Gin Week … Friday

[Gin-ecdote: The Gin Shop is back, but with some significant new twists. Our local is the Barr Hill Distillery in the state capitol, Montpelier. SB Sandy and I visited recently and she had her once-a-decade martini. Far from the dens of debauchery that characterized London’s gin mills of Dickensian times, Barr Hill is the personification of diversity and all things sustainable. Take for example, their week long promotion celebrating pollinators. SB SM]

$65 TOTAL TICKET PRICE per person
$5 Booking fee to reserve your spot!
(pay the rest ($60) in-person at the event)
Booking fee is non-refundable

Kick off Bee’s Knees Week 2023 with a spectacular pairing of raw honeys from all across Vermont, along with cocktails and food. Experience the unique and sweet terroir of raw honey and learn how they can be used in cocktails and cooking!

Honey Braised Parsnip, mustard greens, honey ginger crumble.
Gin Penicillin – Gin, Lemon , Honey, Spiced Ginger
-Featured honey – VT Basswood

Roast sirloin, potato puree, cippolini, honey allium jus
Spiced and Spicy Honey Tom Cat Old Fashion
-Featured Honey -VT Buckthorn

Balsamic and Thyme roasted peach, honey whipped mascarpone, pistachio
Bee-klava Cocktail- Tomcat, Walnut Orgeat, lemon, honey
-Featured Honey – VT Astor

We are happy to accommodate any allergies with advanced notice, and we will do our best to accommodate aversions.

Barr Hill
116 Gin Ln
Montpelier, VT 05602

Liquid Bewitchment

Gin Drinking in England, 1700–1850

By James Brown

Part 5

Cruikshank had a dramatic change of science in 1847 when, at the age of fifty-five, he enthusiastically embraced teetotalism. His decision might have been in response to the negative health consequences that he was starting to experience, and was probably also informed by the fate of his father, the illustrator Isaac Cruikshank, a full-blown dipsomaniac who reputedly died of alcohol poisoning at forty-six after winning a drinking competition.19 Whatever his motivations, from the moment of his conversion Cruikshank developed what Richard Vogler has termed “an evangelical preoccupation with the evils of alcohol”, supporting and supplying illustrations for the National Temperance Society, and developing particular disdain for gin and gin palaces, which are reconfigured in his later work.20 In his best-known series The Bottle (1847), which charts domestic and familial disintegration over eight glyphograph plates, “creaming gin” (that “strong cordial”) infiltrates and causes chaos and heartbreak within the home, while the opening plate of his more ambitious, spatially expansive, and compelling follow-up series The Drunkard’s Children (1848) is set within a gin palace. The adult daughter of the alcoholic is framed at the centre of “that fountain which nourishes every species of crime”; she is approached by a shawled procuress, and surrounded by a ragtag clientele that includes imbibing children and babies and an inebriated disabled man. All are dwarfed by giant barrels bearing the ironic legends “Cream of the Valley” and the “Celebrated Double Gin”. Other portrayals from this era depict hopeless and helpless drunkards spilling and stumbling from gin palace frontages.

Family drinking gin while bailiffs take their furniture

In the third plate of The Bottle by George Cruikshank, 1847, the doomed family console themselves with gin while bailiffs remove their furniture. Things get progressively worse over five subsequent plates — Source.

A chaotic scene in a gin shop

In the opening plate of George Cruikshank’s The Drunkard’s Children, 1848, the ill-fated offspring are depicted in a gin palace — Source.

Challenging received notions of a linear intellectual and artistic trajectory from valorisation to demonisation, Cruikshank’s most striking negative depiction of a gin palace, entitled The Gin Shop, dates from 1829, nearly twenty years before his renunciation of alcohol. Here, prefiguring his later anxieties, he imagines the gin palace as a macabre and treacherous space of death, albeit within a comic rather than social realist idiom. The etching depicts another doomed family huddled in the jaws of a literal gin-trap, encircled by morbid motifs. The gin barrels are styled as coffins, they are served by a skeleton disguised as a barkeep, and they menaced by a second skeleton holding an hourglass and spear. Like gin palaces themselves, Cruikshank characteristically deploys captions, speech bubbles, signs, and other textual devices to drive home his message. The gins are named “Kill Devil”, “Blue Ruin”, and “Deady’s Cordial”, signs point to and portend the “workhouse”, “madhouse”, “gaol”, and “gibbet”, and the skeleton grimly predicts “they have nearly had their last glass”. In a revealing double entendre, underscoring the association between gin’s pernicious effects and the malign supernatural, the “spirit vaults” contain imps dancing around a cauldron chanting an incantation.

George Cruikshank, The Gin Shop, 1829 — Source.

Dr. James Brown is currently Knowledge Exchange Programme Manager at the University of Sheffield. He has a background in academic history, specialising in cultures of drinking and intoxication in early modern England, and was previously Research Associate on and Project Manager of the HERA-funded research project Intoxicating Spaces: The Impact of New Intoxicants on Urban Spaces in Europe, 1600-1850. He is also interested in the digital humanities; project and programme management; and public engagement, knowledge exchange, and impact.

Silverbacks … do you have a gin-soaked factoid, anecdote, or hazy memory to share with fellow denizens of The Jungle? We will collect and publish them on Sat

5 thoughts on “Gin Week … Friday

  1. I grew up in the liquor business. My Dad started a Package Store business when he returned from WWII. I can distinctly remember the aromas that would come from the rare but inevitable broken bottle either from a customer dropping it or myself making a mistake while stocking the shelves. The various bottles of wine and booze each had their own distinct smells or bouquets as we’d say in the wine world. Some were so gross and disgusting to me that it turned me off from ever wanting to taste a drink with that liquor in it. Kahlua tops the list in bottles you didn’t want to see hit the floor both for the overwhelming sweet sugary coffee smell and how sticky it was, a real mess to clean up. Whiskeys were interesting with the expensive scotches being earthy with their peat scents and the cheap blends smelling a lot like the guys who bought a bottle every day. Fine wines had the best aromas, particularly the Bordeaux. Cognacs were also a treat for the nostrils. Vodkas were easy to clean and were neutral on the nose. The gins were off putting to me because they smelled somewhat antiseptic, like a hospital. Genever, out of Holland, (technically not a true gin as it’s malted) was particularly aromatic with excessive juniper scents and not to my tastes at all. I was never tempted by any gin drinks over the years until Barr Hill came along in Hardwick with their unique gin with honey added to the ferment. You can make a lot of delightful summer drinks with Barr Hill Gin.

      1. Turn what into what? Liquor store life was repetitive as all retail life is but with some sad twists. I became the “wine man” in search of finding a less blatantly harmful segment of the liquor biz. But I found that oenophiles were just as likely to turn into alcoholics as those who didn’t specialize in vino. I escaped that world when I was in my early thirties and never regretted it.

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