Friday, December 18, 2020

From Garden to Homespun - Revolutionary Resistance through Homespun

Spinning Bees, local gatherings to spin yarn, became political meetings as colonial anger about "taxation without representation" grew. The amount of thread & yarn spun at spinning bees was often published in the local papers, as towns & church congregations established homespun production rivalries. Wearing homespun became a political statement. At the 1st commencement of Rhode Island College (later Brown University) in the 1760s, the president proudly wore homespun clothing while conducting the ceremony. At Harvard, the faculty & students regularly wore homespun clothing.

Made in America: Revolutionary Resistance through Homespun & the Rise of American Textile Manufacturing

By Neal T. Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Associate Curator for Costume & Textiles, March 17, 2020

As tensions rose between the American Colonies & Great Britain in the late 1760s, some Virginians displayed their defiance to the Crown in their choice of garments fashioned from locally made fabrics. Homespun — or locally produced textiles — announced the political leanings of the wearer. These homespun textiles also became a necessity once trade with England ended in 1774 & Virginia & other Colonies were faced with meeting the textile demand through local production.

As early as the 17th century, Colonists began to process & weave their own fabrics, & “homespun” came to define any textiles produced domestically in a nonindustrial setting. Raw materials such as linen, cotton, wool, hemp & even silk were transformed into fabrics in North America for local consumption. Most of these homespun textiles would be used as household linens, bed curtains &, on occasion, even for clothing.

Textiles made up the single largest import from England during the 17th & 18th centuries. In theory, the American Colonies produced raw materials & exported them to England. In return, they received finished goods. A series of Navigation Acts — English laws dictating that the Colonies could receive European goods only from England — helped to codify this system.

From the fine & fancy to the plain & everyday, the English goods were better quality & could be purchased at competitive or cheaper prices. Most Colonists bought imported English textiles & used them not only within their homes but also for their clothing.

In the spring of 1769, political debates over taxation raged throughout Virginia. The recently repealed Stamp Act, which had imposed a tax on every piece of paper the Colonists used, remained fresh in many minds. The newly passed Townshend Acts placed a set of taxes on imported glass, lead, paints, paper & tea. In May of that year, Virginia’s House of Burgesses passed a resolution that directly challenged Parliament’s right to tax Virginians. In retaliation, Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt, who had been appointed Virginia’s royal governor only a few months before, formally dissolved the governing body.

A day later, the burgesses met at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg & formed the Virginia Association, which called on Virginians to “promote & encourage industry & frugality, & discourage all manner of luxury & extravagance.” Starting Sept. 1, 1769, those who signed the agreement would no longer import listed goods from England, including many textiles such as linens, wools, cottons & silks above a certain price. It even suggested that sheep should not be slaughtered & instead should be kept for their wool. As other Colonies adopted associations, they shared Virginia’s logic that nonimportation & increasing domestic production would put pressure on the English economy & that British merchants & producers would beg Parliament to repeal all of the taxes on the American Colonies.

Men & women throughout Virginia worked steadily to increase domestic production & took pride in wearing homespun. Martha Jacquelin in York County, Virginia, wrote to her London agent in August 1769, “You’ll see by my invoice that I am an Associator … But believe me, our poor country never stood in more need of an Effort to save her from ruin than now, not more from taxes & want of Trayd (sic) than from our own extravagances … I expect to be dressed in Virginia cloth very soon.” Virginia cloth, another term for domestically made textiles, became a fashionable way to show frugality & prove that Virginians did not need to rely upon English imported fabrics.

In December 1769, the House of Burgesses decided to host Lord Botetourt at a ball in the Capitol, only six months after he dismissed the governing body. The day after the event, The Virginia Gazette reported that the “same patriotic spirit which gave rise to the associations of the Gentlemen … was most agreeably manifested in the dress of the ladies.” More than 100 women appeared at the Capitol wearing homespun gowns. The quality of the fabric & where they acquired the quantity needed for the gowns remains unknown. The Gazette wished “that all assemblies of American Ladies would exhibit a like example of public virtue & private economy, so amiably united.”

In the remaining years leading up to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, more associations were signed or strengthened to keep economic pressure on the English. The Eastern Seaboard continued to produce textiles at a rapid rate. The Derby Mercury in Ireland, which was a center of the linen trade, reported in 1770 that the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, maintained no less than 50 looms & 7,000 spinning wheels, producing more than 30,000 yards of linens & woolens a year.

Homespun fabric even became a political statement for Americans visiting England. Edmund Jenings, a Virginia-born lawyer who lived in London, wrote a letter to Richard Henry Lee informing him of his new clothing. He wrote, “Your brother has given me cloth made in your family I wear it on all occasions to show the politicians of this country that the sheep of America have not hair on their backs. — They can hardly believe their eyes.”

On Dec. 1, 1774, the final nonimportation agreement took effect when signed by the first Continental Congress. The Colonies would not import any goods, including textiles, from Great Britain. Virginians along with the other 12 American Colonies would need to produce all the textiles for their households & apparel, a nearly impossible task.

