Book, Colonial Spirits

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Several New York towns claim to have invented the cocktail. In Lewiston, New York, a colonial-era tavern owner used to stir her mixed drinks with rooster feathers. The earliest published recipe comes from Hudson, New York in 1806, reprinted in this book. Other drinks like the New Amsterdam are found inside too, as well as a colorful history of the spruce beers, mulled ciders, winter grogs, and rum punches that kept the earliest New Yorkers in good spirits.


In Colonial Spirits, Steven Grasse presents a historical manifesto on drinking, including 50 colonial era– inspired cocktail recipes. The book features a rousing timeline of colonial imbibing and a cultural overview of a dizzying number of drinks: beer, rum and punch; temperance drinks; liqueurs and cordials; medicinal beverages; cider; wine, whiskey, and bourbon—all peppered with liquored-up adages from our founding fathers. There is also expert guidance on DIY methods for home brewing. Imbibe your way through each chapter, with recipes like the Philadelphia Fish House Punch (a crowd pleaser!) and Snakebites (drink alone!). Hot beer cocktails and rattle skulls have never been so completely irresistible.