Madeira: the Drink of Nationmakers

Violet Madeira:

  1. Shake Madeira and Violet Jelly vigorously, and strain into coupe glass.
  2. Garnish with dollop of Violet Jelly

And here’s the story behind it!

America’s founding fathers could hardly get enough Madeira. It is a wine fortified with neutral grape spirits, which boosts its alcohol content to almost 20%, and comes from an island bearing the same name off the coast of Portugal.

Early colonists arriving to America from Europe naturally liked to bring as much of their former lives as they could fit onto a cramped ship. Who wouldn’t want the comforts of home when establishing a new life on a wildly different continent?

While architecture, livestock, and cultural customs transposed nicely, European wine-grapes did not. Thus, anyone thirsty for wine in the early days had to import it, and adding liquor to the wine casks (as was done for Madeira) helped it survive the long hot trans-Atlantic journey. By the time July 4, 1776 rolled around the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were drinking Madeira daily. 

3 thoughts on “Madeira: the Drink of Nationmakers

      1. It was a stunning place to visit both for the food and drink and being so very pretty! A nice break from the grey skies of London too. Drink highlights were a 1968 Bual madeira, a 1976 Terrantez madeira and a Portuguese Moscato.

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