The outbreak of war in April 1775 would create an even larger problem: clothing & equipping an infant army & navy.

The military needed enormous amounts of textiles for clothing, tents, knapsacks, haversacks & blankets. Initially, tens of thousands of yards of fabric arrived in storehouses across the Colonies, including both pieces bought before the nonimportation agreements & homespun woven in homes, farms & plantations. These materials were quickly depleted, & more were immediately needed. With no imports coming from Great Britain & domestic production not meeting the demand, the American army faced major supply shortages.

The Continental Congress sought help to get materials, especially textiles, for its newly established military force. Emissaries traveled to Spain & Holland & gained some initial support. Dressed in a very plain manner with a pine marten fur cap, Benjamin Franklin visited the court of France. The French Court admired Franklin & his unique American dress, which they may have believed was homespun. Franklin secured the Treaty of Alliance between the newly formed United States of America & the French that allowed much needed supplies to flow into the United States.

With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 & the end of the American Revolution, American merchants quickly resumed trading with England. Once again it was cheaper to import high-quality textiles than to establish the industry in the new republic. Still, Americans continued to produce homespun fabrics to supplement the imported textiles they purchased from England. The textile industry began to slowly establish itself, especially in the New England states.

When George Washington was unanimously elected president, he began to carefully craft what he would wear at his inauguration. After seeing an advertisement in a New York newspaper for American-made broadcloths (a heavily fulled or napped wool), he contacted his friend, Gen. Henry Knox. On Jan. 29, 1789, Washington wrote, “I have ventured to trouble you with the Commission of purchasing enough [broadcloth] to make me a suit of Cloaths. As to the colour, I shall leave it altogether to your taste; only observing, that, if the dye should not appear to be well fixed, & clear, or if the cloth should not really be very fine, then (in my Judgment) some colour mixed in grain might be preferable to an indifferent [stained] dye. I shall have occasion to trouble you for nothing but the cloth & twist to make the button holes.”

On April 30, 1789, Washington became the first president of the United States. He wore a brown broadcloth three-piece suit made from fabric woven at the Hartford Woolen Manufactory, a newly established business in Connecticut. In October of that same year, Washington visited the factory & wrote in his diary, “I viewed the Woolen Manufactury at this place which seems to be going on with Spirit. There (sic) Broadcloths are not of the first quality, as yet, but they are good; as are their Coatings, Cassimers, Serges & everlastings. Of the first that is broad-cloth I ordered a suit to be sent to me at New York & of the latter a whole piece to make breeches for my servants.”

By choosing an American-produced broadcloth for his first inaugural suit, Washington supported the economic growth & industrial establishment within the newly established United States. In the 19th century, an American textile industry would blossom.

See Colonial Williamsburg here.  Neal Hurst is the Foundation’s associate curator for costume and textiles. He also spent 7 years in the Historic Area earning his journeyman status as a tailor.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

From Garden to Table - Home-Made Spirits - Dandelion Wine

 

John Greenwood (American artist, 1727-1792) Sea Captains Carousing, 1758.  Detail

Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines Cordials & Liqueurs 1909 by Helen S. Wright

DANDELION WINE
Four quarts of dandelions. Cover with four quarts of boiling water; let stand three days. Add peel of three oranges and one lemon. Boil fifteen minutes; drain and add juice of oranges and lemon to four pounds of sugar and one cup of yeast. Keep in warm room and strain again; let stand for three weeks. It is then ready to bottle and serve.

From Garden to Table - Colonial American Alcohol Trivia

Colonial American Alcohol Trivia

The Puritans loaded more beer than water onto the Mayflower before they cast off for the New World. 

There wasn’t any cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie to eat at the first Thanksgiving. However, there was beer, brandy, gin, & wine to drink. 

A brewery was one of Harvard College’s first construction projects. That was to ensure a steady supply of beer for the student dining hall. 

The early colonialists made alcoholic beverages from what was available. That included carrots, tomatoes, onions, beets, celery, squash, corn silk, dandelions, & goldenrod. 

The distillation of rum became early Colonial New England’s largest & most prosperous industry. 

A traveler through the Delaware Valley in 1753 compiled a list of the drinks he encountered. All but three of the 48 contained alcohol. 

The Reverend Elijah Craig, a Baptist minister, made the first Kentucky whiskey in 1789. 

The distillation of whiskey led to the first test of federal power. It was the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. 

The laws of most American colonies required towns to license suitable persons to sell wine & spirits. 

Colonial taverns were often required to be located near the church or meetinghouse. 

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, & Thomas Jefferson all enjoyed brewing or distilling their own alcohol beverages.

The Colonial Army supplied its troops with a daily ration of four ounces of either rum or whiskey.

Religious services, court sessions, & voting venues were often in the major tavern of Colonial American towns. 

Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in a tavern in Philadelphia. 

The first signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock, was an alcohol dealer. 

Before he took his famous ride, Paul Revere apparently had two drinks of rum. 

