. brandy
1 tbs. honey
1/2 c. strawberry syrup or 10 strawberries crushed and strained
juice of 1 lemon

Add the above ingredients to a soda water glass, and fill up with shaved ice. If the fruit is used, it must be brushed with the honey, crushed and strained. Serve with two straws.
From Gentleman's Table Guide by Edward Rickett, 1873


1 bottle claret
1/2 cucumber, peeled
4 oz. powdered sugar
Dash of nutmeg
1 bottle soda water

Peel half of a middle-sized cucumber, and put it into a silver cup, with four ounces of powdered sugar, a little nutmeg, and a bottle of claret. When the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, pour in a bottle of soda water, and it is fit for use.
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862

Note: "Cup" in this case would seem to mean a large "loving cup" sized vessel, not a small drinking cup which would hardly hold two bottles of liquid, much less that rather disgusting-sounding cucumber. This drink was named after the famous English fox-hunt, not the lawn game which was not invented until after the war.


1/2 c. rum
1 drop pineapple oil (optional, may be hard to find)
1/2 oz. molasses
Grated nutmeg
1 tbs. water and shaved ice OR
boiling water to fill

This drink can either be made in summer or winter. If the former season, add the above and mix in one tablespoon of water and cool with shaved ice. If in the latter, add the above and fill up the tumbler with boiling water. Add a little grated nutmeg on top.
From Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, by Jerry Thomas, 1869


1 pint apple cider (preferably hard, i.e., fermented)
1 slice lemon
1/2 pint shaved ice or frozen soda water
1 tbs. curacao
1 drop Tincture of Columba*

Add the above to a large tumbler, mix with a spoon, and serve.
From Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, by Jerry Thomas, 1869

*Columba, or Calumba, is the root of the Jateorhiza palmata, a plant native to Mozambique. Although the formula for this liquid is lost, a "tincture" is usually made by soaking or dissolving the base in alcohol. If you are not inclined to go to this much trouble, a drop of bitters would be a reasonable substitute.


2 wine glasses (about 1 c.) whiskey
1 tbs. sugar
2-3 slices of orange

Fill a tumbler with ice, add the above ingredients and shake well. Imbibe [drink] through a straw.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


1/2 pint brandy or rum
1 and 1/2 c. madeira (wine)
6 pints milk
16 eggs, separated
12 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg

Take the yellow [yolks] of the eggs and the sugar and beat them to the consistency of cream. Add two-thirds of a grated nutmeg and beat well together. Then mix in the rum and Madeira. Have ready the whites of the eggs, beaten to a stiff froth, and beat them into the above described mixture. When this is all done, stir in six pints of good rich milk. There is no heat used.
Egg Nogg made in this manner is digestible, and will not cause a headache. It makes an excellent drink for debilitated persons, and a nourishing diet for consumptives.
From Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862


3/4 c. cognac
1/2 c. rum
1 egg
1 tbs. cold water
1 tbs. fine ground sugar

Dissolve the sugar in one tablespoon of cold water, and add this mixture and the remaining ingredients to a tumbler one-quarter full of shaved ice. Fill the glass with milk, shake the ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed together, and grate a little nutmeg on top. Every well ordered bar has a tin egg nogg "shaker," which is a great aid in mixing this beverage. Egg nogg is a beverage of American origin, but it has a popularity that is cosmopolitan. At the south it is almost indispensable at Christmas time and at the north it is a favorite at all seasons. In Scotland they call egg nogg "auld man's milk."
From Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862.


1/2 c. dark rum
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 eggs, yolks only
6 whole cloves
6 coriander seeds
About a pinch of cinnamon, ground
1 oz. sugar
1/2 pint water

To a gill of old rum add an ounce of sugar, two yolks of eggs, and the juice of half a lemon; boil half a pint of water with six cloves, six coriander seeds, and a bit of cinnamon; whisk all together and strain
them into a tumbler [large water glass].
From Bon Vivants Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862






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