I have started this, so I will continue on alcoholic drinks in the Regency period. It is feeding my need for research as my progress in my book continues apace.
One of the BIG alcoholic tipples during the early part of the 19th century was -- port.
Port is shipped from Oporto and the grapes are mainly grown in the Upper Douro. The grapes aregrown by quintas or farms The ratio of Portuguese wine to Spanish was three to one in 1815. Until the 1820's pages of the Royal household were issued with a bottle of port per day. It was significant moment when it was changed to sherry but it wasn't until the 1840s that sherry drew level with port and finally the consumption of sherry overtook port in 1859. (According to Hugh Johnson's Story of Wine). One explanation can be the variety of upheavals and civil wars that wracked Portugal in the 19th century beginning in 1820.
Port had huge associations with the three bottle per day men (IE rakes) and the Temperance movement particularly targeted the wine. It was a fiery glassful. And there were almost as many styles of port as ribbons in a haberdasher's shop according to the journalist Henry Vizetelly in 1877. The one that stood out head and shoulders above the rest was vintage port -- in particular the 1820. Vintage port did have a dose of brandy added to it btw. Customers often chose and blended their own port.
The shippers, indeed most of the Port traders were dominated by the British, in particular by The Factory House. The Factory House still maintains its over 200 years old tradition of Wednesday lunch where a tawny port is followed by a glass of vintage wine. A wager is placed on which vintage and shipper. The first reference to tawny port is by Charles Dickens in 1844. Tawny is lighter in colour than the deep ruby red one traditionally associates with vintage port.
Cockburn's was founded in 1815 and W&J Graham in 1820, but the tradition of port goes back to the early 1700s.
Oh, and vintage port is one of the things butlers would have kept behind the locked cage in the wine cellar. It takes a long time to mature.