Bookworm: funny history fans, well done! | Lifestyles


Your blue frothy drink doesn’t need a lid, but there is one.

It’s a purple umbrella that hides the fresh fruit hanging from the rim of your glass, just below the sugar crystals along the rim, floating on a kiss of distilled liquid. No one would consider it a manly drink, but so what? Everything looks so delicious and with Mallory O’Meara’s new “Girly Drinks” book it is working!

You can almost imagine it: a group of your first ancestors, looking for a mammoth when they stumbled upon a pile of slightly rotten fruit. Mmmmm, they each take bite size and find it makes their heads pleasantly fuzzy. Perhaps this is so, says O’Meara, how alcohol was “discovered” rather than invented.

Either way, she says, women played a big part in making alcohol from the start. Beer, she said, was “a girl’s business” at several points in history. Women were in charge of winemaking from the start; at a time when they were barely allowed to leave the house, women still played a key role in the manufacture of alcohol. Even when the very idea of ​​a female drinker sent men into a dizzy state, powerful women drank.

They have also changed the alcohol landscape.

Cleopatra loved to drink, but she did not drink to excess. She left that to Mark Antony, and their drinking may have been one of the reasons Octavius ​​hated her so much.

In Hildegard’s time, German women often became “perennials” and their jobs allowed them to control who drank beer. During this time, with the blessing of the Pope, Hildegard of Bingen began to write about spirituality, nature, her “visions” and medicine. She was the first to claim that hops help stop spoilage in beer making.

Later, the taverns moved from houses to separate buildings and were court places before the Church turned the alewives into witches. Catherine the Great used vodka as diplomatic gifts; the first famous female bartender served them in London; gin, rum, and whiskey were invented around the same time; and then came prohibition …

Pink drinks with fruity-flavored alcohol and decorative plastic gewgaws would never be considered a “manly” drink – never. But, asks Mallory O’Meara in her introduction to “Girly Drinks”, since when has alcohol been sexed?

This is the point that comes up throughout this book: the labeling of beverages today has a long history. The patriarchy was strong then, and it managed to hide female imprints in almost any type of alcohol we drink.

Don’t think of it as a feminist rant, however. Instead, think about a few hours in a red leather cabin with water rings under your wrists, gliding through time and geography, from ancient Greece to modern culture, from Cleopatra’s Egypt to a bar. inclusive in Ohio. It’s light but sometimes serious; and perfect for bar bets and icebreakers.

Better yet, if you pick one up while reading.

Fans of funny history, well done! Alewives, your turn! From bottom to top, New Year’s celebrants. Even if you’re just here for tavern trivia, “Girly Drinks” has you covered.

“Girls’ Drinks: A Global History of Women and Alcohol” by Mallory O’Meara, c. 2021, Hanover Square Press. The bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since the age of 3 and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 pounds. Terri can be contacted at [email protected]


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