The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Dec 13, 2010

Imperial Wine

Nearly every aspect of the Russian Imperium was ruled by excess. As pedestrian and commonplace a proceeding as a hunt was an excuse to consume large quantities of rich food and fine drink. When the Empress Elizabeth (daughter of Peter the Great) went on such a revelry, what did she and her cohort pig out on? Simon Dixon's biography of Catherine the Great (lots of great people in Russia, evidently) provides an answer:
For one such bacchanalian expedition, the cellarer at Monplaisir brought out 11 flasks of 'Her Majesty's sweet wine' (Hungarian Tokay), 21 bottles of her favourite English beer, 12 bottles of fortified wine, 1 bottle of the 'new sweet wine', 17 bottles of Burgundy, 16 bottles of champagne, 53 bottles of Rhine wine, 6 flasks of Gdansk vodka, 2 flasks of aniseed-flavour vodka, half a flask of lemon vodka and 2 phials of mustard.
I like that bit about the mustard. What was that for, then?


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