The Food Journal Volume 1 (London, 1871) is a recent find, and is proving to be a wonderful source of ideas and stories. Today I give you a topic close to my heart – two topics in one, actually – tea, and wine.
The following excerpt from the journal is most interesting:
“Tea and moss up to the present time have not been regarded by total abstainers as containing any intoxicating properties; but for the future they will be looked upon with considerable suspicion. “The cup that cheers, but not inebriates,” has been found by Dr Thudichum to be capable of yielding a very excellent wine, wholesome and pleasant to the taste; while M. Stenburg, the Professor of Chemistry at Stockholm, has succeeded in extracting, by distillation, alcohol and brandy, from the Iceland Reindeer Moss. The starch, which it contains in large quantities, is transformed into grape sugar, and subsequently fermented. The value of the discovery lies not so much, perhaps, in the production of the alcohol as in the substitution of the Iceland Moss for other and more valuable grain crops, which are at present grown solely for distillation. In the interesting lecture delivered before the Society of Arts, in which Dr Thudichum brought forth his tea wine, he mentioned the unpleasant fact that very many sherries contain sulphite of potassium, which adds to the bitter taste, and is frequently purgative. He advises us to stick to three wines on our tables – a clear sound wine for thirst; a delicate wine, such as Burgundy or champagne, for tickling the palate; and, after dinner, claret or good port. If Dr Thudichum would go a little further, and tell us where to get the latter, he would make us for ever grateful.”
I will continue this theme tomorrow with Dr Thudichum’s own words on his experiments, which are indeed interesting. Tea-champagne anyone?
Recipe for the Day.
There is more than one way to have alcohol with your tea, or tea with your alcohol.
Make an infusion of the best green tea, an ounce to a quart of boiling water; put before the fire a silver or other metal bowl, to become quite hot, and then put into ti
½ pint of good brandy
½ do. rum
¼ lb. lump sugar
The juice of a large lemon.
Set these alight, and pour in the tea gradually, mixing it from time to tie with a ladle; it will remain burning for some time, and is to be poured in that state into the glasses; in order to increase the flavour, a few lumpos of the sugar should be rubbed over the lemon peel. This punch may be made in a china bowl, but in that case the flame goes off more rapidly.
How to mix drinks: or, The bon-vivant's companion (1862)
Quotation for the Day.
Oh, some are fond of Spanish wine and some are fond of French,
And some’ll swallow tay and stuff fit only for a wench.
John Masefield (1878-1967) Captain Stratton’s Fancy
You know, here in the States there is a huge proliferation of "natural" beverages, alcoholic or not. I could see reindeer moss or tea wines fitting into the trend. It all depends on the marketing.
And may I say, Dr. Thudichum is the most delightful name I've heard all month!
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