*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ’em in this week’s Dig…Special thanks to Pinky Gonzales who supplied this week’s suggested cocktail!
by Pink Lady
LUPEC dons our stars and stripes to celebrate the birth of our nation this week. We do so by raising a glass—after all, drinking is our national heritage.
Alcohol has been part of America since the arrival of the earliest colonists, with the tavern situated at the center of colonial life. Often one of the first permanent structures erected in some colonies, taverns were the only public buildings and doubled as a space for meetings, trials and even religious services. They played a key role in developing early business and commerce in young America.
This was the era of “dram drinking,” taking small amounts of alcohol throughout the day, all day, every day, starting with a pick-me-up in the morning and ending with a put-me-down at night. “Drinking on the job” was the norm: Craftsmen quaffed while they crafted, hired hands drank in the fields, sailors sipped at sea and so on. The commonly held belief that alcohol was medicinal and healthy, and water would only make you sick, further enabled our national bender.
In the decades after the Revolution, the spectacular bender raged on. Government figures from 1790 show annual per-capita alcohol consumption amounted to 34 gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits and one gallon of wine.
And early Americans were totally OK with that. In the words of a colonist from Georgia, “If I take a settler after my coffee, a cooler at nine, a bracer at 10, a whetter at 11, and two or three stiffners during the forenoon, who has any right to complain?”
Certainly not us. We toast that fierce independence with a drink famously tippled by Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
OLD HICKORY COCKTAIL
1 small shot French vermouth
1 small shot Italian vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Pour the two vermouths into a bar glass and add the dash of orange bitters and the two shots of Peychaud bitters. Fill with cubes of ice and stir well. Strain into a serving glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over, then drop it into the glass.