Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Effervescing Fruit Drinks

Mrs. Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book [1850]

Another temperance beverage!

Effervescing Fruit Drinks.
Very fine drinks for summer are prepared by putting strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries into good vinegar and then straining it off, and adding a new supply of fruit till enough flavor is secured, as directed in Strawberry Vinegar. Keep the vinegar bottled, and in hot weather use it thus. Dissolve half a teaspoonful or less of saleratus*, or soda in a tumbler, very little water till the lumps are all out. Then fill the tumbler two-thirds full of water, and then add the fruit vinegar. If several are to drink, put the soda, or saleratus into the pitcher, and then put the fruit vinegar into each tumbler, and pour the alkali water from the pitcher into each tumbler, as each person is all ready to drink, as delay spoils it.


Brrrrrrrrr. All right, have rinsed my mouth out now. But it lingers. Oh, how it lingers. Did you notice the lack of sugar? Because I didn't, until I actually started making the recipe. I was concerned, but thought the strawberry might somehow take the edge off, or that the alkalinity of the baking soda would nullify the acid. Not so. Not so. Also, that's a full 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water. I was also silly and added the vinegar to the glass while at my kitchen table. A quick sprint to the sink while yelling, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" was necessary when strawberry vinegar-y foam started pouring over my hand in a seemingly never-ending cascade.

So, the taste. It is like chugging a mouthful of burning, fiery vinegar that is also alive, like some sort of shrieking monster clawing its way down your throat. Have a lemon shrub instead.

*Salaratus is the naturally occurring form of baking soda.


Nonna said...

LOL ! The last sentence on the post explains it all, but oh, you were brave for trying this concoction !

Jana said...

Thanks. ;D I try, so others don't have to.

Amber said...

From your description it seems that this would drive someone to drink rather than promote temperance!!!

Jana said...

Hm, good point!

Angelina said...

This is the most charming food blog. You're so funny! I have always been fascinated by old recipes and how they would taste- now I can know it all without assaulting myself unnecessarily!


Jana said...

Thank you, Angelina! Don't write them all off though, you never know when you're going to find a forgotten gem.

Angelina said...

I won't write them all off- I'll just let you weed out the really scary ones! I have a vintage recipe binder that someone put together and I mean to try some of the scrawled recipes in it. It belonged to some lady who clipped them from magazines, got recipes from friends, etc. It's very cool. One of my first and favorite cookbooks I ever got was a 1948 printing of the Joy of Cooking- I'm a vegetarian so there are many things I can't eat but it's a fantastic reference. I've learned to cook many things from it.


Jana said...

Recipes hand-written on scraps of paper are usually good, in sharp contrast to some of the slick recipes published by recipe developers working off what they think people will think is cool and hip at the time.

Miss Kagashi said...

Hey Jana,

A cohort and I have been asked to host a party at a steampunk convention rather on the fly. We've decided to throw a temperance party since it's just the two of us keeping the thing under control and quite frankly, we're not prepared to deal with serving alcohol. We've planned on three hot tea tastings, a sipping chocolate, and ginger beer. Any suggestions on tasty temperance bevs. from the Regency, Victorian, or Edwardian eras that are fairly easy to do and pocketbook friendly?

Jana said...

Fun! I highly recommend a selection of shrubs. I made lemon shrub here [http://timetravelkitchen.blogspot.com/2010/06/rasberry-sugar-and-lemon-shrub.html] and it is my favorite thus far. Get some vinegar and a selection of fruit [raspberry and strawberry were particularly popular]. If you've got a few weeks, stick the various things in their own bottles of vinegar to sit in your refrigerator. I like Mason jars for this purpose. If you're pressed for time, simmer the stuff in its vinegar to give it a kickstart.

Simmer with sugar, then serve by mixing a shot of it with water.

I've thought before that shrubs would be excellent for steampunk-related events. Plus, in this way, you get a whole variety of drinks for cheap.

Miss Kagashi said...

Awesome! I'll try out some shrubbery then- I have two weeks and most of the recipes I've been eyeballing call for 10-14 days' steeping. A few berry varieties might be nice after the spicy tang of the ginger beer that's sitting in my basement.

Jana said...

Best of luck!