Gaspee Days
Colonial Drinks and Recipes

The following concoctions were discovered in the old files of the Gaspee Days Committee, and were apparently used by some  Pawtuxet Village restaurants during Gaspee Days c1966-1972.  Some selections were found in old hand-written cookbooks that had been families for over 200 years.

We would like you to consider this information as 'shareware'.  If you really like a particular recipe, let us know by donating to the Gaspee Days Committee to help fund our community events.

Cocktails have been traced back to before the Revolution. And since many of those Rhode Island Colonists that burnt the Gaspee in 1772 were involved in rum and gin distilling and smuggling, we can assume they were also very familiar with some of the following drinks. The usual drinks were punches, cobblers, toddies, slings, bounces, juleps, snagarees, and flip The common ingredients were gin, brandy, Medford (dark) rum, port wine (sack), bourbon, rye, and bitters. Cobblers are of American origin and are great favorites in all warm climates. Hot drinks included hot buttered rum, Tom & Jerry, hot brandy sling with nutmeg, and the Mulls including mulled cider, and hot applejack.


As per Webster's Unabridged Dictionary - A mixture of spirituous liquors usually consisting of rum and molasses. Among sailors Blackstrap was (maybe still is) considered any common wine of the Mediterranean.


1. 1/3 glass crushed ice
2. ½ teaspoon powdered sugar
3. 1 piece orange peel
4. To the ice add the sugar and orange peel,
5. Fill with dry champagne
6. Decorate with fruit.
7. Serve with straw.

  • 1 Gallon heated apple cider
  • 1/2 ounce brandy flavoring
  • 1/2 ounce rum flavoring OR (even better) 1/2 quart light rum
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 3 to 6 whole oranges
  • small bag of whole cloves
  1. Simmer mixture with 3 sticks whole cinnamon to melt--DO NOT COOK. 
  2. Allow to cool, pour into punch bowl.
  3. Separately stick whole cloves around entire surface of 3 to 6 whole oranges. 
  4. Place oranges into baking pan with 1/2 inch of water, and bake at 350°  for 45 minutes. 
  5. Place oranges into punch bowl
  6. Serves 40
  7. Serve with pound cake, nut cake, or cheese and crackers.

  1. Completely dissolve 3/4 pound of sugar in a little water, in punch bowl
  2. Add a bottle of lemon juice. 
  3. Add 2 bottles Jamaican rum,
  4. 1 bottle cognac,
  5. 2 bottles of water
  6. 1 Wine glassful of peach cordial. 
  7. Put a big cake of ice in the punch bowl. 
  8. Let Punch stand about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  9. In winter, when ice melts more slowly, more water may be used; in summer less.  The melting of the ice dilutes the mixture sufficiently
  10. Makes about 60  4-ounce glasses

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 jigger rum
  • 1 jigger brandy
  • 1 red-hot flip iron or poker heated in fireplace
  • tall, all-pewter mug
  • 12-16 ounces of beer
  1. In a quart mug break three eggs
  2. Add three teaspoons sugar and stir well
  3. Add in the jigger of rum and the jigger of brandy, beating meanwhile.
  4. Fill remaining volume of mug with beer
  5. Insert red-hot iron until it hisses and foams.
  6. The drink will become only warm.

  • two ounces of powdered ginger root (or more if it is not very strong),
  • half an ounce of cream of tartar,
  • two large lemons, sliced,
  • two pounds of broken loaf sugar
  • two gallons of soft boiling water.  
  1. Put all ingredients into a kettle and simmer them over a slow fire for half an hour.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. When the liquor is nearly cold, stir into it a large tablespoonful of the best yeast.
  4. After it has fermented, which will be in about 24 hours, bottle for use.

  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 2 pounds brown sugar
  • 2 quarts grape juice
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 yeast cake
  1. Boil water in stone crock
  2. Dissolve brown sugar in boiling water
  3. Add grape juice and raisins
  4. Allow mixture to to cool
  5. Separately, dissolve yeast in a little warm water.
  6. When mixture is lukewarm; add in dissolved yeast
  7. Let stand for 10 days, stirring once each day.
  8. Strain out raisins from mixture
  9. Mash these raisins into a pulp and let dry
  10. Add raisin pulp back into mixture
  11. Let stand for 3 more days
  12. Strain mixture into bottle, and cork

Any mixture of spirits and water, especially rum and water.  The term comes from the nickname of 'Old Grog' for Admiral E. Vernon (1684-1757) of the Royal Navy who, in bad weather, habitually wore grogram (a coarse silk and mohair fabric) and who introduced the idea of serving diluted spirits to English sailors.  Thus it invaded colonial customs and was known variously as Grog, Grogshop, Groggy, and Groggery (which was a that time also a term for low-class drinking places.)

