I tend to drink more in the fall. Maybe it’s the looming of my upcoming birthday, maybe it’s the slight chill in the air, hell, maybe it’s the pheromones in the air. For whatever reason, I enjoy throwing more than a couple back in September. The shift of season brings on richer, more full bodied cocktails with wonderfully rich spices and deviant amounts of booze… Just my style.
I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I like the empire and all of its trappings, especially with the boozing and the wenching and more boozing. It gave us things like the gin and tonic – actually anything and tonic, IPAs, and naval strength spirits. The Victorian Era saw a whole proliferation of beer cocktails. Many of them made possible by the reach of both the commercial and colonial empire that reached its zenith during this time.
Spices and sugar from around the world, spirits and wines imported from all over Europe, and industrialization bringing luxuries into the reach of more and more people of all classes. Right in the middle of this era was Charles Dickens. He imbued many of his novels with wonderful descriptions of the indulgences at table and bottle, using them to help set the scene and illustrate the atmosphere.
If you were to carefully read all of his books you could collect all of the drinks and track them down and see what they were drinking. Thankfully, Dickens’s great grandson Cedric Dickens had done us the favour of collecting them for us in a book called “Drinking With Dickens.” It’s been fun going through it and picking out some beer cocktails from his great grandfathers’ era to play with. The first two to catch my eye were the Dog’s Nose and the Champagne Velvet. Continue Reading