Friday, January 23, 2009

A Jane Austen Drinking Game

Okay so watch a Jane Austen film adaptation and every time the hero asks if the heroine's family is well, do a shot! (I often wonder if this is the Regency equivalent of Joey from Friends "How you doin'? It seems like a Regency pick up line to me!) No, not really. I speak of another type of drinking game entirely.

As I am playing Austen I like to get the experience. So when I read that people back then drank port, sherry, and brandy I decided to take a trip to my local liquor store and buy a bottle of each to try it out. The man behind the counter quite laughed at my quest, but was helpful in directing me to what I should purchase. I purchased Hennessy cognac. He advised me to buy the flask. I was glad he did. While I imagine some people who read this will like brandy I believe it is best served in a Brandy Alexander. That is with ice cream and a lot of chocolate. I did not like it at all. So apparently I have a flask of brandy for anyone who is interested.

Next I went on to sherry. I bought Harvey's Bristol Cream and while I was told this was sweeter than normal sherry and not what would have been served in Regency England, I was informed that it was the most drinkable. I actually liked the sherry. I am interested to see what a drier form would taste like. I should mention I live in PA so my liquor purchases are limited because we do not have the variety of some other free flowing states so to speak.

Finally I bought port. There were several bottles available. A lot of gallon jugs, but I went for Cockburn's and I bought the more expensive of the two bottles. The liquor store man did tell me to only drink a little as it was concentrated. I love port. I know that women are not suppose to drink port. That it is a man's drink, but I love it. I completely understand why Emily in "And Only to Deceive" has laid claim to her dead husband's port. I support her and would join her if I could. So now my quest is to find a better port. I would like the name of a good brand of port. Not one that would run me hundreds of dollars, I am afterall with limited funds, but something that would maybe cost between $40-$60. So if anyone has ideas please let me know.

I believe there are some other beverages that were popular as well. Ratafia I have not tried, but have a recipe for....I understand that it is very sweet. I'd be interested if anyone had a recipe not found in the Jane Austen Cookbook.


  1. I lived in Portugal for 3 years and love a good port. The best, in my opinion, is Sandeman's 10-year Tawny Port. At about $15 a bottle, it's a thrifty buy.

    Also, try Moscatel de Setubal. It is lighter than port, but still has the rich sweet taste. My favorite Moscatel is from Jose Maria de Fonseca. I haven't found it in Pennsylvania yet, but if (when) I do, we'll have to have a nip after class!

  2. Sounds like a plan! Thanks for the tips.

  3. Just had a Pride and Prejudice book club night and served Port as well. I served Warre's King's Tawny Port. This is apparently a British company who owns a port distillery in Portugal. Loved this port!