A simple and rather awesome drink consisting of straight dark rum diluted with loaf sugar

  1. Use a silver (or pewter?) mug--very important in order to obtain condition of proper frosting
  2. Add ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  3. Add enough water to make a paste
  4. Grind fresh mint leaves into paste. 
  5. Fill mug up to the top with finely scraped ice.
  6. Add bourbon whiskey pouring it through the ice 
  7. Stir with spoon until mug is frosted. 
  8. Top with sprigs of fresh mint.

  • Mint Julep topped with a dash of brandy.

  • Mint Julep topped with a more generous dash of brandy

  1. Into a large bar glass put the juice of 1 lemon
  2. Add 2 dashes orange bitters
  3. Add 1 wine glassful of dark rum
  4. Add 3 large ice cubes
  5. Fill up with plain soda water
  6. Mix and remove ice
  7. Serve with straw

  1. Into a large bar glass put 2 tablespoons sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons water.
  3. 4 sprigs fresh mint rubbed to bring out the flavor,
  4. ½ glass shaved ice and 1 wine glassful dark rum
  5. Mix well

  1. ½ bottle (12 ounces) fresh lime or lemon juice
  2. 1 bottle sugar syrup (or 1¼ pounds of sugar)
  3. 1 ½ bottles rum
  4. 3 lbs ice and water
  5. Mix all ingredients well. 
  6. Decorate with fresh sliced fruit as desired.
  7. Makes about 30  4-ounce glasses.

SHERRY COBBLER:   "Refreshing as an east wind is a Sherry Cobbler."
  1. Half fill a tall glass with cracked ice
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
  3. Add 1 sherry glass of sherry.
  4. Stir with a spoon until glass is frosted
  5. Decorate with choice of sliced fruit: orange, lemons, pineapple, cherries, etc.
  6. Serve with straw

Made of red wine or fruit juice (take your pick) and soda water.

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 4  2-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoonful whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoonful allspice
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 oranges
  1. Place cider and spices in  large pot, heat slowly, stirring often
  2. Strain and chill
  3. Add sliced fruit to float on top
  4. Serves 25

  • 4 tbs lemon juice     
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • Sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled together until syrup forms)  
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 6 tsp tea        
  • 1 small piece cinnamon
  • 6 cups boiling water                
  • Mint sprigs
  • 6 tbs orange juice
  1. Pour boiling water over the allspice, cloves. and cinnamon. Cover and let boil 3 minutes.
  2. Add tea, and let steep about 3 minutes. Strain.
  3. Cool and add orange and lemon juice.
  4. Sweeten to taste with sugar syrup.
  5. Serve in tall glasses with cracked ice.
  6. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

  • 3 pounds loaf sugar
  • 5 gallons water
  • 1 yeast cake
  • A small piece of lemon peel
  • Essence of spruce (If unable to get essence of spruce, twigs may be boiled down and strained.)
  1. Mix all together, when fermented then preserve in closed bottles.
  2. Alternatively, Molasses or brown sugar can be used and the lemon peel left out.

Sweet cider and apple-jack or brandy

  • ¼ pound salt pork, cubed
  • 4 cups diced raw potato
  • 3 pounds fresh skinned haddock bones in.
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 2 cups whole milk, scalded
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt and
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  1. Fry the salt pork out in the pot in which the chowder is to be made.
  2. Remove fried pork
  3. Put into the pot the onions, potatoes and half the salt.
  4. Cover with hot water and cook until potatoes are tender, but not broken.
  5. Cut the fish into three pieces, and in a separate dish, simmer it in boiling water to which the remaining ½ tsp. salt has been added (So that the fish won't break)
  6. Then put: fish and strained fish stock (for flavor) into heated chowder dish. Add milk,.
  7. Butter, and pepper. Season.
  8. This serves five.

