Before the Cocktail, They Drank Sangarees
My favorite new drink is a riff on a very, very old one: the Apple Ginger Sangaree*.
The original Sangaree is Madeira, water, sugar and nutmeg. Although they are commonly made with spirits or beer as well. The Sangaree dates back to colonial times and was a favorite of tavern-goers, along with grogs, flips, punches and mulled wines.
Nutmeg is the key. Colonists were such big fans of nutmegs they used to carry their own nutmeg around in a little silver case with grater in tow.
The cocktail, a Johnny-come-lately in comparison, wasn't really a common term until after the 1800s. The "cock tail" is first mentioned in 1806.
I realize Sangaree sounds a lot like Sangria, but its cold and rainy outside so I'm done with boxed wine and chopped fruit. Sangaree does, however, mean the same thing: Blood. I remember reading its origin is in the West Indies.
Anyway, from now on I'm going to be more annoying than a college "indie" radio DJ, "I like their early stuff." All my drinks are going to be pre-cocktail, colonial concoctions. I'm so f-cking cool.
* I substitue White Port and Falernum for Ginger Wine.