Skip to comments.Thatís the Spirit: Booze From Local Crops Booming
Posted on 05/04/2013 11:45:33 AM PDT by Twotone
With all the orchards and corn fields that dot the Hudson Valley landscape, Tuthilltown Spirits doesnt have to look far for the grains and apples to make their whiskey, vodka, and gin.
The 10-year-old company crafts many of their liquors from ingredients grown no more than a few minutes away, the bounty of the rolling hills that surround it.
(Excerpt) Read more at theblaze.com ...
One for the home brewer’s list...
I hope this movement prospers. The only problem being outstanding success which invariably ruins the product.
What is sadly missing in America is the role of booze in the founding of America. Maybe if the word gets out college students would like learning more about the founding of this nation. There’s a reason there are so many apple trees.
There was a program on the History Channel that revolved around that topic. It was very convincing: meeting in taverns to plan actions against the British soldiers. It was quite entertaining and informative.
It’s important to note that alcohol also represents a very important alternative currency for farmers, since before the Republic.
Farming beyond subsistence has always been difficult, as a lean crop for all might mean better prices for all than a bumper crop. Crops also had to be processed then taken to market, sold wholesale, warehoused one way or another while losing much to insects and spoilage, before finally being sold at retail.
But if a farmer created liquor, his entire crop might amount to 10 gallons of easy to transport, high valued liquid that generally didn’t spoil.
And in many places, you had to drink beer or liquor, because the water was unreliable and might contain bacteria.
Finally, many beers and liquors had very high caloric content, so could tide you over when food was scarce.
George Washington’s beer recipe (slightly edited for clarity):
To Make Small Beer
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste.
Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gallons into a cooler.
Put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Molasses into the cooler & Strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot.
Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yeast. If the weather is very cold cover it over with a Blanket and let it work in the cooler 24 hours, then put it into the cask.
Leave the bung open till it is almost done Working. Bottle it that day of the week it was brewed.
George Washington’s Christmas eggnog was more to the point, and would about burn your socks off:
1 Pint Brandy
1/2 Pint Rye Whiskey
1/4 Pint Rum
1/4 Pint sherry
1-1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Quart Cream
1 Quart Milk
IIR, in the first part of the nineteenth century Americans drank cider rather than wine because apple trees were hardier than grape vines especially in New England.
Johnny Appleseed was about more than just encouraging apple production & consumption. In Germany, their “Apfelkorn” will knock your socks off. Cider needs to become once more part of the American family of adult beverages.
Lairds applejack is supposedly the oldest and stood(no pun intended ) operariting distillary. John Chapman, aka Appleseed is sopousedly associated by folklore. Search lairds applejack for more spirit to this post:)
Stood, meant to be still. My bad.
using it as a currency led to the whiskey rebellion.
I wouldn’t say that it lead to the rebellion. The currency had long been used, and was favored in the western regions as there was very little cash money around.
However the tax was unfair, in that large producers in the East could pay a flat rate in cash, producing as much liquor as they wanted, but if you had little money to pay, you had to provide part of your whiskey, a progressive tax, in effect, an income tax.
The impulse behind that tax was only partly to raise revenue. More than that, it was to establish federal authority over the West. This was seen as vital because of all the colonial and post colonial revolts, such as Shays’ Rebellion, the War of the Regulation, Pontiac’s Revolt (that was particularly bloody), etc. There had been rebellions a hundred years before that.
In effect, many of the United States still saw themselves as autonomous, to the point if they didn’t like something the national government did, they could secede at will.
yes, I meant the tax on the whisky. Don’t you wish your last sentence was true today?
I’ll keep that recipe for next year’s Christmas. Thanks!
I’ve often wondered why farmers don’t pick their crops & utilize them for wine. Even using for barter under the table would make more sense then letting it rot.
Let me suggest a classic holiday treat, a rum fruitcake.
A calendar month before Christmas, get a ring fruitcake in a tin. Then each and every day, remove the lid and dribble a single tablespoon, no more, of Myer’s Dark Rum over it before replacing the lid. More than a tablespoon a day and it will get mushy.
When the guests arrive, take the cake from the tin and put it on a glass plate for serving *thin* slices. It has serious muzzle velocity, and traditionally (from the prohibition years), a small plate with whole cloves is left next to it, chewing on a clove to help cover the alcohol smell. Do not consume near open fire or flame.
Guests will be complementing you over your fruitcake for a very long time.
Christmas dinner dessert also traditionally has a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a little creme de menthe dribbled over it for the kids.
This reminds me! It’s about time to make German honey cookies, because they need to age for six months for full flavor and ripeness. They are the brandy of cookies.
Hard apple cider was the most popular drink from the Revolution until the German beer breweries became popular in mid-nineteenth century. Johnny Appleseed spread his cheer because apple as cider was much easier to transport (and got a better price) than apples in the original state.
Yum! That sounds wonderful, as do the German Honey cookies. Have you ever posted that recipe to the weekly cooking thread?
(The German honey cookie recipe takes a lot of preparation, starting with the purchase of seasonal ingredients during the Christmas season, that then are stored for a good five months before being used. This is before the cookies are even made, much less aged, so the entire recipe takes about a year to make. It contains no grease or oil, which could turn rancid, other than a tiny amount of citrus oil.)
German Honey Cookies
(full maturity at 6 months)
Heat 1 pint of honey to boil, then cool until
Finely chop 3 ounces each of candied citron, candied orange and candied lemon peel. Mix it with:
1 cup sliced then chopped blanched almonds
1 tsp grated lemon zest
3 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
6 beaten eggs.
Mix 1 tbsp baking soda in 2 tbsp hot water, then add it and the honey to the mix, then add:
1/4 cup orange juice.
Then stir in 5 cups bread flour, using a bread mixer.
Permit the refrigerated dough to rest for 12 hours
Drop small amounts from a spoon onto non-stick baking sheets. Bake in a 350F oven for 8-10 minutes.
For icing, mix 2 cups confectioners sugar with 3 tbsp or more boiling water and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Brush on cooled cookies.
Fresh cookies are somewhat tame in character, and the longer they age, up to a year, the better they taste. It is best to store them in a large tin, with layers of waxed paper in between.
Alternatively, the dough can be baked into a loaf as a mild honey fruitcake, and can be eaten soon after it has cooled, with some whipped cream topping. Because it is not stored a great length of time, nuts can be added to the loaf for a little more character.
Thanks! I’ll have to try that. :-)
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