  • 6 large soda crackers or biscuits       
  • 1 cup milk   
  • ¼ lb salt pork
  • 1 good large onion, sliced
  • 4 large potatoes, pared, sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups of corn cut whole from the cob
  • 1 ¼ tsps salt    
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  1. Soak crackers or biscuits in sweet milk.
  2. Cut salt pork into cubes and brown over medium fire
  3. Add onion and cook until soft.
  4. Add potatoes and water, then cook until potatoes are soft but not all broken
  5. Stir in the cracker-milk mixture, corn, salt, and paprika
  6. Heat all through
  7. Serve piping hot
  8. Serves 8 people

  1. Pare and slice one quart of potatoes;
  2. Put on two slices of salt pork; fry nice and brown,
  3. Add one onion chopped fine,
  4. And one tablespoon flour; stir well to prevent burning.
  5. Add one quart boiling water and potatoes
  6. Boil until soft then add one cup rich milk and one-half dozen large (may be stale) soda crackers.  
  7. One large spoonful butter may be added.

MULLIGAN STEW (Very old recipe)
  1. 1/2 cup each of diced onions, carrots, celery, and turnip;
  2. 4 potatoes quartered;
  3. Add to 1/8 lb salt pork,
  4. 2 pounds venison, lamb or beef cut in small pieces and cooked 1 hour in 1 pint of water 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ tsp. Pepper
  5. Cook all together for one hour
  6. Dumplings to taste may be added last 12 minutes.

ENGLISH STEW (Made with beef instead of the mutton in Irish Stew)
  • 2 pounds top round beef       
  • 1 large onion, sliced  
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 1/8 tsps. pepper   
  • 2 carrots, diced,    
  • 4 potatoes, pared, sliced
  • 3 slices yellow turnip     
  • 4 tbs. flour.
  1. Wipe the beef and cut into small pieces.
  2. Roll the pieces of beef in flour and sear in the fat.  
  3. Place meat in pot with onion, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover with about 2 quarts cold water and simmer until the meat is tender.
  5. Add carrots, potatoes and turnip,
  6. Wet flour with cold water to form a paste,
  7. Add to stew and let simmer until slightly thickened.
  8. At this point, care is needed so that the stew does not burn.
  9. Bring to the boiling point and serve. Flour paste need not be used.
  10. At last minute instead of paste drop thoroughly washed beet, celery, or collard greens on unthickened mixture to add color and vitamins

  • 1 quart large white Navy beans
  • 6 quarts hulled corn (Smutty white)
  • 6-8 pounds of corned beef (2nd cut rattle rand).     
  • 1 pd. Salt Pork both fat and lean.
  • 4-6 pds. chicken cleaned and trussed.
  • 1 large turnip
  • 8-10 medium sized potatoes
  • salt and pepper to season.
  1. Soak beans overnight
  2. In the morning simmer until soft, and mash to a pulp.
  3. Place pork and corned beef in cold water to cover, gradually bring to a slow boil: continue until tender, about 3 hours
  4. Boil the chicken in another kettle about 1 and 1/2 hours, or until tender.
  5. Place the mashed beans and hulled corn in a kettle with some fat and liquor from the cooked meats.   
  6. Simmer to the consistency of a thick soup. The beans should absorb the liquor but not become too dry.
  7. Remove the meats to a warm platter to be served with succotash.
  8. Mix the corned beef and chicken liquors and in this cook the turnip and potatoes cut in small pieces.
  9. Now add the hulled corn and beans to the cooked vegetables and juices as for a stew, and simmer a few minutes to blend the flavors.
  10. Serve the succotash in bowls and pass the meats to be added or to be eaten on the side as desired.

  • 2 cups cold cooked, meat     
  • 2 1/2 cups potatoes (cooked)   
  • 3/4 cup turnip (cooked)
  • 3/4 cup cooked carrots     
  • 1 cup cooked cabbage        
  • 1 cup cooked beets 1/2 cup raw onions warmed in 2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 tsp pepper,
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons garlic vinegar
  1. Dice vegetables and combine all ingredients in a black oven frying pan;
  2. pour over all the 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Cover and let cook slowly
  4. Stir occasionally until thoroughly heated and flavors are blended.
  5. Serve hot

CHICKEN ROLY-POLY    (A very old recipe)
  • One quart of flour
  • two teaspoonfuls of cream of tartar mixed with the flour
  • one teaspoonful of soda dissolved in
  • a teacupful of milk
  • a teaspoonful of salt;
  • (do not use shortening of any kind)
  1. Roll out the mixture half an inch thick,
  2. lay minced chicken, veal, or mutton onto rolled batter.
  3. The meat must be seasoned with pepper and always salt and be free from gristle.
  4. Roll the crust over and over and put it on a buttered plate and place in a steamer for half an hour.
  5. Serve with gravy over each slice.

