Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History, offers a peek into the barrooms and battlefields of the revolution, and a sip from the punch bowls of our ancestors. Within its pages you’ll find the stories behind everything from our founding fathers’ favorite tipples to the surprising origins of American beer, wine, rum, and whiskey. This isn’t a simple history, or even a recipe book: it’s an almanac of alcohol and the birth of our nation, with lists, charts, and recipes alongside tall tales and folklore.
While researching for “Colonial Spirits”, Tamworth Distilling founder Steven Grasse came across a recipe from 1st Lady Martha Washington’s journals for Cherry Bounce. To pick up on this tradition we recreated a new recipe based off her husband’s favorite tipple, to release alongside Colonial Spirits.
Cherry Bounce was a tasty way to preserve the fresh fruit of harvests all year round, and in this case to flavor a spirit. Sweet Lips has a base of house made rye whiskey, stored in oak with Cherries, apple brandy and neutral spirits for infusing.
Starting with Martha’s simple recipe, we wanted to make something that was true to history but also something that is a truly unique interpretation. The project started by investigating Martha’s original recipe, which was focused around the flavor of cherry pits. Once we established our base, we added Tahitian vanilla, which contributed deep notes of leather, tobacco, and nuts. To provide a rustic, smoky edge we also added a distillate of smoked cardamom to play off Martha’s classic baking spices.
Additionally, a very subtle background of heavy, floral notes were added to skew the profile from excessively warm to slightly fruity. A bittersweet balance is essential to easy sipping and this was achieved with a long infusion of wild cherry bark. With the final recipe down, our Cherry Bounce Liqueur of course required a name!
George Washington became recognized as the father of the American Foxhound when he began breeding French Hounds with Black and Tan Hounds. Sweet Lips was his most prized hound, among others including Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy. Sweet Lips was his most favored traveling companion, along with a canteen of Cherry Bounce.
Sweet Lips is available at Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile, alongside Colonial Spirits, while supplies last. You can also pick up your copy of Colonial Spirits at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or order online here: www.colonialspiritsbook.com