A Sin and A Secret: The Mysterious Hail Storm
Welcome back to another "A Sin and A Secret." Mix yourself a drink based on a colonial recipe and then curl with a completely true, completely salacious story. Enjoy a new #ASinAndASecret post every week. Read more in the series here.
The Mysterious Hail Storm
On the evening of September 29, 1769, London Town residents received quite a shock. A dark cloud poured “cakes” of ice across the area. Windows were smashed, birds were killed, and crops destroyed.
The storm began out of the west at John Hesselius' house, “Primrose Hill,” just south of Spa Creek. (Today it is just south of Hilltop Lane across from Truxton Park.) The window panes on the west side and upper floor of Primrose Hill were smashed, “and many Windows in London-Town greatly damaged.”
The storm then traveled south through London Town. A country resident described the event saying, “A great Quantity of Hail-Stones fell, or rather Cakes of Ice, as they were flat and oblong, many of them Five or Six inches in Circumference.”
Crops of corn were cut down, “Dunghill Fowls, Partridges, Doves, and other smaller Birds, have been since found dead.”
The hail storm came surprisingly during a dry season. While London Town was bruised by the strange event, Annapolis was largely spared from the destruction of the storm. They experienced little more than rain and strong wind.
Quite fittingly, we have chosen to pair this story with the drink, a Hailstorm, a derivative of the Mint Julep, both of which were enjoyed in the colonial era. Depending on how much brandy you add, it'll either be a mint julep, hailstorm, or even a snowstorm!
Hailstorm (Mint Julep)
Silver of Pewter Mug
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Fresh mint leaves
Use a silver mug
Add ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Add enough water to make paste frosting
Grind fresh mint leaves into paste
Fill mug up to the top with finely scraped ice
Add bourbon whiskey pouring it through the ice
Stir with spoon until mug is frosted
Top with sprigs of fresh mint
To make this drink into a Snowstorm – add a dash of brandy on top
To make this drink into a Hailstorm – add a more generous dash of brandy
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Select Drink Recipe Sources for the Series:
Alderman, Clifford Lindsey, "Of Drinks & Drinkers," Early American Life, December 1975, pgs 87-88, 91 - 93
Bullock, Helen, The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion: Being a Collection of Upwards of Five Hundred of the Most Ancient and Approv'd Recipes in Virginia Cookery, Colonial Williamsburg and Dietz Press: Richmond, VA, 1938
Carr, Eve, "Home-Grown Treats," Mid-Atlantic Country, December, 1986 pgs. 34 - 35, 58
Gaspee Days Committee, www.gaspee.org/colonialrecipes.html
Mackin, Jeanne, "Flowing Bowl," Americana, pgs. 39 - 41
Stief, Frederick Philip, Eat, Drink, & Be Merry in Maryland, Johns Hopkins Press: Baltimore, MD, 1932
Tilp, Frederick, "Tips on Tippling from Tidewater Maryland," Maryland Magazine, 1978, pgs. 14 - 17