We’ve got nothing against a good hot toddy or spiked eggnog, but this year we’re turning to the pages of Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History, to bring something a little more unique to the holiday table. Please enjoy these 5 Colonial libations picked from our go-to recipe book. For more recipes, you can pick up your copy of Colonial Spirits at Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and online here.


The Snakebite is a modern monstrosity that calls to mind nothing so much as the indelibly awful Alannah Myles’s international Top 10 hit from 1989, “Black Velvet,” which is also a thing that some people call the Snakebite. Bill Clinton was famously refused one in England, proving that while we may have won our independence, the Brits got to keep their dignity. Even so, we can admit (though not in mixed company, of course)…it’s not bad.



Snakebite (p.64)

1 cup Hard Apple Cider

1 cup brown ale or Stock Ale

Pour fresh hard apple cider into a pint glass. Slowly top with the brown ale or stock ale.


When colonists realized they had neither the supplies nor the tools to properly make the traditional (and often meaty) suet puddings they’d enjoyed on the other side of the Atlantic, the cobbler was born. These were a sweeter, somewhat lighter affair, with fruit flavors being at the core. Cobblers were traditionally made from a base spirit (most popular was sherry), sugar, fruit, and citrus (acid). Since shrubs contain sugar, fruit, and acid; we’ll use them here to create these modern interpretations. Do use dry wines, and depending on your taste when it comes to sweet things, you may want to dial up the amount of shrub to taste.


Red Cobbler (p.84)

½ cup red wine, preferably dry

¾ ounce Strawberry Shrub

1 to 2 strawberries, thinly sliced

.In a cocktail shaker full of ice, combine wine & shrub. Strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish.

Ah, but as we know, ice cream would have been on hand in the colonial era. And ginger beer, too! Although this is a temperance recipe, this drink greatly benefits from 2 ounces


Ginger Beer Float (p. 140)

2 oz of Art in the Age Chicory Root

½ cup vanilla ice cream

1 cup Ginger Beer

Add ice cream into a tall glass. Pour in a 2 oz of Chicory Root Vodka. Top glass with ginger beer.

Fish House Punch is refreshing. It’s light on the palate, and yet it has the power to knock even the most stout historical figure on his/her posterior. And as it happens, it is what we mean when we say punch, but seldom receive.

Dissolve all of the sugar in one pint (.5 quart) of water. Strain the lemon juice and add it to the dissolved sugar.

Fish House Punch (p.105)

1 quart of Lemon Juice

1 quart of Camp Robber Whiskeyjack

5 quarts of Rum

5 pounds of Sugar

4 ½ quarts Water

Add all ingredients into a punch bowl with ice. Serve into individual glasses and garnish with fresh lemon.

Make no mistake: When we/they say “Ass’s Milk,” we/they mean “that milk which would be produced by a donkey.” And when we/they say “Artificial Ass’s Milk,” we/they mean “the next best thing to that milk which would be produced by a donkey.” That may sound like we’re damning it with faint praise, but in our experience, it has proven best to just drink it and leave as much as possible unsaid.



Artificial Ass Milk (p. 138)

2 cups skim milk

¼ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium-high heat. Add sugar & salt. Stir until dissolved. Serve immediately.