Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Eliza Knight (Guest Post & Giveaway)

Morning lovelies! Joining us today is the author of A Lady's Charade, Eliza Knight, with a wonderful guest post and giveaway! You can see Lexy's review of A Lady's Charade *HERE*

Medieval Beverages

I really do enjoy curling up with a glass of pinot noir (Mark West is my wine of choice at the moment!) and reading a good book.  Which of course got me to thinking, what sort of drinks did they have back in medieval times?
I got to wine festivals several times throughout the year. Lucky for me in my town there are several wineries! One of which has a famous Mead, they sell to the Renaissance Festival, I also frequent… Yum!
So back to what sort of drinks they had in medieval times…

Water – if water was boiled it could be purified, but people rarely drank it and when they did it wasn’t always boiled first. Water had too much bacteria in it. You know what went into the water? Shudder. Water ways were treated as a sewage of sorts. Excrement, trash, carcasses…

Milk – Milk from animals was for children only. Adults didn’t drink it—although they did enjoy almond milk. A milk-cow was considered a prized possession. Especially if the family was starving and the mother couldn’t nurse her baby. Those cows saved a lot of babies from starvation. Milk was also provided by goats.

Ale – was made from grains and very thick. Think beer but not strained enough. Often they would drink watered down ale.

Wine – the poor had no wine. It was very expensive. The middle class had watered down local wine, and those with money generally had the good stuff. In England, for the nobility, wine was often imported from France or Italy. Funny that today, the French and Italian wines are still the top of the line. 

Caudell – was wine or ale that was beaten with raw eggs to make a frothy beverage. I wonder if the guys who were trying to pump up their muscles devoured this drink often?

Cider – made from apples, but I wouldn’t serve it to your children today although children in the medieval era often drank watered down fermented—alcoholic—beverages, because it was safer. It was usually mixed with mead or some other alcoholic beverage.

Mead – is an alcoholic beverage made from honey and grains. It was often flavored with hops to give it that bitter beer flavor.

Perry or Poire – pear juice…but again, not for modern kiddies. It’s fermented, and similar to the cider.

Spiced wine – also known as Clarey or Claret. It was wine spiced with cinnamon or honey, and other spices.

Distillates – these are alcoholic beverages made from grains, and very strong. Think of liquor. (Whiskey was made quite a bit in Scotland and Ireland!)

Murrey – blackberry wine

Prunelle – juice of wild plums and berries, fermented into a wine or liqueur

Melomel – this is mead that contains fruit, like berries.

Methegin – was a type of mead made with spices.

Hippocras – mix of wine and spices

By the way, in medieval times it was okay to drink alcohol with breakfast. Do you think I could get away with it, if I said I was doing it for research? How did they function? Then again, if you were constantly drinking alcohol, I suppose you built up quite a tolerance. It is said that Queen Elizabeth I (Reigned 1558-1603) loved her cordials—a spiced liquor.

What would be your beverage of choice if you lived in the medieval era?  Leave a comment for your chance to win an ebook copy of my new medieval novel, A LADY’S CHARADE.

Eliza Knight is the multi-published author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain, and enjoys cold winter nights when she can curl up in front of a roaring fire with her own knight in shining armor. Visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com or her historical blog, History Undressed, which was recently mentioned in a feature article in The Wall Street Journal. www.historyundressed.blogspot.com

NEW Medieval Romance from Eliza… A LADY’S CHARADE
From across a field of battle, English knight, Alexander, Lord Hardwyck, spots the object of his desire--and his conquest, Scottish traitor Lady Chloe.
Her lies could be her undoing…
Abandoned across the border and disguised for her safety, Chloe realizes the man who besieged her home in Scotland has now become her savior in England. Her life in danger, she vows to keep her identity secret, lest she suffer his wrath, for he wants her dead. 
Or love could claim them both and unravel two countries in the process…
Alexander suspects Chloe is not who she says she is and has declared war on the angelic vixen who's laid claim to his heart. A fierce battle of the minds it will be, for once the truth is revealed they will both have to choose between love and duty.
Available now in both Ebook and Trade Paperback. To read an excerpt visit: http://elizaknight.com/ALadysCharade.aspx

As Eliza mentioned above, she is giving away one digital copy of A Lady's Charade to one lucky reader, to enter just leave a comment answering her question at the end of her post and fill out the reafflecopter below!


  1. Mead. It's sweet, alcoholic and it's not beer (I hate beer). Water is not so great, wine is expensive, and where I am from there was no vodka. So Mead it is.

    Dammnit. Where is the coffee at?

    Thanks for the post and the giveaway! :)

    Ammy Belle
    apereiraorama @ gmail . com

  2. This looks really good,Loved the post:)

  3. that would be penicilin or a whole apothecary ;)
    i really don't want to stay there only for a day, hurt myself and die because of an infection.

  4. @Ammy -- lol about the coffee, I'm with you on that one! Mead is delicious! There is a winery 5 minutes from me that sells Medieval Mead :)

    @Thank you Temperance!

    @Yto -- lol!!! Yes, I might be downing those as part of my daily regimen too :)

  5. Fantastic post, Eliza!! I'd love to try some mead. I also like apple cider and some ales (but only if they don't taste like beer, which I hate.) LOL

  6. Since dark beer is my fav, no doubt their ale would be a reasonable substitute. However, like Ammy Belle mentioned, I would be lost without my morning coffee.

    Cider sounds good also, as does wine. I have tasted mead before, too sweet for me. Loved A Lady's Charade Eliza. Congrats on the review, and good luck with sales.

