The Pilgrims Drank Beer?

Drink like a pilgrim…

Believe it or not, the pilgrims brought beer to the new world with them. Yes, beer. Alcohol was only frowned upon when it was abused. You’ve heard the term, “don’t drink the water.” That saying doesn’t only apply to trips to Mexico. In the seventeenth century water was often polluted and went rancid quickly when stored in wooden barrels, whereas liquor kept well at sea.

What kind of beer did the pilgrims drink? One source speculates bitters. Bitters is an English term for pale ale. Pale ale is a common style of beer, however back in the seventeenth century pale ale was made from malt dried with coke. No, not Coca Cola, coke is a form of coal.

Beer was actually safer to drink than water.Everyone including children drank beer. Beer and wine were standard drinks in their day and in hindsight, they were also preventatives.

Fun Facts

  • The polyphenols in beer and wine act as an anti-microbial agent and prevent bacterial diarrhea
  • The alcohol in beer killed bugs like typhus and cholera
    • Typhus is a bacterial disease that results in rashes, high fevers, chills, delirium, nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, all over body and joint pain
    • Cholera is a bacterial infection in the small intestines resulting in vomiting and diarrhea

There were no facilities on the ship unless you count the buckets that were used. There was also no bathing as the questionable water was very guarded. One can only assume that it was boiled and used for cooking.

Only forty of the 130 people on the Mayflower were seeking religious freedom. The passenger list for the Mayflower consisted of 50 men, 20 women, 32 children and the rest were the crew. Even though the religious freedom seekers called the rest of the passengers adventurers, in the end all the passengers were known as pilgrims. The Mayflower’s voyage lasted 65 days. Can you imagine the condition of these poor souls living in cramped quarters and non-existent hygiene?

Beer didn’t have the same connotations back then as it does today. The pilgrims weren’t having happy hours. They were just trying to survive.

So if you want to drink like a pilgrim, enjoy pale ale in moderation and call it medicinal. Tell people that you are staving off bacteria.

Improved Whiskey Cocktail

Bons Vivants in the City

First off, happy birthday Jerry Thomas! He would be 182 today, or maybe 183 (his birth year isn’t definite). There hasn’t really been anyone like Jerry Thomas since his days as the greatest celebrity bartender, and there certainly aren’t any better drinks than those he left to us under the heading of ‘cocktail.’ Being the dedicated American(ist)s we are, we have to start this blog off with his Improved Whiskey Cocktail (there are brandy and gin ones as well – another time).

In the original printing of his The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion, Thomas lays out three categories of cocktails: plain, fancy, and improved. Remember, of course, that the word, ‘cocktail,’ did not have the general meaning it does today of any old mix of liquor and (semi-edible) liquid. The word was used of a particular class of mixed drinks consisting of a…

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Tulsa Oktoberfest is this Weekend

Tulsa, Okla., boasts one of the top ten festivals in the country per USA Today. More than 60,000 people are expected and more than 20,000 pounds of brats will be sold. Tulsa Oktoberfest runs from this Thursday through Sunday. This is the place for a rowdy Saturday night. Tents will be bursting at the seams with crowds doing their best chicken dance.

I can’t wait for the familiar sight of lederhosen, beer pitchers, bratwurst and chicken hats. There will be carnival rides, games, crowds singing, bands playing and don’t forget the belly dancers and wiener dog races. Although you might not consider them a German tradition, they are a tradition at the Tulsa Oktoberfest. They just prove that Tulsa Oktoberfest doesn’t take itself too seriously.

And really isn’t that what it’s all about. It’s a great excuse to drink good beer, dance a silly dance or two and have a good time.

Tulsa Oktoberfest info below from their website

The 2012 Tulsa Oktoberfest is to be held October 18-21. Hours for the festival are as follows:

  • Thursday: 5-11 PM
  • Friday: 11 AM – 11:30 PM
  • Saturday: 10 AM – 11:30 PM
  • Sunday: 12 – 6 PM
Admission is $6, payable at the gate via cash or credit card. Kids 12 & under get in free! The festival grounds are at River West Festival Park, 2100 S. Jackson Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma. You may click here for a map.


Book Review: Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All

Great post

The Liquid Culture Project

And now for a book review.

When I made the decision to rededicate myself to this industry this past April, the first book I picked up was “Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All” by Brad Thomas Parsons. I don’t know exactly how or why I came by it, but I did and I am all the better for it.

In “Bitters”, Parsons approaches the fabled cocktail ingredient through a refined lens comprising history, theory and application. He perfectly melds bitters into its rightful place in the cocktailing world and separates them for an academic analysis of what they are, where they came from, where they have been, where they are now and where they are going. The answers to all of these questions are enlightening.

