"the frothy remnant of a recent draught of ale"
Puritans Drinking from Pewter Mugs in Colonial Massachusetts
Public DomainPuritans Drinking from Pewter Mugs in Colonial Massachusetts
A tankard of ale
Creative Commons AttributionA tankard of ale - Credit: Jessica Spengler

Though Puritans figure in the popular imagination as a crew of joyless teetotalers, they in fact enjoyed alcohol very much. Preachers advocated moderate consumption — Increase Mather famously declared “Drink is in it self a good creature of God, and to be received with thankfulness, but the abuse of drink is from Satan” — but that did not stop their congregations quaffing prodigious quantities. At a time when water was unsafe to drink without being boiled, alcohol accompanied every activity, from work to weddings, christenings to court trials. The settlers were hugely inventive in their brewing and concocted alcoholic beverages from dandelions, squash, corn silk, onions, tomatoes, and plenty more besides.