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  • Writer's pictureDane

Drinks with Dane | Week 7 🧙🏻‍♂️

Hello All My Ghouls and Gargoyles! 🔮

We’re gonna be talking about witches and potions for hallows eve. 

Thank you for your support and please tag me @drinkswithdane on Instagram or #DrinksWithDane so I can raise a glass with you!


Ale Wives and their Bubbling Cauldrons

Beer is the oldest drink produced by humans. Archaeological evidence shows it being produced in 5000 BCE in Iran and 7000 BCE in China, along with written records of it from Egypt and Mesopotamia. One of the oldest beer recipes comes for a Sumerian hymn to the Goddess of beer: Ninkasi. In Ancient Egypt, they worshipped the beer Goddess Tenenet alongside hieroglyphics depicting women brewing and serving beer. Baltic and Slavic mythology both had a goddess, Raugutine, who provided protection over beer. In Scandinavia, women were the ones to make the Ale and Mead and it was the Queen serving her husband that opened the great drinking festivals. 

For the vast majority of history, beer was considered a domestic endeavor, and was the work of women. This is at a time when water could kill you, so beer was the safe alternative. The boiling process of making beer kills off waterborne illness. Beer was even  used to pay workers in Egypt to build the monuments. A chemical analysis of the bones of ancient Nubians shows that they were regularly consuming tetracycline, an antibiotic, most likely in their beer. Beer was also a much needed source of calories. The average peasant in the Tudor era would consume as much as 10,000 calories. Small ale was an important staple in the diet helping them in toiling the land for their Lords. St. Hildegard of Bingen, the unofficial saint of beer, was the first to record the use of hops in brewing. 

In England, around the 1500 CE, women started to sell their beer and form a small cottage industry. Alewife, or Brewster (Braciatirx in Latin) started earning an income from being professional brewers and would wear all pointy hats to identify themselves and let them stand out in a crowd. Alewives would also sell their ale out of a brewing cauldron. To show that they sold ale from their house, they would hang a broomstick outside the door, being a symbol of domestic trades. Cats were often kept to kill off the mice that would feed on the grain.  

Independent women drew much ire from men and the church and were subjected to a long propaganda campaign.

“The ale trade was (and is) filled with trickery—poor ale substituted for good, pint measures that were just a bit too small, inflated prices, and of course, inebriated customers who found they’d been robbed or cheated,” explains Dr. Judith Bennet, author of Ale, Brewsters, and Beer in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World 1300-1600.

“For medieval people, it was easy to link these deceptions with women. Were not women, as daughters of Eve, naturally more deceptive and wicked than men? By such logic, any alewife, no matter how friendly and open, was suspected of being a secret swindler.” The church was against woman brewers, viewing them as temptresses tricking pious men into spending coin and debauchery. 

With men realizing there was money to be made in the Ale game, combined with the lingering effects of the Black Plague, drinking culture shifted away from occasional indulgence to a daily affair. Men established taverns that were much larger and cleaner than the cottage hut alewives had. Alewives were seen as dirty, unsanitary, rife with trickery and devil magic. The modern image of the witch is the efforts of men trying to cut women out of an industry.


Cocktail of the Week: Libita Incantatum

This week, we have a golden potion to fix what ails you. This is a herbal and delectable sipper, perfect for this year's cold Halloween night lit by a full blue moon. We're also featuring Strega, an Italian liqueur usually used for flavoring cakes, but it works beautifully in this cocktail.surface.


About Aquavit

In this recipe I use Svöl Aquavit. Aquavit is a Scandinavian flavored spirit with caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, and anise. Swedish and Danish Aquavit are mostly grain based, with Danish aquavit being dill forward. Swedish tends to be more anise and fennel forward. Norweigan Aquavits are mostly potato based, caraway forward and sometimes barrel aged. Linie Aquavit is a Norweigan Aquavit that is barrel aged on a boat that crosses the equator twice. Often the route will be on the label. 


Smoking the Rosemary

This cocktail calls for smoked rosemary. There are two ways to achieve it. The rosemary is a nice addition but not necessary. I got a Smoke Gun, which I smoked into a decanter and swirled the cocktail in it before decanting into the glass.  The other way is to strip off rosemary leaves from the spring, put them in a pile on a non flammable surface, such as a plate, light them until they are nice and smoldering and place your drinking glass over it. Leave to smoke until you're ready to pour the drink in.


What You’ll Need:


Libita Incantatum Cocktail serves 1 2 oz Lillet Blanc

1 oz Svol Aquavit 

½ oz Strega

2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

2 Dashes Edible Glitter

Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until the glass is cold to the touch. Smoke fresh rosemary into decanter or glass. Pour from mixing glass into decanter and swirl to infuse rosemary smoke into the cocktail and pour into cocktail glass. Salute! 

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