Greetings drunkards and drunkards in training. As you all know, but The Drunkard’s Almanac would like to remind you, Friday March 5 will be the anniversary of The Boston Massacre, or what the British sometimes call the Incident on King Street. For that we’ve got the Stone Fence as Drink of the Day.
It turns out this date is also the anniversary of the deaths of notable figures such Josef Stalin and John Belushi, but those two might not be the best choices as inspiration for Drink of the Day. They were, of course, both characters prone to excess. But Stalin wasn’t good for much beyond vodka and our Editorial Board does not delve into all the non-alcohol concoctions Belushi consumed. We’ll put them both aside.
Now back to Boston. Around 1770 Boston was the capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and a major shipping port. It was also a point of resistance to taxes levied by the British Parliament. The Townshend Acts in particular caused a lot of teeth gnashing when tariffs were imposed on a variety of common items manufactured in Britain and sent across the ocean to the Colonies. The Massachusetts House of Representatives sent a petition to King George III asking him to knock it off and followed it with letters to other colonial assemblies asking them to join in the resistance.
As one might imagine this didn’t sit so well with the Crown or its legions of minions overseeing affairs in the Colonies. Tensions increased, warships like the HMS Romney arrived, and regiments of British Army soldiers set up shop in Boston.
On March 5, 1770 a lowly Private White was on guard duty outside the Boston Custom House on King Street. Without getting into too many details on how it all started with a single individual harassing White, soon enough a crowd gathered and taunted him mercilessly, with the result of additional troops showing up to support him. You know where this is going, and soon enough Bad Things happened: shots were fired, people died, and order was only restored by the Acting Governor, Thomas Hutchinson, promising from a balcony that there would be a fair inquiry.
The remaining details are not our concern at the moment. We all know that in another few years the U.S. would declare independence, and by now we could all use a drink anyway.
So what do we choose as Drink of the Day? At Thanksgiving we noted the fact that in colonial times folks drank from breakfast until they passed out at night, in part because water wasn’t considered safe to drink, but likely also because…..they could. For Thanksgiving we selected a modern cocktail as Drink of the Day but incorporated Wild Turkey 101 Rye as an homage to the bird of the day. Today we’re truly going back to colonial times and mixing up what folks were regularly quaffing right then and there. Yes indeed, the Stone Fence is Drink of the Day for March 5.
But before getting into the specifics of that drink, let’s pause for a moment to discuss hard apple cider in early America. Grain for beer, and beer is what the original voyagers packed on ships headed for the New World, doesn’t grow so well in New England. But apples do, so many orchards were planted, cider was abundant and a quart at breakfast was normal. This was the real M.O. of Johnny Appleseed: all the “apple a day keeps the doctor away” crap was nothing more than apple industry marketing pablum trying to make up for business lost to the growing temperance movement many years later. But now back to matters at hand.
The Stone Fence is just a simple combination of rum and cider and was a staple of pubs at the time. As the story goes, it’s exactly what Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys guzzled all night before their pre-dawn raid to capture Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775. That venture actually turned out to be easier than it sounds, as upon arrival they found just a lone sentry who ran off when his musket misfired. The small number of troops inside were surprised and surrendered. So naturally Allen and the Green Mountain Boys plundered the fort for booze and other provisions, such as cannons.
How a furniture store instead of a cocktail got named after the guy is beyond the grasp our Editorial Board, but that’s not important here.
As you expect, this drink requires only ordinary household supplies. Here’s what you do:
- Highball Glass
- 2 oz Aged or dark rum
- Hard apple cider
- Pour rum into glass – a pint if you’re adventurous, something smaller, perhaps a highball glass, if you’re feeling more modest.
- Top with cider.
- Ice is optional. Pretty common these days, but not something the Green Mountain Boys were making use of and you don’t really need it if you had the cider in the refrigerator.
- Rinse and repeat.