Merry Christmas, Frontier Partisans!
In the spirit of our sojourn in the 18th Century, I give you a set of Colonial American Christmas music.
You might pair it with George Washington’s preferred winter cocktail, Cherry Bounce.
Cherry trees were grown at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate, for many years. Records show that the cherries were harvested in June and then dried and preserved for use in the winter. The cherries were used to make tart and pies, candy, wine, and alcoholic beverages.
The Cherry Bounce is an alcoholic drink made with mashed cherries and left to sweeten in brandy for 24 hours; then spices are added to the concoction to ferment. According to Abigail Adams, then wife of the then Vice President, the cherry bounce was a traditional Dutch holiday treat in New York. According to his diaries, George Washington packed a canteen of Cherry Bounce, along with port and madeira wines, for one of his trips west in September of 1784.
The recipe for this drink was found among Martha Washington’s surviving papers on an undated manuscript in an unknown hand, written on George Washington’s watermark paper, entitled “To Make Excellent Cherry Bounce.” (Note that the spelling below is reflective of the times and not in error.)
“Extract the juice of 20 pounds well ripend morrella cherrys
Add to this 10 quarts of old french brandy and sweeten it with
white sugar to your taste—To 5 Gallons of this mixture add one ounce
of spice such as cinnamon, cloves and Nutmegs of each an Equal
quantity slightly bruisd and a pint and half of cherry
kirnels that have been gently broken in a mortar—After the
liquor has fermented let it stand close-stoped for a month or
six weeks then bottle it remembering to put a lump of Loaf Sugar into
Looks like the fellow below left is enjoying his. Cherry Bounce is known to provoke Baltering (to dance or tread clumsily, but with joy; I am a master of this technique)…
And another set…