Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tasty beverages...Village style!

It's hot outside. Even the geckos are sweating. What could possibly make you feel better on a sticky, sweltering afternoon?

How about an ice-cold tasty beverage?!?!?! Let's consider what our 19th century Texans might have chosen. Coca-cola wasn't invented until 1886. Dr Pepper debuted right here in Texas in 1885. What other options were there? Well, there was always water: mineral water was important, in particular. Iced tea has been mentioned in the 19th century, but remember--ice wasn't always widely available in the age before widespread refrigeration. Texas did play an early role in the soft-drink industry, but these drinks weren't always served "on the frontier."

As always, people made use of what was available, be it mineral water or drinks made from local fresh ingredients (or ingredients carried in by ship, trail, and eventually rail).

Here are some recipes you can try at home to beat the heat!
(recipes courtesy Children at the Hearth: 19th Century Cooking, Manners, & Games by Barbara Swell)

Strawberry Water

1 cup strawberries with caps removed

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups cold water

Juice of one lemon

Crush the strawberries with the back of a wooden spoon. Add one cup of the water and rub mixture through a screened tea strainer, (or whirl them in a blender). Add the sugar, lemon juice, and remaining three cups of water. Serve over ice with a lemon slice placed on the edge of the cup.


Peel a fresh, very ripe pineapple and cut it up into very small pieces. Sprinkle some sugar on top, then smash with a potato masher or a cup. Add water (you decide how much based on how much pineapple flavor you would like) and pour into a pitcher with a strainer lid. Chill for a few hours, then pour over ice.


Squeeze the juice from 3 lemons, mix with 2 cups water and add sugar to taste.

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