  7. Not sure what the medieval drinks were. I just found that Brandy came about at the same time so I would say that even though I don't really drink, therefore don't know what it tastes like

  8. Loved this post. It was very informative. My personal drink? Forget wine and beer. Give me a Diet Coke or Pepsi. I'm a connoisseur. I can tell you if it's approaching its expiration date or God Forbid, it's gone past!

    McDonalds Diet Cokes are the best if you need one on the run. For cans, I prefer Pepsi Max. It tastes most like the real thing. Although if I wasn't so calorie conscious, I'd go for regular Coke or Pepsi.

    I'm craving one now. I haven't had one in a few days. McDonalds, here I come!

  9. What a great blog! Love the title. Eliza, I had no idea so many different drinks existed back then. Very educational post. I would prefer then what I prefer now: a glass of French burgundy, thank you. Red or white would do just fine. Good luck with A Lady's Charade!

  10. Apple Cider.


  11. @Vonda -- I love cidars too! But I am also a Guiness lover too ;) Thanks for stopping by!

    @Derek -- I'm not sure what I'd do without the coffee either... It is essential!!! Thanks so much for all of your support!!!

    @Arianne -- I've never tasted Brandy... I should give that a shot! Thanks for stopping by!

    @Anita -- lol!!! I would NOT ever want to know what the expired coke/pepsi tastes like... *shudder* I used to CRAVE McDonald's diet coke!!! Hope you enjoyed your drink :)

    @Pat -- thank you so much!!! I am drinking a red French wine as I type this :)

  12. @Judy -- cider is excellent! Thanks for stopping by :)

  13. I think I'd have to pick spiced wine. Although cider would be my second pick. Thanks for the giveaway!

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  14. I would have probably went for mead, cider, or ale. I would have to sample them to know which I like best.

  15. I would probably drink apple cider although I would miss my coffee. Tore923@aol.com

  16. I'm a big baby - I don't drink anything alcoholic & love anything dairy; I can imagine I'd be drinking milk all the time!

    Otherwise I could imagine myself drinking hippocras cos i love flavour of spices


  17. My beverage of choice would probably be iced orange juice. Healthy and tasty :) Thanks for the giveaway.

  18. @ML -- Oh, spiced wine is delicious! Thank you for stopping by :)

    @June -- I like to sample too--the more the merrier! lol. Thank you for visiting!

    @Tore-- There are a lot of us coffee drinkers. What would we have done??? Thanks for your comment!

    @Linda -- and the milk would be uber fresh too! You aren't a big baby :) I love to drink milk, especially in my coffee. Thank you for visiting!

    @Na -- iced orange juice is delicious! I had some this past weekend at a book festival (although they did put champange in mine, lol) Thanks for stopping by!

    I wanted to send a special Thank YOU!!! To Reading Between the Wines for hosting me! It's been fun!

  19. I think a spiced cordial sounds intriguing and I would like to try that; in the evening of course in front of the fire before retiring to relax. Where can I find some LOL Thank you for the fun today:)

  20. @Denise--I think that sounds awesome! I'd like a cordial in front of the fire too. I'll stretch out and sip it slowly, read a book maybe. It will be lovely. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you had fun!

  21. water and even if i am adult, I would milk.

  22. I'd go for wine, I think - would love to know what medieval wine tastes like, what they considered good and bad wine etc.
    The problem I always have with talk of wine in the past is that everyone always says (NOT just here) that they used to drink alcohol to avoid drinking water... but then that they would WATER DOWN the alcohol. Am I missing something here??

  23. lol Richard, I always wondered the same thing. But I think it had something to do with the alcohol killing the bacteria in the water, which is why they watered ale and wine. Watered down drinks were often served to conserve money, or given to children, servants, the poor, and I suppose if someone didn't want to get drunk. I too wonder what the wine tasted like... I know that they often thought vintages from Italy and France tasted better than England. I bet there are wineries out there that make wine just like they did in the medieval days. I need to look into this further.

  24. I can't even imagine what the water tasted like during those time.I imagine that they drank starting first thing in the morning because Lord those times wanted for everything. lol I too wonder how they functioned through out the day though. I don't drink and the couple of times I did try I became so sleepy. :) But I imagine I'd have drunk the Prunelle, at least it sounded good. lol
    I enjoyed your post Eliza and look forward to reading your book.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  25. Hmmm - I wish I was more of a scientist! I think the fermentation process killed the (bad) bacteria, which is why they would transform suspect water into beer, but I don't think the alcohol itself killed anything. Even strong drink, like whisky, wouldn't counteract bad water... I think.
    But they did have some good water. They had wells, and they had springs - and I also know that they used to bottle rain-water to preserve it. At least by 1604, they did: 'Take rayne water in June, strayne it into a glass and preserve it to your use, and when your eyes are sore wash them therewith, this water will remayne sweete all the yeare'. - from Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book

  26. I think I'll pick apple cider or spiced wine :)


  27. @Carol--I wonder the same thing but I suppose their tolerance for alcohol was very high.

    @Richard--Good point. Maybe it was they just couldn't drink from nasty rivers and moats. And they could easily boil the water to rid it of bacteria too... I haven't heard of Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book I'll have to check that out!

    @Winnie--great choice!

  28. I would enjoy the Spiced Wine or Murrey!! Sounds yummy!

    Thanks so much for a fun post and the giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

  29. I think I would like the taste of the mead best. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Robin D
    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com


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