Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Inns and Taverns of Early America

From It's About Time:
During the colonial period it was a commonly held belief, that drinking ground water in the British American colonies could possibly make one sick.  To combat this real or imagined danger, colonists of every rank, age, race, & gender drank alcohol often - from fermented, homemade, aged cider to distilled liquors.  Generally, families drank with every meal, while at work, and at every social & public gathering except church. Almost everyone was something of a tippler.  (In the 14th century, a tippler was a seller of liquor rather than an avid consumer.  It came to mean a habitual drinker 200 years later. Tipsy was used to describe the slightly intoxicated as early as 1577.)

And colonials gathered together to drink.  Indoor & garden taverns became the scene for political debate, business transactions, gossip, and even romance, because women were more often allowed in garden taverns than in indoor taverns.  (First appearing in print in 1286, the word tavern initially meant a wine shop.  It didn’t become a proper place to drink until around 1440.) (Read more.)

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