Posts Tagged ‘Romantic era’

Summer Romance: Signature Drink #4

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

This summer, the UPG PhLog celebrates the Romantic Era with four signature drinks (loosely) inspired by the Romantic.

Our Formulation Salon:

Mistress of Ceremonies – Miriam Leuchter
Celebrated Cognac Cognoscente – Therese McNally
Proponent of Unsettled Weather – Heather Quist
UPG Blog Bon Vivants – Jay and Meg

Our final drink for the summer is inspired by a seminal piece of Romantic Era literature. This butterscotch-flavored drink also owes its name to our low resistance to a good butterscotch pun.


The Young Werther’s


4 parts bourbon
1 part butterscotch schnapps
4-5 generous dashes of bitters
lemon twist
seltzer water or tonic water


The main ingredients.

This drink captures the spirit of Goethe’s novel Sorrows of Young Werther, with its sickly-sweet I-can’t-believe-I-was-that-sappy-when-I-was-young foundation, to which we have added a healthy dose of bitter experience to cut through the cloy.

Start with bourbon. (This is a sound approach to many challenges in life.) A slightly harsher whiskey will more effectively contend with the schnapps. We used a high-rye bourbon for less sweetness.

Add the butterscotch schnapps. You may have qualms, but that is perfectly normal. This is the signature ingredient of The Young Werther’s, athough it is disgusting and even a whiff of it can induce a diabetic shock. Just keep it to one part. Be brave. Carry on.

Go heavy with the bitters. Trust us.

Now shake, pour over ice, add a lemon twist, and top with a dash of seltzer or tonic water.

This drink has magical properties. Mixing the thick butterscotch schnapps with the bourbon makes a trippy lava lamp effect as the liquids dance around each other.


Butterscotch schnapps dancing in rye

As you can tell, we’re not fans of sweet drinks here at the PhLog, but this drink is well balanced, and the undertow of syrupy-sweet is a nice reminder of the mawkish excesses of the Romantic Era.


“You need a flask so you can drink it in your car.” – Heather*

*obviously, this would apply only to Mississippi drivers whose blood alcohol content remains below .08%

Summer Romance: The Sorrows of Young Werther

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

The Romantic Era celebrated youth culture in a new way. It was an age of poetry, love songs, and sad tormented tales of woe. The kind of thing that stokes passionate emotions among young people.

It arguably started with the French Revolution. The French Revolution was a young person’s revolution, and its spirit spread across the continent. And, as in revolution, sometimes unleashing passionate emotions can be dangerous.

At the dawn of the Romantic Era, 24-year-old Johann Wolfgang von Goethe rose to fame virtually overnight with his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. This tale of unrequited love, which drives the young protagonist to suicide, struck a chord among the youth of Europe and the book became a best seller, before there were such things as best sellers. Napoleon Bonaparte only brought three books with him on his conquest of Egypt, and The Sorrows of Young Werther was one of them.

Werthermania was everywhere. Young men across Europe started dressing in blue jackets and yellow pants to emulate Goethe’s young hero. People wrote sequels and proto forms of fan fiction to keep the story going. People manufactured and sold Werther figurines, prints of scenes from the book, and even “Eau de Werther” cologne.

Vor neutralem Hintergrund links eine Dame in einem Kleid und mit Hut, von rechts herantretend mit überkreuzten Füßen und die rechte Hand zum Gruß erhoben ein Herr, den abgenommenen Zylinder in der Linken. Bezeichnet: Unter der Darstellung mittig "Deutsche Tracht der Werther-Zeit", daneben handschriftlich "Ende 18. Jhdt." Erschienen in: Münchener Bilderbogen Nr. 401. Zur Geschichte der Costüme. Zehnter Bogen. Letztes Drittel des 18. Jahrhunderts.

“German costume of the Werther-Era,” featuring the latest fashions inspired by Goethe’s novel.
Published in Münchener Bilderbogen Nr. 401. Zur Geschichte der Costüme. Late 18th century.


