ping: lord of the teapot

Tea is a hot drink and most unsuitable to slake the thirst of a working man!

(John Bickerdyke The Curiosities of Ale & Beer: An Entertaining History (1886))

The whisky sold a threepence for each small wine-glassful in most of the country spirit shops in Ireland, and always taken neat by the natives, is of a most injurious character, being new, and consequently containing much fusel oil. far be it from us to say a word against good, well-matured whisky, which, taken in moderation, is a most wholesome drink; but, good or bad, it is not the drink for working men who require a more sustaining and less expensive liquor. What have the total abstainers to suggest? Water, the diffuser of epidemics, and hardly ever obtained pure by the labouring classes; tea, which is almost as injurious as spirits to the nervous system, which lacks nutritive properties, and which is by no means an inexpensive liquor; coffee and cocoa, both hot drinks and most unsuitable to slake the thirst of a labouring man; various effervescing drinks, all more or less injurious to the digestive organs, when taken habitually, and of whose composition no man hath knowledge save the makers, and temperance wines, certain vendors of which were not long back prosecuted for attempting to defraud the revenue, when this abstainer’s tipple was found to contain some twenty per cent. of alcohol. One liquor, alone, have the teetotal party invented, which is nourishing, inexpensive, and wholesome. This we may term oatmeal mash, or cold comfort. It consists of scalded oatmeal, water, and some flavouring matter. For harvesters working in the almost tropical heat of an August sun, this is, no doubt, a wholesome drink, but it can hardly be called palatable As a matter of fact, no non-alcoholic substitute has been put forward by the teetotal party which is in the least likely to take the place of porter; and until such beverage is invented—an event which we feel perfectly certain will never come to pass—the porter and stout brewers of the United Kingdom will have every opportunity of continuing to confer on the working classes the benefits of cheap and wholesome liquor.


Senior Member
Oh excellent stuff Cunobelin, and so true. As I sip a Christmas ale I am smug in the knowledge that water is the diffuser of epidemics.
There is a superb album called A Tale of Ale which features the above as well as WIlly Rushden performing Shakespeare's Porter Scene form Macbeth.

Another gem:
An old Scottish and English Proverb...

He that buys land buys many stones; He that buys flesh buys many bones; He that buys eggs buys many shells, But he that buys good ale buys nothing else.
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