The patriot Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty or give me death”) was a bar tender. 

President Martin Van Buren was born in his father’s tavern. 

Alewives in Colonial America brewed a special high proof “groaning ale” for pregnant women to drink during labor. 


American Alcohol Trivia Resources:

Burns, E. The Spirit of America: The Social History of Alcohol. Philadelphia: Temple U Press, 2004.

Furnas, J. The Life & Times of the Late Demon Rum. Putnam’s Sons, 1965.

Grimes, W. Straight Up or On the Rocks: A Cultural History of American Drink. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1993

Lender, M. & Martin, J. Drinking in America. NY: Free Press, 1982.

Meacham, S. Every Home a Distillery. Alcohol, Gender, & Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U Press, 2013.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

From Garden to Table at Mount Vernon - Syllabub with Sherry

Martha Washington (1731-1802) - From the Garden to the Table 

While George Washington oversaw most aspects of managing Mount Vernon's  pleasure gardens & grounds, Martha Washington oversaw the Kitchen Garden (The Lower Garden), allowing her to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round.

The Kitchen Garden at Mount Vernon

“…impress it on the gardener to have every thing in his garden that will be nece]ssary in the House keeping way — as vegetable is the best part of our living in the country.” – Martha Washington, 1792

Inside the Kitchen at Mount Vernon

Outside The Kitchen at Mount Vernon

Syllabub

Syllabub was a fashionable drink in Colonial America. Known in England since Tudor times, it was sipped or spooned from “special syllabub glasses, so that the effect” of highly whipped cream above, “contrasting with the clear liquid below could be fully appreciated.”

Whether consumed as a spooned dessert or as a sipped beverage, syllabub has not lost its appeal in modern times. This version is based on popular eighteenth-century recipes by E. Smith and Elizabeth Raffald.

This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

Juice and zest of 1 large lemon

1 cup sweet white wine

1/2 cup cream sherry

Directions

Combine the cream, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Combine the lemon juice, white wine, and sherry, blending together well. Mixing on low speed, slowly pour into the cream mixture, whipping for about 10 minutes until the syllabub is light and foamy.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set in the refrigerator to chill for about 8 hours, or overnight, to let the flavors blend together. Stir the syllabub at least once while chilling to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Pour the chilled syllabub into small wine glasses, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To serve, place the chilled glasses of syllabub on dessert plates set with long-handled spoons.

Research & images & much more are available from the Mount Vernon website, MountVernon.org.

From Garden to Table - Apples to Cider to Wine - Methods & Recipes

Vinetum Britannicum, or, A treatise of cider and other wines extracted from fruits growing in this kingdom : with the method of propagating all sorts of vinous fruit-trees : and a description of the new-invented ingenio or mill for the more expeditious making of cider: : and also the right way of making metheglin and birch-wine : to which is added A discourse teaching the best way of improving bees. John Worlidge  London : Printed for Thomas Dring, 1691

Most of the 17C & 18C emigrants to America drank hard cider. simply because water was thought not to be a trusted source of daily fluids, so beer, ale, fruit brandy, & cider were more sanitary substitutes. Apples were one of the earliest known crops in the English-speaking New World; ships' manifests show young saplings being carefully planted in barrels & many hopeful farmers bringing bags of seed with them. Within 35 years of the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, the land was turned to grow lucrative tobacco plus edible cash crops like rice, maize, & apples, since they also would have some commercial value in the markets of growing like London.

The earliest written mention of a cider press seems to have been on the Mayflower in 1620. Halfway through the journey, the ship was caught in a storm & one of its beams cracked badly enough to warrant the consideration of turning back to England. "The great iron screw" was taken from a  cider press, helping brace the damaged beam to keep the ship from breaking up & make it to the New World.  Nine days after the Puritans landed William Blackstone is recorded planting the 1st apple trees in the New England colonies. John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1632, recorded his tenants paying their rent on Governor's Island in 2 bushels of apples a year. In 1634, Lord Baltimore instructed settlers of the new colony of Maryland to carry across the sea "kernalls of peares & apples, especially of Pipins, Pearemains, & Deesons for maykinge thereafter of Cider & Perry."
Vinetum Britannicum, or, A treatise of cider and other wines extracted from fruits growing in this kingdom : with the method of propagating all sorts of vinous fruit-trees : and a description of the new-invented ingenio or mill for the more expeditious making of cider: : and also the right way of making metheglin and birch-wine : to which is added A discourse teaching the best way of improving bees. John Worlidge London : Printed for Thomas Dring, 1691

Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines Cordials & Liqueurs (1919) by Helen S. Wright
General Rules for Making Cider

Always choose perfectly ripe & sound fruit. Pick the apples by hand. (An active boy with the bag slung over his shoulder will soon clear a tree. Apples that have lain any time on the soil contract an earthy taste, which will always be found in the cider.)

After sweating, & before being ground, wipe them dry, & if any are found bruised or rotten, put them in a heap by themselves, for an inferior cider to make vinegar.

