Happy Fourth of July everyone!
I always wondered what the Founding Fathers toasted with when they finished signing the Declaration of Independence. I mean you just signed something that will either make a bright new future or be the end of you. I would need a drink. Probably more than one. The Founding Fathers were no exception. Turns out that they did toast to their handiwork and the drink they were raising would have been Madeira.
Madeira, for those who aren't familiar, is a fortified wine from Portugal. In the time of our Founding Fathers, unfortified wines would spoil rather quickly due to the heat encountered during travel, but winemakers soon discovered that by adding brandy to stabilize and preserve the wine, they were able to create something that not only survived the heat and long travel time, but something that actually improved the flavor. Thus this rich wine became the drink of choice for many celebrations, including the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Inauguration our first president, George Washington (who was reported to enjoy a bottle of the stuff almost daily), and the Louisiana Purchase. Simply put if you had something to celebrate at the time, you needed a bottle of Madeira.
Though I find this exceptionally interesting, and would love to really honor Independence Day as my Founding Fathers did, I can't justify nor really want to try imbibing in a 17-20% alcohol in the middle of a southern summer when temps are hovering in the nineties. Not my idea of a poolside beverage. I prefer to celebrate the day with beer and the fireworks with a sparkler.
Usually I endeavor to find beers made in the USA to celebrate Independence Day. However, with a bounty of local breweries lining the shelves in shops and some breweries just a short drive, it's not hard to find something made in the States. So this year I decided to go with the most iconically American can art I could find. I mean if I am to sport the stars and stripes then my beer can should also show its patriotic side. I picked up the Summer variety pack from 21st Amendment Brewery in California. I've always loved their monument inspired designs and they make great beer to boot. I mean what could be more patriotic than drinking from a can stamped with the image of Lady Liberty or Abraham Lincoln and the rest of the Rushmore gang? Nothing, thats what.
Also, as we're celebrating, I snagged a bottle of bubbles and pack of sparklers (totally not made in the USA) so I may have my sparkles and drink them too. Since when did they start carding people for buying sparklers? The firework, not my bottle of bubbles. I mean, brilliant because yes, you do have to light them on fire, and yes, you should be responsible with fire, but I was completely unaware they started carding for these. They carded for the poppers, the little white balls you throw on the ground to pop). I got carded twice, which both made me feel wonderfully youthful and somewhat concerned that I wasn't dressed accordingly.
Anyway, happy celebrating to you all, my dear readers! Please watch the little ones and the fur babies, who both get startled when the sparks fly. Take caution and remember that fireworks and alcohol only mix as a spectator sport, from a distance. Seriously don't drink and light fireworks.
Cheers to Independence and Happy Fourth ya'll! .
I'm not known for my fondness of green dyed beer. In my family St.Patrick's day starts with a Guinness and ends with an Irish whiskey. Somewhere in between there's an Irish breakfast and some soda bread. We wear green, we don't drink green.
Green dyed beer is unanimously an American construct. Not in the least bit Irish, except maybe in inspiration. In fact, Irish people were still being introduced to green pints well into the 1980s. Yet every year, pints and pints of emerald colored beer march across bars from coast to coast in honor of St. Patrick. What I'd like to know is who was the first person to think, "you know beer is good, but green beer? You might just have something there!"
Some say the inspiration for the green colored beer may have come from the Irish tradition of "drowning the shamrock." On St. Patrick's night, the last pint or more appropriately the last glass of whiskey, gets a shamrock added to it in honor of the whiskey swigging saint himself. Then once the glass is empty, the drinker tosses the drunken shamrock over their left shoulder, which I can only think is for luck. I actually kind of love this tradition and am totally going to christen the last drink of the night with a shamrock. Though sadly I think my drowned shamrock will probably be fake... cause I have no idea where to find a real one. Also what happens if you drink the shamrock? Is that like less luck? Someone weigh in here!
It's quite possible that this was the inspiration for Dr. Thomas H. Curtin, the supposed creator of the green dyed pint. In 1914 Dr. Curtin, a coroner's physician, decided to contribute to his Bronx social club's festivities by bringing a round of brightly green beer. It was of course a hit and a number of fans asked for his recipe. All he would say of the ingredients was that he added a drop of "wash blue" to an unspecified volume of beer. Considering the number of recipe's now on the internet for how to make green beer (really ya'll?! You need a recipe for adding food coloring to beer?!) he hardly need bother being so cryptic. Especially since he most likely kinda poisoned his guests. "Wash Blue" is an iron powder that was added to laundry to brighten the whites. Probably not the greatest thing to have people guzzling by the pint. What doesn't kill you right?
However, there is also an article from 1910 that claims that a bartender at the First Avenue Bar in Spokane was serving green colored pints to patriotic Irishmen or anyone else who wanted to enjoy them. The journalist covering the story had one of the most priceless reactions. He wrote, "It tastes like beer, but looks like paint," which seems like his first impression. Then he had a few two many and thought he needed to elaborate his description of the beer. He added " or rather like deep green waves in mid ocean with the sun striking through them." Drunken poetry.
It tastes like beer, but looks like paint,
Celebrating all that we raise, sip, guzzle, clink, drinks and most affectionately cheers with!