Here is an intriguing concoction perfect for the Holidays. Gin and Pine, basically gin briefly infused with pine wood.
The directions, according to Jerry Thomas, in his book How to Mix Drinks:
Split a piece of the heart of a green pine log into fine splints, about the size of a cedar lead-pencil, take 2 ounces of the same and put into a quart decanter, and fill the decanter with gin.
Let the pine soak for two hours, and the gin will be ready to serve. * be careful to strain all wood from drink before serving!*
Now, you may ask, what is the history of this drink? Well I found a delightful reference to it in an article published in the New York Times on July 25th, 1874. It apparently is endowed with medicinal, as well as other intriguing properties.
Mr. Ben P Shillaber has recently visited the Isles of Shoals, and had occasion to investigate the mysteries of gin and pine. In a note to the Boston Transcript he thus explains the results: “I was a guest at the Appledore, and felt considerably under the weather from the great shaking up I enduredin going thither. A freind of many years whisperedi in my ear, ‘Try gin and pine.’ It was a mysterious proposition, and I looked to him for an explanation. He led me down stairs, and then demanded of a young man who stood behind a counter, ‘Gin and pine!’ The gin was poured into a glass and then a dark-looking bottle was takend own — the same, I was told, that Smith discovered — and about a teaspoon full of dark semi-fluid added. The tumbler was then filled with water and sweetened, and it was given me to take — as a medicine.
Who knew, this author goes on to describe the mysterious properties of pine! If that is indeed what he swallowed.
…there were two entrances to the house, between which I struck; the castors and the goblets on the table were dancing to the accompaniment of knife and fork, and the chowder that a maid handed me was immense — the only thing that seemed natural. But soon the feeling wore off, and health was restored. I thus am prepared to speak of the great Appledore remedy one dose of which is enough for the worst cases. I would not recommend more than one. Because further phenomena might ensue, which would react on the reputation one might wish to maintain.
Now, dear reader, wouldn’t you like a drop of that in your goblet?