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.
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.