Always use hair cloths, instead of straw, to place between the layers of pomace. The straw when heated, gives a disagreeable taste to the cider.

As the cider runs from the press, let it pass through a hair sieve into a large open vessel that will hold as much juice as can be expressed in one day. In a day, or sometimes less, the pomace will rise to the top, & in a short time grow very thick. When little white bubbles break through it, draw off the liquor by a spigot, placed about three inches from the bottom, so that the lees may be left quietly behind.

The cider must be drawn off into very clean, sweet casks & closely watched. The moment the white bubbles before mentioned are perceived rising at the bung-hole, rack it again. When the fermentation is completely at an end, fill up the cask with cider, in all respects like that already contained in it, & bung it up tight, previous to which a tumbler of sweet oil may be poured into the bung-hole.

After being made & barrelled it should be allowed to ferment until it acquires the desired flavor, for perfectly sweet cider is not desirable. In the meantime clean barrels for its reception should be prepared thus: Some clean strips of rag are dipped into melted sulphur, lighted & hung in the bung-hole, & the bung laid loosely on the end of the rag. This is to allow the sulphur vapor to well fill the barrel. Tie up a half-pint of mustard-seed in a coarse muslin rag & put it into the barrel, then put your cider in. Now add the isinglass, which “fines” the cider but does not help to keep it sweet. This is the old-fashioned way, & will keep cider in the same condition as it went into the barrel, if kept in a cool place, for a year. The sulphur vapor checks the fermentation, & the sulphur in the mustard-seed keeps it checked. We hear that professional cider dealers are now using the bisulphite of lime instead of the mustard-seed & the sulphur vapor. This bisulphite of lime is the same as the “preserving powder.” It is only another form of using the sulphur, but it is more convenient & perhaps more effectual. Another method is to add sugar, one & a half pounds sugar to a gallon of the cider, & let it ferment. This makes a fermented, clear, good cider, but sweet. It lasts sweet about six months, if kept in a cool situation.

Preparatory to bottling cider it should be examined, to see whether it be clear & sparkling. If not, it should be clarified in a similar way to beer, & left for a fortnight. The night before it is intended to put it Into bottles, the bung should be taken out of the cask, & left so until the next day, when it may be bottled, but not corked down until the day after, as, if this be done at once, many of the bottles will burst by keeping. The best corks & champagne bottles should be used, & it is usual to wire & cover the corks with tinfoil, after the manner of champagne. A few bottles may be kept in a warm place to ripen, or a small piece of lump sugar may be put into each bottle before corking, if the cider be wanted for immediate use, or for consumption during the cooler portion of the year, but for warm weather & for long keeping this is inadmissible. The bottled stock should be stored in a cool cellar, when the quality will be greatly improved by age.

TO CAN CIDER
Cider, if taken when first made, brought to the boiling heat, & canned, precisely as fruit is canned, will keep from year to year without any change of taste. Canned up this way in the fall, it may be kept a half-dozen years or longer, as good as when first made. It is better that the cider be settled & poured off from the dregs, & when brought to boiling heat the scum that gathers on the surface taken off; but the only precaution necessary to preservation of the cider is the sealing of it air tight when boiling hot. The juice of other fruit can, no doubt, be preserved in the same way. To all tastes not already corrupted by strong drinks, these un-fermented juices are very delicious. The juice of the grape is better than wine a century old, & more healthy...

BOILING CIDER
To prepare cider for boiling, the first process is to filter it immediately on coming from the press. This is easiest done by placing some sticks crosswise in the bottom of a barrel,—a flour barrel with a single head is the best,—wherein an inch hole has been bored, & covering these sticks with say four inches of clean rye or wheat straw, & then filling the barrel to within a foot of the top with clean sand or coal dust,—sand is the best. Pour the cider as it comes from the press into the top of this barrel, drawing it off as soon as it comes out at the bottom into air-tight casks, & let it stand in the cellar until March. Then draw it out with as little exposure to the air as possible, put it into bottles that can be tightly & securely corked, & in two months it will be fit for use.

TO CLEAR CIDER
To clear & improve cider generally take two quarts of ground horseradish & one pound of thick gray filtering paper to the barrel, & either shake or stir until the paper has separated into small shreds, & let it stand for twenty-four hours, when the cider may be drawn off by means of a siphon or a stop cock. Instead of paper, a preparation of wool may be taken, which is to be had in the market, & which is preferable to paper, as it has simply to be washed with water, when it may be used again.