Tea set featuring scenes from “The Sorrow of Young Werther” via the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The darkest ramification of the book’s success however, went far beyond normal Romantic Era fame. The Sorrows of Young Werther prompted some of the earliest known examples of copycat suicides. At least one person killed herself with the book in her pocket, but some (albeit somewhat unreliable) sources tally the number of suicides as high as 2,000. Young love-torn youths across Europe, prompted by Werther’s example, came to the conclusion that it was meaningless to continue on and ended their lives.

A semi-autobiographical account of his own experience with unrequited love (minus the suicide), Goethe’s book would haunt the author for the rest of his life. Even late in life when he was celebrated as one of the world’s greatest cultural figures, Goethe couldn’t shake his association with this work of juvenilia. He regretted airing his own love affair in the novel, and he claimed to be haunted by the vengeful ghost of young Werther.

Summer Romance: Signature Drink #2

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

We are celebrating the Romantic Era on the PhLog this summer by concocting four signature drinks (loosely) inspired by the Romantic.

The Formulation Salon consisted of mistress of ceremonies Miriam Leuchter, celebrated cognac cognoscente Therese McNally, proponent of unsettled weather Heather Quist, and UPG’s own blog bon vivants, Jay and Meg.

The first drink we posted about was inspired by a German artistic movement, and this next drink was inspired by an individual piece of art — specifically, a song from Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise.

Winterreise is a musical tale of heartbreak and suffering that exhibits all of the Romantic hallmarks: intense emotion, reflections on nature, illustrative use of music, and a harkening back to an earlier, simpler time which was more comfortable with wretchedness.

When you’re stranded in a wasteland of wretchedness, reach for your canteen and quench your thirst — and your sorrows — with our latest signature drink:

Gefrorne Tränen (“Frozen Tears”)


20 oz frozen aloe vera drink
½ cucumber (deseeded)
6 oz gin
juice of half a lime
dash celery bitters
margarita salt
wasabi peas


This is an odd drink, perhaps our most peculiar since the classic Anglo-Saxon the Beach. Miriam wanted something as salty as the hot tears of the Winterreise protagonist, but also wanted something refreshing. The aloe drink certainly gives it a nice viscous base. Just make sure to allow the proper amount of time to freeze it. If it’s not fully frozen the drink will be as watery as melted snow.


Put the frozen aloe into a blender.


Add the cucumber. Important: make sure it has been seeded. You can also pre-puree your cucumber. It just depends on how chunky you want your beverage (we recommend pre-pureeing it). Then add the juice from ½ lime, followed by 6 oz. gin.



Run the blender until frothy. Don’t overblend or the aloe will melt.


Rim a glass with margarita salt and pour from the blender.


Add a dash of celery bitters and garnish with three wasabi peas.


Note: Wasabi could be an interesting ingredient to include in the drink itself. Feel free to experiment.

This drink was surprisingly refreshing and had a nice mild taste augmented by the salt and wasabi peas.


“Wasabi sounds like sob” – Therese

“I want to put it on a burn.” – Miriam

Summer Romance: Celebrity Culture in the Romantic Era

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

This Summer we’re posting about the Romantic era. Today’s post is about the birth of modern fame.


The Romantic era, which championed the individual and personal over reason and the communal, created modern fame and everything that came with it.

The modern publishing industry began in the Romantic era. Books, newspapers and magazines became universally available in ways they hadn’t before. And along with the spread of writing came the spread of celebrity culture.

Writers stopped publishing anonymously, and individual voices started to emerge from a wider and more competitive literary field. Literature became more personal in the romantic era, and therefore readers believed they had a personal connection with the author through his work (and yes, authors were still usually “him”). And many romantic-era authors encouraged that line of thinking.

Criticism started to take off during this time as well, which led to more and more people following the work and careers of specific artists. People grew to anticipate the latest work by Goethe, or the latest Beethoven symphony, and audiences and critics were ready to pass judgment.

In addition, after the French Revolution, writers and artists began tailoring their work towards the common man, rather than towards the aristocracy. Many more people from all levels of society began to access literature and attend concerts.

Lord Byron was one of the greatest superstars to emerge in the romantic era. Women swooned over the poet, sending him fan letters and hounding him in public.


Goethe became a literary celebrity by the age of 25 thanks to his Sorrows of Young Werther (the subject of a future post in this series).


