Drink This

Blast From the Past: Botanical Cocktail Ingredients, 1858 Style

Imagine my excitement when this came into our bookstore.

The full title of the book is Fermented Liquors: a Treatise on Brewing, Distilling, Rectifying, and Manufacturing of Sugars, Wines, Spirits, and All Known Liquors, Including Cider and Vinegar:  Also, Hundreds of Valuable Directions in Medicine, Metallurgy, Pyrotechny, and the Arts in General, by Lewis Feuchtwanger.

The actual beautiful old weird creature that is this book is totally worth owning, but if you aren’t going to pick up a copy, it’s available as a free ebook from Google.

Anyway, it’s a fascinating compilation of recipes, including many that will be familiar and yet not familiar to modern drinkers.  Lots of interesting uses for common plants, too.  There is carrot wine.  There is red cabbage dye.  And I am so glad he managed to work pyrotechny into it, because I needed to know about that, too.

Everything about this table of contents explained what inspired me to write The Drunken Botanist.  Corn beer?  Elderberry wine? Beet sugar?  Agave, ginger, etc?



Some of my favorite bits:

A mint julep recipe that features sugar, mint (so far, so good, right?), no whiskey at all, and–get this–rum, cognac, and GIN!  GAH!


And then!  An Egg Punch that calls for 24 egg yolks!  Not the whites, but the yellows!  The yolks.  And please do note that this mixture of 2 dozen egg yolks, a full pound of sugar, and 1 1/2 bottles of rum is considered sufficient to serve six people.




And then there’s this.  Plant dyes to turn your weird fermented liquors to the color of your choosing!

Cochineal is a bug, in case you didn’t know.  A type of scale that excretes red stuff.

I had to look up orchill.  It’s a lichen.  The color is achieved through fermentation.  Of course.



That’s your history lesson for the day.  Cheers!

Posted by on March 6, 2013 at 4:35 am, in the category Drink This.
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9 responses to “Blast From the Past: Botanical Cocktail Ingredients, 1858 Style”

  1. Emma says:

    Lovely! What a great find, thanks for sharing. I’m off to look up the ebook 🙂

  2. Laura Bell says:

    How fabulous! The best thing about old books like this is the once-lost knowledge they return to us.

  3. John says:

    I’m not sure that would go over well at my next cocktail party. An egg punch that serves 6 people?

    “This is different, what’s in it?”
    “Oh, four egg yolks and four ounces of sugar”.

  4. anne says:

    So, flash forward 155 years from now. Will someone then be able to stumble across a tome like this from our time, the era of e-readers? Although I guess they might find a copy of “The Drunken Botanist” by one Amy Stewart 🙂 but you see my point.

  5. Teri says:

    That is the coolest book I’ve seen a long while. Thank you so much for sharing it, already perusing the ebook.

  6. John says:

    Please make at least one recipe from this a week and post the results!!!!

  7. luise h. says:

    Egg punch, that is still sold in bottles in Germany. Tastes incredible. And add almost any berry to 40 proof corn and let steep for 6 weeks for a different way to “preserve” fruit. The fruit tastes pretty good over pound cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream after you strain the liquid.

  8. Sandy in TX says:

    Eggnog recipes were once that rich . . . but the “instant Champagne?” Wow.

  9. Kate says:

    Hmmm..I have been looking for a way to use up the eggs from our chickens in the yard…Egg punch will be perfect! HA! I will be looking up that ebook though…Very Cool stuff. Thanks for posting.