"I have tasted the drink without colour in the bottle. "

This is probably gin, the drink of choice for lower class Victorians. It was cheap and, in the cities, safer to drink than tap water (which spread typhoiddiphtheria, and other life-threatening diseases).

In Dickens's Oliver Twist, gin drinking is endemic among the lower echelons of London society: Mrs Mann, to the approval of Mr Bumble the beadle, gives gin to her baby to help it sleep.