And musicians such as Niccolo Paganini and Franz Liszt courted celebrity in new ways. Liszt in particular developed a show off-y style of performing that drove crowds wild, and he made a show of pretending to fend off droves of high-class women. There were so many adoring women at Liszt’s concerts that Heinrich Heine (another literary celebrity) dubbed the phenomenon “Lisztomania.” Women fought over Liszt’s handkerchiefs and gloves and collected his coffee dregs and discarded cigars. The atmosphere at his concerts was described as “mystical ecstasy.”

In a way this was a birth of the brand – artists had specific marketable styles and certain expectations from their audience. So the next time you despair at today’s over-marketing and over-hyping of, well, everything, you can thank the Romantic era for it.

Summer Romance: Signature Drink #1

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Summer romances are notoriously fleeting, so this summer we’re flirting with the Romantic Era, a time that embraced overwhelming sensation — a time that deserves its own signature drinks.

Over the course of an evening that embodied the sprawling excesses of the period, we convened a salon of dedicated romantics to create not one, but four signature drinks. While every formulation didn’t always hit the mark, our team swung wide, accompanied by the barbaric yawp of a Romantic Era poet.

Our incomparable mistress of ceremonies, Miriam Leuchter, presided. She was joined by celebrated cognac cognoscente Therese McNally, proponent of unsettled weather Heather Quist, and UPG’s own blog bon vivants, Jay and Meg.

Heather commenced the proceedings with a reading from Horace Walpole’s masterpiece, The Castle of Otranto. Written in 1764, this book is considered to be the first gothic novel, sparking a genre that would last throughout the Romantic Era. The reading did not disappoint, filled with tormented haunting, including a portrait that came to life with much heaving of its breast. (People just don’t heave their breasts like they used to.)


Heather, appropriately scandalized by reading Romantic Era literature.

On to the concocting!

The first drink of the evening — and the topic of today’s entry — was the Sturm und Drang. This drink had two inspirations: the popular highball known as the “Dark and Stormy” and the late 18th century German movement that brought extremes of emotion to literature and music.

Whereas the typical Dark and Stormy consists of rum (the dark) and ginger beer (the stormy), Miriam wanted to bring a bit more darkness to honor the moody Romantics. She replaced the ginger beer with stout beer and added a secret ingredient detailed below…

And so, without further ado, we present:

The Sturm und Drang


4 parts Belgian-style stout
2 parts rum
½ part Patrón XO Cafe chocolate chile liqueur
stirred and served over rocks


The ingredients.

This drink benefits chiefly from the complex flavors of a good Belgian-style stout (we used Allagash black but other brands would suffice). The addition of the Patrón XO Cafe, a unique liqueur with a tequila base and a chocolate chile kick, adds a hot/sweet quality to the drink.

We used a dark rum. The Romantics liked things dark.

We used a dark rum. The Romantics liked things dark.

Adding the stout makes it nice and frothy.

Adding the stout makes it nice and frothy.

The finished product.

The finished product.

As we sipped our libations, we talked about Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave and imagined we were on the rocky coasts of Scotland, heaving our breasts and baring our souls.

And the verdict?

“So much more bitter than you would expect.” – Miriam

That was just the start of a long and stormy evening. Stay tuned for further drink recipes of the modern Romantics…

Summer Romance: Wild Nature

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

This Summer we’re posting about the Romantic era. Today’s entry is about the depiction of nature in Romantic art.

The Romantic era embraced disorder and extremity in contrast to the ordered universe of the Enlightenment. This is evident in their artwork, particularly in the visual depiction of nature.

The Enlightenment tamed nature and lived in harmony with her.


Not so for the Romantic era. Romantic painters preferred to depict nature’s uncontrollable power.


The Romantics felt that confronting the terror of nature induced the sublime. As a result, they spent a lot of time in the mountains. Writing poetry, contemplating, heroically braving the elements, their coats fluttering in the breeze, that kind of thing.


This idea of nature as a place of violent upheaval reflected the political and social upheaval of the time, which was a big departure from the age of Enlightenment.

For example, compare these two sea journeys – Enlightenment on the left and Romantic on the right.


And how about this trek through nature?


Composers were inspired by the violent power of nature too. Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony includes a musical thunderstorm featuring music that mimics the sound of thunder, wind, lighting, and a torrential downpour.