CIDER, TO PRESERVE & KEEP SWEET
1. To one barrel of cider, put in one pound of mustard-seed, two pounds of raisins, one-quarter pound of the sticks (bark) of cinnamon. 2. When the cider in the barrel is in a lively fermentation, add as much white sugar as will be equal to one-quarter or three-quarters of a pound to each gallon of cider (according as the apples are sweet or sour); let the fermentation proceed until the liquid has the taste to suit, then add one-quarter of an ounce of sulphite (not sulphate) of lime to each gallon of cider, shake well, & let it stand three days, & bottle for use. The sulphite should first be dissolved in a quart or so of cider before introducing it into the barrel of cider. 3. When fermentation commences in one barrel, draw off the liquor into another one, straining through a flannel cloth. Put into the cider three-quarters of an ounce of the oil of sassafras, & the same of the oil of winter green, well shaken up in a pint of alcohol. But one difficulty is said to pertain to this preparation of cider. It is so palatable that people won't keep it long.
CIDER CHAMPAGNE
Five gallons good cider, one quart spirit, one & one-quarter pounds honey or sugar. Mix, & let them rest for a fortnight, then fine with one gill of skimmed milk. This, put up in champagne bottles, silvered, & labelled, has often been sold for champagne. It opens very sparkling.

CHERRY CIDER
Seven gallons of apple cider, two quarts of dried black cherries, one pint of dried blueberries, one-half pint of elderberries, eighteen pounds of brown sugar.

DEVONSHIRE CIDER
The apples, after being plucked, are left in heaps in the orchard for some time, to complete their ripening, & render them more saccharine. They are then crushed between grooved cylinders, surmounted by a hopper, or in a circular trough, by two vertical edge-wheels of wood moved by a horse; after passing through which, they are received into large tubs or crocks, & are then called pomace. They are afterwards laid on the vat in alternate layers of the pomace & clean straw, called reeds. They are then pressed, a little water being occasionally added. The juice passes through a hair sieve, or similar strainer, & is received in a large vessel, whence it is run into casks or open vats, where everything held in mechanical suspension is deposited. The fermentation is often slow of being developed; though the juice be set in November or December, the working sometimes hardly commences till March. Till this time the cider is sweet; it now becomes pungent & vinous, & is ready to be racked for use. If the fermentation continue, it is usual to rack it again into a clean cask that has been well sulphured out, & to leave behind the head & sediment; or two or three cans of cider are put into a clean cask, & a match of brimstone burned in it. It is then agitated, by which the fermentation of that quantity is completely stopped. The cask is then nearly filled, the fermentation of the whole is checked, the process of racking is repeated until it becomes so, & is continued from time to time till the cider is in a quiet state & fit for drinking.

FRENCH CIDER
After the fruit is mashed in a mill, between iron cylinders, it is allowed to remain in a large tun or tub for fourteen or fifteen hours, before pressing. The juice is placed in casks, which are kept quite full, & so placed under gawntrees, or stillions, that small tubs may be put under them, to receive the matter that works over. At the end of three or four days for sweet cider, & nine or ten days for strong cider, it is racked into sulphured casks, & then stored in a cool place.

WESTERN CIDER
To one pound of sugar, add one-half ounce of tartaric acid, two tablespoonfuls of good yeast. Dissolve the sugar in one quart of warm water; put all in a gallon jug, shake it well, fill the jug with pure cold water, let it stand uncorked twelve hours, & it is fit for use.

CIDER WITHOUT APPLES
To each gallon of cold water, put one pound common sugar, one-half ounce tartaric acid, one tablespoonful of yeast. Shake well, make in the evening, & it will be fit for use next day. Make in a keg a few gallons at a time, leaving a few quarts to make into next time, not using yeast again until keg needs rinsing. If it gets a little sour, make a little more into it, or put as much water with it as there is cider, & put it with the vinegar. If it is desired to bottle this cider by manufacturers of small drinks, you will proceed as follows: five gallons hot water, thirty pounds brown sugar, three-quarters pound tartaric acid, twenty-five gallons cold water, three pints of hops or brewers' yeast worked into paste with three-quarters pound flour, & one pint water will be required in making this paste. Put all together in a barrel, which it will fill, & let it work twenty-four hours, the yeast running out at a bung all the time, by putting in a little occasionally to keep it full. Then bottle, putting in two or three broken raisins to each bottle, & it will nearly equal champagne.

CIDER WINE
Let the new cider from sour apples (ripe, sound fruit preferred) ferment from one to three weeks, as the weather is warm or cool. When it has attained to a lively fermentation, add to each gallon, according to its acidity, from one-half pound to two pounds of white crushed sugar, & let the whole ferment until it possesses precisely the taste which it is desired should be permanent. In this condition pour out one quart of the cider, & add for each gallon of cider one-quarter ounce of sulphite of lime, not sulphate. Stir the powder & cider until intimately mixed, & return the emulsion to the fermenting liquid. Agitate briskly & thoroughly for a few moments, & then let the cider settle. Fermentation will cease at once. When, after a few days, the cider has become clear, draw off carefully, to avoid the sediment, & bottle. If loosely corked, which is better, it will become a sparkling cider wine, & may be kept indefinitely long.

AMERICAN CHAMPAGNE (With Cider)
Seven quarts good cider (crab-apple cider is the best), one pint best fourth-proof brandy, one quart genuine champagne wine, one quart milk, one-half ounce of bitartrate of potassa. Mix & let stand a short time; bottle while fermenting. An excellent imitation.

