Massachusetts Historical Society

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Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England

At MHS
Corin Hirsch

Colonial New England was awash in ales, beers, wines, cider and spirits. Everyone from teenage farmworkers to our founding fathers imbibed heartily and often. Tipples at breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner were the norm, and low-alcohol hard cider was sometimes even a part of children’s lives. This burgeoning cocktail culture reflected the New World’s abundance of raw materials: apples, sugar and molasses, wild berries and hops. This plentiful drinking sustained a slew of smoky taverns and inns—watering holes that became vital meeting places and the nexuses of unrest as the Revolution brewed. New England food and drinks writer Corin Hirsch explores the origins and taste of the favorite potations of early Americans and offers some modern-day recipes to revive them today.

Corin Hirsch is an award-winning food and drinks writer at Seven Days, the alt-weekly in Burlington, Vermont. She learned to pull a pint of Schlitz (for her grandfather) at the age of six, and she used to tend bar inside a sixteenth-century English pub. She has written about craft beer for Serious Eats and also ghost-blogs and writes in the wine world. This is her first book.

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