  • 12 pounds roast
  • Salt, pepper and flour dredge   
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups water     
  • 1 tablespoon currant jelly.
  1. Wipe meat carefully with wet cloth and cover with a large sheet of buttered paper.
  2. Make a thick paste of flour and water, roll our 3/4 inch thick and lay over the fat side of the haunch.
  3. Cover with three or four sheets of white paper and tie Securely with cord
  4. Put in dripping pan and roast and do not .forget to baste often to prevent paper and string from burning.
  5. A twelve pound haunch will take 3 hours to roast.
  6. Half an hour before it is done remove from the oven cut strings, take off paste, and paper;
  7. Dredge with flour, salt, and pepper
  8. return to oven and roast to fine brown color
  9. Serve with a brown sauce to which a tbs. currant jelly is added

ROAST VENISON--Alternate Recipe
  • 6 to 8 pounds roast of venison    
  • 6 strips bacon  
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cups tomato soup
  • flour, salt, pepper
  1. Wipe venison with vinegar-soaked cloth. Never use water as this t-ends to toughen meat fibers. Vinegar picks up hairs and clotted blood more readily.
  2. Dredge with flour that has been salted and peppered.
  3. Lard by laying strips of bacon across fastened with toothpicks. Throw rings of onion over each toothpick, 3 to a strip of bacon
  4. Start in a brisk oven at 500 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and roast 20 minutes to the pound. 45 minutes before serving pour tomato soup over entire roast
  5. Cover and put back in oven.   This will make a most delicious sauce or gravy. Time in oven varies according to age of deer.

  1. Break salt fish into pieces, cover with cold water and bring slowly to simmering point, but don't boil.
  2. Drain, and repeat 2 more times using cold water and bringing to simmering point until fish is tender enough to suit you.
  3. Boiled fish is tough so be careful.
  4. Place fish on large platter and pour gravy over it.
  5. Serve piping hot with hot baked potatoes and buttered or pickled beets
To make rich white sauce —
  1. Blend 2 tbs. butter with 2 tbs. flour
  2. Add 1 cup sweet milk and cook until thick, stirring all the time
  3. Stir in a slightly beaten egg (or boiled sliced eggs) and seasoning to taste..

This is actually a blanc-mange pudding with a sea moss base.  Sea moss has always been valued for its curative and vitamin powers.  Earlier variation was called PAP when using oatmeal in place of sea moss, but not as palatable.
  • 1 quart milk
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs sea moss farina
  • 1 tsp, vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Put milk in double boiler and sprinkle sea moss into it, stirring well all the time
  2. Heat slowly & stir often
  3. When it boils up and looks white, add sugar, salt and flavoring.
  4. Strain and turn into mold which has been dipped in cold water.
  5. Takes 3 hours to harden.
  6. Serve topped with cream and sugar, or fresh fruit.

HASTY PUDDING - (Actually a corn meal mush)

    Original recipe text:    Put two quarts of water into a clean dinner pot or saucepan, cover it and let it become boiling hot over the fire; then add a tablespoonful of salt, take off the light scum from the top, have secured to use some sweet fresh yellow or white corn meal.  Take a handful of the meal with the left hand, and a pudding stick in the right, then with the stick stir the water around and by degrees let fall the meal; when one handful is exhausted, refill it; continue to stir and add meal until it is as thick as you can stir easily, or until the stick: will stand in it; stir it awhile longer; let the fire be gentle; when it is sufficiently cooked, which will be in half on hour, it will bubble or puff. up; turn it into a deep basin. This is good eaten cold or hot, with milk or with butter and syrup or sugar, or with meat and gravy, the same as potatoes or rice. Hasty Pudding was often served for Sunday night suppers with stripped salt codfish on the side.
    Fried Hasty Pudding is made the same way and then chilled in bread tins until of slicing consistency, dipped by slice in flour and fried in lard or butter until well browned on both sides. Serve hot topped with butter and syrup, honey, or fresh fruit jam.

