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FC 88 Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England with Corin Hirsch

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Corin Hirsch, the author of the book Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England: From Flips & Rattle-Skulls to Switchel & Spruce Beer.

Bio – Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch is a drinks writer as well as associate editor and writer for Convene Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England with Corin Hirsch on Fieldstone CommonMagazine. Previously she was an award-winning culinary writer at Seven Days, the alternative weekly newspaper in Burlington, Vermont where she profiled chefs, farmers, cheese makers, brewers and trends in the hotbed of farm-to-table fare, and developed seasonal recipes and cocktails. Her work has also appeared in a range of regional publications. She is a member of the Association for Food Journalists, and recently won a 2nd Place for Best Food Writing from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

Corin learned to pull a pint of Schlitz (for her grandfather) at the age of six, and she used to tend bar inside a sixteenth-century English pub. She has written about craft beer for Serious Eats and also ghost-blogs and writes in the wine world. This is her first book.

Book Summary

Colonial New England was awash in ales, beers, wines, cider and spirits. Everyone from teenage farm workers 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. 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.

Publication InfoForgotten Drinks of Colonial New England with Corin Hirsch on Fieldstone Common

Title: Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England: From Flips & Rattle-Skulls to Switchel & Spruce Beer

Publisher: The History Press (2014)

Trade Paperback; 126 pages with a glossary, sources, an index, recipes and lots of photos and illustrations.

Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England: From Flips & Rattle-Skulls to Switchel & Spruce Beer is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Corin and I dig into the how, where, why and when of Colonial drinking! Did you know that Harvard University had its own brewery?  Have you ever heard of Flip, Grog, Stone Fence or Rattle-Skulls? We’ll explain what those are during the show. We also discuss what Benjamin Franklin did every time he entered a pub. Get comfortable and join for this fun discussion!

Links mentioned during the interview

  • The Inn at Weathersfield (VT) – Take a drinks class with Corin Hirsch in a beautiful 21 acres setting in Vermont. Date of class: December 6, 2014

Prize Winner

One copy of Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England is given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of The History Press.

The winner is:

  • Larry McGrail of Arizona

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to The History Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

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News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 87)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 87 is the number of the episode.


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  1. Interesting podcast. Until now, I didn’t know about the origin of Madeira wine. Sounds like a fascinating book and I’d like to try some of the recipes in it.

    1. That was new to me about Madeira as well. Very interesting story. I’m going to have to try some soon!

  2. The town I grew up in still has a night where kids go house to house singing Christmas Carols collecting change for charity. One of my favorite memories as a kid was always having wassail at the after-party. I have no idea if it was just mulled cider or a traditional recipe, but this podcast brought back those memories as a kid. Thank you for that walk down my personal memory lane.

    1. It’s wonderful to hear that! I love to hear about stories that spark memories. I spent some time in Ireland and I came home with a great recipe for mulled wine. I hadn’t really had mulled wine before then. Lots of great recipes and memory-sparks in this book!

  3. Fascinating topic and well presented. I love this podcast. I’ll toast you tonight!

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