By A. Lynn Martin (auth.)
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Extra resources for Alcohol, Sex, and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Under ideal conditions the maximum strength is about 15 per cent because at that level the alcohol has destroyed the yeast, but the traditional winemaking techniques were far from ideal. A safe conclusion would be that the wines were weaker than modern wines but probably not by much. The strength of beer and ale was more straightforward than that of wine. To make beer or ale brewers added yeast to water and malted barley. Since the sugar content of malted barley is relatively invariable, to make a stronger drink the brewer used less water.
Even if men purchased the household’s supply of alcohol, women often were responsible for managing the cellars. 57 The evidence from traditional Europe 24 Alcohol, Sex, and Gender presents a much different picture than the one from Republican Rome of families forbidding women to have access to drink. The functions of alcohol In addition to the daily drinking as part of their diet, women used alcoholic beverages for social jollification, and they were also participants in the many rites and rituals that featured ale, beer, or wine.
35 Mother Watkins ale was semen. Another ballad told of a shepherd high on a hill who encountered a pretty maid passing by: Thou shalt taste of my bottle before thou dost go, fa la. 36 Conception and pregnancy The procreative and sexual symbolism of alcohol was reflected in medical opinion on cures for barrenness and impotence and on aids in conception. 39 Andrew Boorde’s Breviary of Helthe (1547) recommended ‘good’ drinks for women and ‘restorative’ drinks for men to help them procreate, but for men who had trouble getting an erection his versions of Viagra were hippocras and elegant, bastard, and Gascon wines.
Alcohol, Sex, and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe by A. Lynn Martin (auth.)