What did the pilgrims drink at the first Thanksgiving?
The pilgrims sailed the ocean blue with barrels of beer, but when they got to Plymouth Rock, they had a problem. They had run out of beer. Essentially making the Mayflower's voyage one big beer run.
The Mayflower's voyage took much longer than expected, and the pilgrims had consumed all of their allotted beer. The captain pretty much said good luck after landing 200 miles north of the Mayflower's planned stop. The pilgrims begged the ship's crew to give them some of their beer, but the ship’s crew refused arguing the ship needed to have enough beer to make the voyage back across the Atlantic. The pilgrims would have to make their own, but that would be a challenge! They didn’t have barley, which was a grain commonly used to make beer and they didn’t have hops, which was not only used to flavor beer but also acted as a preservative.
“If barley be wanting to make into malt. We shall be contented and think it no fault, for we shall make liquor to sweeten our lips of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut tree chips and other green cornstalks we make our best beer. We put it in barrels to drink all the year," As explained by a famous pilgrim rhyme The voyagers knew they had to get creative.
If parsnip and walnut tree bark shooters aren't your thing, there were other options. The new world offered many native apple varieties to make rudimentary hard cider and the pilgrims drank A LOT of it. On average, people in those days could drink upwards of a quart a day of beer / hard cider. These alcoholic drinks were a safer alternative to ground water which could potentially contain bacteria such as cholera and dysentery.
Open a beer or hard cider this Thanksgiving if you want to drink like a pilgrim. At the very least, it will make listening to the obnoxious ramblings of your uncle, with questionable world views, a bit more tolerable.
On behalf of Zink Distributing, we would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Love one another, give thanks and, please don't drink and drive.