Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the Amari file: the earliest vermouth?

During Dynasty 0, around 3150 BC, one of the first kings of Egypt, Scorpion I, was buried in a magnificent vermouth cellar.

"More than a thousand prescriptions are recorded in the ancient Egyptian medical papyri. Most numerous are those that list alcoholic beverages–wine and beer–as dispensing agents, and in which tree resins (terebinth, pine, frankincense, myrrh, fir, etc.) and numerous herbs (bryony, coriander, cumin, mandrake, dill, aloe, wormwood, etc.) are added ingredients. The plants and their exudates were macerated, mixed together, and steeped in these beverages; they were administered for specific ailments. Traditional Egyptian medicine today still uses many of the same formulations."

-Patrick McGovern, "Wines Fit for Kings and the Afterlife"

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