CHAMPAGNE CIDER
Champagne cider is made as follows: To five gallons of good cider put three pints of strained honey, or one & one-eighth pounds of good white sugar. Stir well & set it aside for a week. Clarify the cider with one-half gill of skimmed milk, or one teaspoonful of dissolved isinglass, & add one & one-half pints of pure spirits. After two or three days bottle the clear cider, & it will become sparkling. In order to produce a slow fermentation, the casks containing the fermenting liquor must be bunged up tight. It is a great object to retain much of the carbonic gas in the cider, so as to develop itself after being bottled.

CHAMPAGNE CIDER, NO. 2
One hogshead good pale vinous cider, three gallons proof spirit (pale), fourteen pounds honey or sugar. Mix, & let them remain together in a temperate situation for one month; then add one quart orange-flower water, & fine it down with one-half gallon skimmed milk. This will be very pale; & a similar article, when bottled in champagne bottles, silvered & labelled, has been often sold to the ignorant for champagne. It opens very brisk, if managed properly.

BURGUNDY CHAMPAGNE (With Cider)
Fourteen pounds loaf sugar, twelve pounds brown sugar (pale), ten gallons warm water, one ounce white tartar. Mix, & at a proper temperature add one pint yeast. Afterwards, add one gallon sweet cider, two or three bitter almonds (bruised), one quart pale spirit, one-eighth ounce orris powder.

CHAMPAGNE CIDER
Champagne cider is made as follows: To five gallons of good cider put three pints of strained honey, or one & one-eighth pounds of good white sugar. Stir well & set it aside for a week. Clarify the cider with one-half gill of skimmed milk, or one teaspoonful of dissolved isinglass, & add one & one-half pints of pure spirits. After two or three days bottle the clear cider, & it will become sparkling. In order to produce a slow fermentation, the casks containing the fermenting liquor must be bunged up tight. It is a great object to retain much of the carbonic gas in the cider, so as to develop itself after being bottled.

CHAMPAGNE CIDER, NO. 2
One hogshead good pale vinous cider, three gallons proof spirit (pale), fourteen pounds honey or sugar. Mix, & let them remain together in a temperate situation for one month; then add one quart orange-flower water, & fine it down with one-half gallon skimmed milk. This will be very pale; & a similar article, when bottled in champagne bottles, silvered & labelled, has been often sold to the ignorant for champagne. It opens very brisk, if managed properly.

LEMON WINE (With Cider)
Four pounds sugar, one pound raisins (bruised), two gallons water. Boil, then add one gallon cider. Ferment, & add one quart of spirits, three-quarters ounce white tartar, a few drops essence of lemon. Observe to shake the essence, with a little of the spirit, until it becomes milky, before adding it to the wine.

MADEIRA WINE (With Cider)
To five gallons prepared cider, add one-half pound loaf sugar. Let it stand ten days, draw it off carefully, fine it down, & again rack it into another cask.

ELDER-FLOWER WINE (With Cider)
Take the flowers of elder, & be careful that you don't let any stalks in; to every quart of flowers put one gallon of water, & three pounds of loaf sugar. Boil the water & sugar a quarter of an hour, then pour it on the flowers & let it work three days; then strain the wine through a hair sieve, & put it into a cask. To every ten gallons of wine add one ounce of isinglass dissolved in cider, & six whole eggs. Close it up & let it stand six months, & then bottle it.

LEMON WINE, NO. 2 (With Cider)
Four pounds sugar, one pound raisins (bruised), two gallons water. Boil, then add one gallon cider. Ferment, & add one quart of spirits, three-quarters ounce white tartar, a few drops essence of lemon. Observe to shake the essence, with a little of the spirit, until it becomes milky, before adding it to the wine.

MADEIRA WINE (With Cider)
To five gallons prepared cider, add one-half pound loaf sugar. Let it stand ten days, draw it off carefully, fine it down, & again rack it into another cask.

PORT WINE (With Cider)
To ten gallons prepared cider, add one & one-half gallons good port wine, two & one-half quarts wild grapes (clusters), two ounces bruised rhatany root, three-quarters ounce tincture of kino, three-quarters pound loaf sugar, one-half gallon spirits. Let this stand ten days; color if too light, with tincture of rhatany, then rack it off & fine it. This should be repeated until the color is perfect & the liquid clear.

PORT WINE British Style (With Cider)
1. Two gallons damson juice, two gallons cider, three-quarters ounce sloe juice, one pound sugar, one pound honey. Ferment, then add one quart spirit, one gallon red cape, a little over one ounce of red tartar (dissolved), the same of powder of catechu, one-tenth ounce bruised ginger, one-tenth ounce cassia, a few cloves. Mix well with two tablespoonfuls of brandy coloring.
2. Two pounds bullace, ten pounds damsons, one & one-half gallons water. Boil the water, skim it, & pour it boiling hot on the fruit; let it stand four or six days at least. During that time bruise the fruit or squeeze it with your hands. Then draw or pour it off into a cask, & to every gallon of liquor, put two pounds & a half of fine sugar, or rather more; put some yeast on a slice of bread (warm) to work it. When done working, put a little brandy into the cask & fill it up. Bung it up close & let it stand six or twelve months; then bottle it off. This wine is nearer in flavor to port than any other. If made with cold water, it will be equally as good, but of a different color.
3. Five gallons cider, one gallon elder juice, one gallon port wine, one & one-quarter pint brandy, one & one-fifth ounces red tartar, one-fifth ounce catechu, one gill finings, one ounce logwood. Mix well & bung close.