Modern Recipe: Refer to side panel of corn meal box

  • 1/4 cup pearl tapioca soaked overnight in 1 cup of milk and then added to 3 cups of milk and entire mixture scalded.
  • Blend 4 tbs corn meal
  • 1/2 cup light molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or white)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Add to the hot milk and cook until it begins to thicken
  2. Place into a well-greased baking dish (use butter for greasing)
  3. Bake l hour in slow oven of 325 degrees
  4. then stir in 1 cup top milk or thin cream
  5. reduce temp to about 275, continue baking for 2 more hours
  6. We still serve this with hard sauce, not ice cream

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour milk        
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Soda
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups flour or just enough to handle easily
  1. Fry in hot fat (380). Turn once.
  2. Makes about 2 dozen donuts.

  • 2 cups. flour            
  • 2 tsp fat             
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps. cream tartar     
  • 1 tsp. soda     
  • 3/4 cup milk.
  1. Mix-dumplings and roll to one inch thickness. Cut with small cutter.
  2. Drop 2 or 3 at a time in hot fat.
  3. Have ready another kettle of boiling molasses, as soon as fried, drop into boiling molasses
  4. Remove and drain.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. Soda
  • 1/2 cup shortening (chicken fat preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • l tsp. Ginger
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3 cups sifted pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  1. Heat oven with control set for moderate oven ~ 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour two pans 10x7 or 8" square if thicker loaf is desired.
  3. Mix and sift flour, soda, salt and spices.
  4. Cream shortening and sugar
  5. add molasses and beaten egg.
  6. Stir in dry ingredients.
  7. Slowly add boiling water.
  8. Turn into prepared pans.
  9. Bake until it comes away from the sides of the pan, requires about 25-30 minutes.
  10. It should be slightly and evenly rounded over the top, never cracked open.

  • 1 cup butter                     
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar               
  • ½ pint milk
  • 3 cups flour                
  • 1 pint raisins
  • ½ tsp each nutmeg, cloves, saleratus
  1. Heat oven to 325-350 degrees.
  2. Butter loaf pan, probably 8"x4"x4".
  3. Sift flour, salt, and spices along with soda, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add in beaten eggs and beat well.
  5. Add flour, to which raisins have been added-just a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. When all the flour has been added, beat the entire batter until smooth and velvety.
  7.  Turn into prepared pan and bake 60 to 75 minutes

  • 2½ cups sifted flour                  
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt                          
  • 1 cup sweet milk
  • 1½ teasp. baking powder             
  • 1 cup squash
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar              
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line 1-2 muffin pans. .
  3. Sift flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking powder.
  4. Add soda to milk.
  5. Mix squash, butter and sugar.
  6. Add in milk soda mix.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Add flour all at once and stir just until dampened.
  9. Turn into pans and bake 20 minutes.
  10. Best served with fresh Jam

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp soda, dissolved in warm water
  • 1 cup cooked applesauce
  • 1-3/4 cups sifted flour.
  1. Heat oven with control set at 350 degrees for moderate oven.
  2. Butter loaf pan - a bread pan is good.   
  3. Cream sugar and shortening.
  4. Add salt, cloves, nutmeg and raisins.
  5. Add soda that has been dissolved in warm water, and stir in the applesauce.
  6. Beat until well mixed.
  7. Then add floor
  8. Bake in loaf pan 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  9. Cover with white frosting as desired
  10. Is also good just pan plain with a glass of cold milk.

SYLLABUB (Soft custard pudding)

Syllabub is also classified as a rich eggnog type of drink to which brandy may be added, and often served with tea cakes
  • 4 egg yolks                  
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour    
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 3/4 cup sugar       
  • 1 pint whipped cream
  • Brandy or wine
  1. Mix half sugar with flour
  2. Bring milk to boil and add sugar and flour.
  3. Cook in double boiler 10 minutes.
  4. Beat egg yolks, add in other half sugar, and finally add this to milk mixture, stirring slowly.
  5. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from fire and add vanilla.
  7. Let mixture cool.
  8. When serving fill a tumbler half full of this custard
  9. Add a  thin layer of brandy or wine on top of custard
  10. Finish filling with the chilled whipped cream.
  11. Often served with tea cakes on festive occasions

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Rev: 7/2008    ColonialRecipes.html