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A Sin and A Secret: Thirsty Martha

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 Pretty Bar Maid by John Collet, 1770
The Pretty Bar Maid by John Collet, 1770

Thirsty Martha

The following short story appeared in the Maryland Gazette in November, 1750. The Gazette was reporting on gossip that had occurred in a tavern back in England:

"Yesterday a woman, who goes by the name of Thirsty Martha, being at a public house, a man offered to pay for as much ale as she could drink while he smoak’d out a pipe of tobacco; she accordingly drank eight pints in the time, (which was not less than a quarter of an hour) and went off not at all disordered, excepting that she complain’d she was still very dry.”

We’ve paired this quick hit of a story with a boozy drink: the Blenheim. Also known as Four Score and Ten, this drink was created in honor of Winston Churchill.

The Blenheim

(also known as the Four Score and Ten)

Created for Winston Churchill 90th Birthday by Joe Gilmore.

1 oz, Brandy

3⁄4 oz, Yellow Chartreuse

1⁄2 oz, Lillet Blanc

1⁄2 oz, Orange juice

1⁄2 oz, Dubonnet Rouge


Combine with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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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,

  • 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

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