RAISIN WINE (With Cider)
There are various modes of preparing this wine...For raisin wine without sugar, put to every gallon of soft water eight pounds of fresh Smyrna or Malaga raisins; let them steep one month, stirring every day. Then drain the liquor & put it into the cask, filling it up as it works over; this it will do for two months. When the hissing has in a great measure subsided, add brandy & honey, & paper.. This wine should remain three years untouched; it may then be drank from the cask, or bottled...Raisin wine is sometimes made in large quantities, by merely putting the raisins in the cask, & filling it up with water, the proportion as above; carefully pick out all stalks. In six months rack the wine into fresh casks, & put to each the proportion of brandy & honey. In cider countries & plentiful apple years, a most excellent raisin wine is made by employing cider instead of water, & steeping in it the raisins.

SHERRY WINE (With Cider)
To five gallons prepared cider add one quart spirits, three-quarters of a pound of raisins, three quarts good sherry, & a few drops oil bitter almonds (dissolved in alcohol). Let it stand ten days, & draw it off carefully. Fine it down, & again rack it into another cask.

SHERRY WINE - London Style (With Cider)
Twelve pounds chopped raisins, three gallons soft water, one pound sugar, one-half ounce white tartar, two quarts cider. Let them stand together in a close vessel one month; stir frequently. Then add one quart of spirits, one-quarter pound wild cherries bruised. Let them stand one month longer & fine with isinglass.

STRAWBERRY WINE, NO. 1 (With Cider)
Twelve gallons bruised strawberries, ten gallons cider, seven gallons water, twenty-five pounds sugar. Ferment, then add one-half ounce bruised orris root, one-half ounce bruised bitter almonds, one-half ounce bruised cloves, six ounces red tartar.

WHORTLEBERRY OR BILBERRY WINE (With Cider)
Take one & one-half gallons of cold soft water, one & one-half gallons cider, two gallons berries. Ferment. Mix five pounds sugar, four-fifths ounce tartar in fine power; add four-fifths ounce ginger in powder, one-half handful lavender & rosemary leaves, one & two-thirds pints British spirits.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

From Garden to Table at Mount Vernon - Punch with Rum

Martha Washington (1731-1802) - From the Garden to the Table 

While George Washington oversaw most aspects of managing Mount Vernon's  pleasure gardens & grounds, Martha Washington oversaw the Kitchen Garden (The Lower Garden), allowing her to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round.

The Kitchen Garden at Mount Vernon

“…impress it on the gardener to have every thing in his garden that will be nece]ssary in the House keeping way — as vegetable is the best part of our living in the country.” – Martha Washington, 1792

Inside the Kitchen at Mount Vernon

Outside The Kitchen at Mount Vernon

Punch

The popularity of punch is centuries old. East India merchants introduced it to the British in the late 1600s. William Byrd II, who founded the city of Richmond, referred to punch as “a very good, pleasant and healthful drink,” and Virginians enjoyed the beverage at various social gatherings.

Punch is often mentioned in connection with the Washingtons, who served it at many of their receptions and as part of offering a hospitable welcome to guests at Mount Vernon. For example, Julian Niemcewicz, who visited from Poland in 1798, noted that when he arrived, Martha Washington “appeared after a few minutes, welcomed us most graciously and had punch served.”

This sweet and tart libation comes together quickly and easily. Be advised, however, that it needs to be put in the refrigerator for several hours so the ingredients can marry and the punch can chill completely.

This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.

Ingredients

Juice of 5 limes

Water as needed

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

4 cups dark rum

2 cups French brandy

Directions

1. Mix the lime juice with an equal amount of water in a lidded 1-gallon jar. Add the sugar, and stir until dissolved. Stir in the rum and brandy, mixing until combined. Cover with the lid, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until well chilled.

2. To serve, place ice rings adorned with lime slices (if desired) in a large bowl, and pour in the punch.

Research & images & much more are available from the Mount Vernon website, MountVernon.org.

From Garden to Table at Mount Vernon - Rum

 Martha Washington (1731-1802) - From the Garden to the Table 

While George Washington oversaw most aspects of managing Mount Vernon's  pleasure gardens & grounds, Martha Washington oversaw the Kitchen Garden (The Lower Garden), allowing her to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round.

