Americans in the early 19th-century drank a lot. And when you really enjoy something, you come up with multiple variations and derivations of it. And you get very creative in naming your variations and derivations. Nineteenth-century Americans got very creative, indeed, in naming their variations of juleps and flips and punches. There are political names (Polk and Dallas were the U. S. President and Vice President from 1845-1849; “Tip and Ty” was a popular campaign song in the 1840 Presidential election), names based on ingredients (though, if mint julep has mint in it, one flinches to think what must have been in a racehorse julep … ); there are regional names (“Knickerbocker” and “Virginia fancy”) and descriptive names (“phlegm-cutter” is … vivid).

John Russell Bartlett probably was more interested in the variety than he was in the poetry of the possibly hyperbolic list of kinds of liquor he included in the Dictionary of Americanisms. But there’s music here: “slingflip,” “switchel-flip,” “porteree,” “ropee.” And the sheer variety is enticing. A recipe for milk punch is included in The Kentucky Housewife (1839), as is a recipe for sangaree, also mentioned in the Dictionary.

Orignally, the list was formatted in three columns; it’s been reformatted here. The word “do.” is “ditto.”

Drink up!
“Liquor” (from Dictionary of Americanisms, by John Russell Bartlett; NY: Bartlett & Welford, 1848; p. 208)

LIQUOR: Many and very singular names have been given to the various compounds or mixtures of spirituous liquors and wines, served up in fashionable bar-rooms in the United States. The following list is taken from one advertisement:

Plain mint julep.
Fancy do.
Mixed do.
Peach do.
Pineapple do.
Claret do.
Capped do.
Strawberry do.
Arrack do.
Racehorse do.
Sherry cobbler.
Rochelle do.
Arrack do.
Peach do.
Claret do.
Tip and Ty.
Fiscal agent.
Slip ticket.
Polk and Dallas.
I. O. U.
Tippe na Pecco.
Moral suasion.
Vox populi.
Ne plus ultra.
Virginia fancy.
Pig and whistle.
Citronella Jam.
Egg nog.
Silver top.
Poor man’s punch.
Arrack do.
Iced do.
Spiced punch.
Epicure’s do.
Milk punch.
Cherry do.
Peach do.
Jewett’s fancy.
Stone wall.
Soda punch.
&c. &c.
Copyright 1999-2024, Pat Pflieger
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