Cheers! The Culture of Drink in Early Maryland @ Homewood Museum

If you know the Chop at all, you know that we’re the type to take our drinking very, very seriously. Of course, we strongly believe in drinking responsibly, but to us ‘drinking responsibly’ doesn’t just mean taking a cab or laying off the Jaeger shots… it means drinking the right way.

So, we’re trying to buy a dining room group at the moment. This is a task which has so far required no shortage of time and effort in straining our eyes to look online and driving to and fro from store to store to deal with salesmen and parse the differences between “cherry” and “cherry satin”. It will undoubtedly require yet more effort in painting, wallpapering, and possibly even installing new lighting. This is not to mention considerable expense.

A drawing room at 1515 Linden Avenue in Reservoir Hill, 1886. Photo courtesy MD Historical Society.

But you may ask, “Chop, you’re a single bachelor. Most of your meals consist of Midnight Snacks on the couch. What do you need with a fancy-schmancy table?” Well, you’re right. The table and chairs are mostly an afterthought. What we’re actually shopping for, and what will be the true centerpiece of the room, is the bar.

It’s well known that our grandfathers were better drinkers than we are. The Chop’s own grandfathers are a case in point. Do you think they ever drank beer from “aluminum bottles”, or asked if their wine was “bio-dynamic”, or mixed anything with Red Bull? Of course not. They learned to drink in World War II.

But what about our grandfathers’ grandfathers? The landed gentry and patriarchs of the Old Line State? How did they drink? For they are the ones we should be emulating if we really want to do it right. Cask Madeira, Terrapin Stew and 20 year rye? Yes, please.

This is why, before we rebuild our bar this Fall, we’re going to stroll over to the Homewood Museum and have a look at their exhibit Cheers! The Culture of Drink in Early Maryland.

The exhibition is on view as part of the regular Homewood tour, and focuses on how the Carrolls and other early families procured, stored, served and sipped their wines and whiskies.

While we’re at it, we might even come back tomorrow for the Museum’s Historic Home Brews talk and tasting featuring Baltimore native and Stillwater Ales founder Brian Strumke as part of the 2010 Baltimore Beer Week. If you can’t make it down to the Museum of Industry for the Official Opening Tap Ceremony you can still taste some of the best beer in Maryland right here at Homewood, just in time for Friday happy hour.



Tapping ceremony and home brews tasting require advance registration. See for more information on all beer week events. The Culture of Drink exhibit runs from Sep. 16 until Nov. 28 2010 from 11am-4pm Tue-Fri and 12-4 Sat & Sun.