The Kitchen Garden at Mount Vernon

“…impress it on the gardener to have every thing in his garden that will be nece]ssary in the House keeping way — as vegetable is the best part of our living in the country.” – Martha Washington, 1792

Inside the Kitchen at Mount Vernon

Outside The Kitchen at Mount Vernon

In the matter of eating & drinking George Washington was temperate. For breakfast he ordinarily had tea & Indian cakes with butter & perhaps honey, of which he was very fond. His supper was equally light, consisting of perhaps tea & toast, with wine, & he usually retired at nine o'clock. Dinner was the main meal of the day at Mount Vernon, & usually was served at two o'clock. One such meal is thus described by a guest:  "He thanked us, desired us to be seated, & to excuse him a few moments.... The President came & desired us to walk in to dinner & directed  us where to sit, (no grace was said).... The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowls, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc. etc."   The General ordinarily confined himself to a few courses & if offered anything very rich, he would protest, "That is too good for me." He often drank beer with the meal, with one or two glasses of wine & perhaps as many more afterward, often eating nuts, another delicacy with him, as he sipped the wine.

Rum

Rum represented an important trade commodity between British North America and the Caribbean. Exterior Of The Curing House and Stills, Antigua, by William Clark, c. 1823, Courtesy, The British Library. [1786.c.9].

During the colonial era, rum was the preferred alcoholic drink of American colonists. By one estimate, colonists consumed 3.7 gallons annually per head by the time of the American Revolution.1 Naturally, when Britain sought to closely regulate and impose taxes on molasses, used in rum production, a spirited protest ensued. George Washington’s political, military, and personal relationship with rum exemplified the centrality of the drink to colonial society and American independence.

English rum distillation originated in Barbados in the 1630s. Although England’s Caribbean sugar colonies continued to produce the highest quality and best tasting rum, the mainland colonies in North America eventually took advantage of the growing demand for the popular drink. By the late seventeenth century, New England began distilling rum.

American production of rum boomed, as the colonies traded excess grains for molasses with Caribbean territories. By the English Navigation Acts, the colonies were restricted to trading for molasses with fellow English colonies. However, American colonial merchants flouted the regulations by smuggling cheaper molasses from French colonies, particularly Saint Domingue (Haiti), in the West Indies. With the 1733 Molasses Act, Britain imposed legislation aimed at limiting colonial access to foreign molasses. Instead, large-scale smuggling of molasses became even more commonplace.  While the Molasses Act should have raised 25,000 pounds each year, British officials collected only 259 pounds in 1735. 

The Molasses Act anticipated controversial British policies toward the American colonies in the 1760s. In 1764, Britain passed the Sugar Act, legislation that lowered taxation on molasses from six pence per gallon to three, yet encouraged the British Navy to put an end to smuggling. Upon discovering any contraband, the navy was permitted to seize half of the findings. In 1774, Robert Adam, a Scottish merchant residing in Alexandria, Virginia, wrote to George Washington arguing that rum should be imported “from the West Indies here, and not the Round about way from Philadelphia here at Second hand.”2 The tight regulation of molasses, accompanied by a war on colonial merchants, conducted by the Royal Navy, ultimately contributed to the American Revolution.

Like other prominent colonists, Washington interacted with rum in many aspects of his life. For instance, in order to win election in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1758, Washington attracted voters with charm, entertainment and rum. During his campaign, he supplied voters with 28 gallons of rum, 50 gallons of rum punch, and 82 gallons of wine, beer and cider. 

Just as Washington used rum to gain political victory, he also used the drink to boost morale among his soldiers. In June 1779, Washington informed General Alexander McDougall: “I have written to the Commissary urging him if possible to have a pretty good stock of rum at the forts to supply more constantly the fatigue parties.”3 Washington shared the view of many people at the time that liquor helped to keep tired people awake. A supply of rum could mean the difference between an exhausted soldier and one ready to wage war. 

Finally, Washington used rum to stabilize plantation life at Mount Vernon. In exchange for a day’s work, he gave his slaves an allowance of liquor. When Washington accused James Butler, an overseer at Mount Vernon, of allowing his slaves 36 pints of rum, Butler claimed that he had given a much smaller portion of “no more than a pint of rum & a pound of Meat to each man.”4 Even as Washington supplied rum to his enslaved workers, he also mandated limits to the practice. 

After the American Revolution, rum production continued in the British West Indies, but America’s consumption of the drink significantly decreased. Instead, Americans turned toward whiskey production. Washington, too, reflected this trend, constructing his own distillery at Mount Vernon in 1797.

By Emily Niekrasz, George Washington University

Notes:

1. Ian Williams, Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776 (New York: Nation Books, 2005), 166.

2. “Robert Adam to George Washington, 13 January 1774,” The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008).

3. “George Washington to Major General Alexander McDougall, 28 June 1779,” The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008).

4. “George Washington to Major General Alexander McDougall, 28 June 1779,” The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008).

Bibliography: 

Pogue, Dennis J. Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry. Harbour Books, 2011.

Salinger, Sharon V. Taverns and Drinking in Early America. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

Thompson, Peter. Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth Century Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press: 1999.

Williams, Ian. Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776. New York: Nation Books, 2005.