Americans in the early 19th-century drank a lot. And when you really enjoy something, you
come up with multiple variations and derivations of it. And you get very creative in naming your
variations and derivations. Nineteenth-century Americans got very creative, indeed, in naming
their variations of juleps and flips and punches. There are political names (Polk and Dallas
were the U. S. President and Vice President from 1845-1849; “Tip and Ty”
was a popular campaign song in the 1840 Presidential election), names based on ingredients (though, if
mint julep has mint in it, one flinches to think what must have been in a racehorse julep … );
there are regional names (“Knickerbocker” and “Virginia fancy”) and descriptive
names (“phlegm-cutter” is … vivid).
John Russell Bartlett probably was more interested in the variety than he was in the poetry of the
possibly hyperbolic list of kinds of liquor he included in the
Dictionary of Americanisms. But there’s music
here: “slingflip,” “switchel-flip,” “porteree,” “ropee.”
And the sheer variety is enticing. A recipe for milk punch is
included in The Kentucky Housewife (1839), as is a recipe
for sangaree, also mentioned in the Dictionary.
Orignally, the list was formatted in three columns; it’s been reformatted here. The word “do.”
“Liquor” (from Dictionary of Americanisms, by John Russell Bartlett; NY: Bartlett & Welford, 1848; p. 208)
LIQUOR: Many and very singular names have been given to the various
compounds or mixtures of spirituous liquors and wines, served up in
fashionable bar-rooms in the United States. The following list is taken
from one advertisement:
Plain mint julep.
Tip and Ty.
Polk and Dallas.
I. O. U.
Tippe na Pecco.
Ne plus ultra.
Pig and whistle.
Poor man’s punch.