Bitters are an essential cocktail ingredient: “spirit, sugar, water and bitters.” Technically speaking, you can’t have a cocktail without them. Parsons’s survey of bitters’s historical…

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What the heck? Jiggers

What in the heck is a jigger?

Could you guess which of the below terms describes the item on the right?

  1. A  hand-operated railway car
  2. A flea found in tropical climates that may cause an inflammatory skin disease
  3.  A machine used in the production of pottery
  4.  A tool used to measure alcoholic beverage ingredients
  5. A pallet jack

If you guessed number four you are correct. The item on the right is a jigger and is sold by Harmon Supply Inc., in various sizes as seen below.

  •  0.5oz x 1.5oz
  • 0.75oz x 1.25oz
  • 0.75oz x 1.5oz
  • 1oz x 1.5oz

I should go on to tell you that all the terms listed above do describe jiggers. I can only speculate that a jigger is really one of those catch all names like doohickey, whatcha-ma-call-it and thingy. I really hate the use of thingy, and horror upon horrors, thing-a-ma-jigger. Ugh!

Jiggers are essential for creating complicated drinks when too much or too little of an ingredient could ruin the end result. So, respect the jigger.

Peachy Misfortunes

I had some fresh peaches lying around the house on this past warm sunny weekend and thought why not experiment with some more peach cocktails. I’ve made some in the past, to more success, but on this occasion, not my most successful pairings. I hope to keep this blog honest and post my unsuccessful creations as well as the successful ones so anyone reading, if wanting to try at home could take from what I learnt and built upon it.

I thought the peach would pair will with Leffe since it was so successful in my other beer cocktail, and for some crazy reason since since the Persimmon Bitter’s used by Cari Hah paired so well with Japanese Whisky, I went for it… crazy idea it was. Looked great, taste, meh.

Then I thought, hmm lets try out that Monaco Friar cocktail I saw in one of the cocktail books and…

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CHOW HOUND, Made in Rochester edition: Fee Brothers, Karma Sauce Company, Ouzon Soda, Full Throttle Sauces, Stuart’s Spices, Karma Wellness Water, SoyBoy, Chickpea Magazine

City Newspaper


While it really qualifies more as old-fashioned common sense rather than a popular movement, locavore eating is all about reducing your carbon footprint by subsisting on the ingredients closest to home. And this philosophy doesn’t just apply to whatever you can pull out of the ground or score from a nearby farm; it also involves supporting the local makers of products that could enhance your enjoyment of that heirloom tomato, just-picked peach, or grass-fed beef.

Hence, “Made in Rochester.” This is just the first in a series that will showcase edible goods made right here in and around the Greater Rochester area. So if there’s a local food company you think should be on our radar, please let us know by sending us the info to

“The House of Fee by the Genesee since eighteen hundred and sixty-three” goes the rhyme honoring the history of Fee…

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What the Heck? Church Keys

Basically its a bottle/can opener. One myth is that  its derived from beer brewing monks who locked away their special brew with large metal keys in the medievel times. Right…… That sounds a little romantic to me.

Another myth is that it’s named for its large simple metal shape which looks like old simple church keys.

No matter the origins you’ll find these everywhere whether you call it a bottle opener, can opener or a church key.

Well lets give this a whirl!

Great Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix idea


I have considered myself a Bloody Mary aficianado since I turned 21, and before that quite the expert on tomato juices seeing as my grandmother had me drinking V-8 juice as a baby I have always had a taste for it. I graduated to virgin mary’s then began sampling the Bloody Mary’s at local restaurants and bars when I came of age.

So that being said, when a new mix or “mary” drink catches my eye, I HAVE to try it!

First lets look at the Budweiser Chelada. “Enjoy the best of two worlds: a refreshing Budweiser and the unique flavor of Clamato.”  It went down easy like a beer and had that zip and smokey spice I like in a bloody mary. YUM! This would be a great drink for appetizers and snacks! It’s really good. But…..I am a petite gal and I drink slow, so this large can…

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How bout dem apples…

Great Post for September, Like Apples? (Fee Brothers)

I had just finished working on Snow White and The Huntsmen, revision after revision of this one shot where the bitten apple melts away in her hand, and lets just say I was inspired, or couldn’t get apples out of my head. I suppose its also sufficient to say as a born and raised Bostonian, we never really live down that famous line from Good Will Hunting. I had seen this idea before at a Bourbon Sour off held at Uva Wine Bar in Vancouver, with a sour made by Joel Virginillo of The Refinery (an amazing drinking establishment if you ever find yourself up north), where he pre-made caramel apples, froze them and used them as an ice cube in the cocktail. Pic of that inspiration here. I shared this idea with Matt over at Library as well and if you were lucky enough to stop by there…

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