Archive for the ‘Alchoholic Drink’ Category
1 lb. white sugar
2 qts. sherry OR 1 qt. Cognac brandy
Bruise the finest ripe raspberries with the back of a spoon; strain them through a flannel bag into a stone jar, allowing a pound of fine powdered loaf sugar to each quart of juice; stir it well together, and cover it down; let it stand for three days, stirring it up each day; pour off the clear, and put two quarts of sherry, or one of Cognac brandy, to each quart of juice; bottle it off; it will be fit for the glass in a fortnight [two weeks].
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: This is not really so much a recipe for “how to make raspberry wine or brandy” (sorry Dr. Kitchiner) as it is for “how to add raspberry flavoring to wine or brandy you already have on hand.” We confess we have never actually tried this recipe, due to a shortage of affordable raspberries in the quantity needed, so we are not exactly sure what Dr. K. means about that “pour off the clear” instruction. It does suggest that a glass or clear plastic bottle might be the preferred vessel to use during the berry-juice-ripening part of the process. With this one will be able to see where the clear part ceases and the juice part commences, so as to avoid wasting any of the latter.
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.
The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: Here again we see the use of the pits of a fruit, broken up, as part of the recipe. Apparently it was felt that they strengthened the flavor or otherwise provided some sort of benefit, but the call to use only half instead of all of them just adds to the mystery.
We usually recommend ignoring this advice in the case of peaches and apricots since the pits do contain a small amount of (gulp!) cyanide. However we can find no indication that plum seeds contain this in any measurable amount, so you may add them to your heart’s content with a clear conscience.
1/2 c. gin
1 bottle sparkling Moselle wine
1/2 c. raspberry syrup
1/2 c. juice from maraschino cherries
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 of raspberry syrup, a gill of maraschino, a gill of old gin, a bottle of sparkling Moselle, 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
Comment: A “gill” is about half a standard measuring cup, or 4 ounces. Moselle is a white wine. And yes, pineapples were readily available in Civil War times, at least in larger cities where ships carrying cargoes from tropical regions docked on a regular basis. Mr. Thomas, having mastered the bartending trade in San Francisco during the Gold Rush days of the late 1840s, probably got his from Hawaii.
In fact the only real puzzle in his otherwise masterful work is why he includes no vodka drinks. Russia still owned what is now Alaska in those days and their ships called at San Francisco on a regular basis, so it seems unlikely he did not know about the liquor. Perhaps it required improvements in the Russo-American import-export business, and Jerry did not wish to tantalize his readers with an ingredient they could not readily obtain.
1 qt. rum, dark if possible
1 qt. cognac or brandy
1 lb. sugar, cubes if available
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. 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 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
Comment: Sugar in the 19th century was sold in solid blocks or cubes, from which pieces were chipped off for use in individual recipes or beverages. Thus it made sense to tell readers to “rub the sugar over the lemons,” whereas today it would be more logical to put the sugar in a bowl and rub the lemons in it, rotating the fruit and stirring the sugar, until as much yellow has been transferred as can be.
And yes, it was more common in the 19th century for people of average education to be acquainted with Latin, but it was still an act of some snobbery to use the language where it was not exactly needed. “Cum grano salis” means “with a grain of salt,” which is something of an understatement given the amount of liquor in this recipe divided by the number of suggested drinkers.
1 c. sherry or Madeira wine
Add the above to a mixing glass, stir, and serve in a wine glass.
From Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks by William Terrington, 1869
Comment: The subject of drinking was a rather delicate one in cookbooks of the Civil War era, since many of the authors of such books were also strong proponents of the Temperance movement, which discouraged the use of alcohol in anything except medicine (and some opposed even that.)
One anonymous author of a handbook issued to soldiers early in the war took a more realistic tone. While complete abstention was best, he said, any use of “Ardent Spirits” at least be postponed until the actual fighting was over with. The “artificial energy” they imparted, the author said, was apt to give out if the fighting was unexpectedly prolonged and would leave the imbiber in a weakened state at the worst possible moment.
For Mr. Terrington’s concoction noted above, the biggest challenge might be to find access to sherry, Madeira and bitters while everyone else was running around getting ready to fight a war.
6 eggs, yolks only
1 pint wine
1/2 lb. sugar
Juice and grated peel of 1 orange
Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon
1 qt. cream
Whipped cream for topping
Beat the yolks of six eggs till very light and smooth; stir into them gradually a pint of wine, and let it set for half an hour; then stir in a half a pound of powdered sugar, the juice and grated peel of one orange and one lemon, and let it set again for half an hour, after which stir in a quart of rich sweet cream, beat it light, serve it in glasses, and crown them with whipped cream. These cold creams, as they are called, are plain, nice, fashionable and easily prepared. They are eaten with tarts, sweet meats and cake.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, Cincinnati 1839
Comment: “Powdered” sugar was not in the 19th century the product which goes by this name today. Sugar was sold in solid blocks or chips which had to be ground or grated to reach granular form, a process which was known as powdering. Therefore their “powdered” sugar is simply our “granulated” sugar, so use the cheap stuff from the bag not the expensive stuff in the box.
We are classifying this as a dessert although from the description it is probably thin enough to qualify as a drink. What exactly makes it ‘Italian’ is entirely unclear as well, although we suspect the author’s interest in making a lemon cream sound “Continental” and therefore classier might be a factor.
Although considering the difficulties of transportation and the fact that neither sugar, lemons or oranges were grown in the upper reaches of the Ohio River in 1832, this was probably an entirely expensive and therefore “classy” item in its own right no matter what it was called.