the brown mug of cider

Image: William Coxe, A view of the cultivation of fruit trees, and the management of orchards and cider (1817)
Image: William Coxe, A view of the cultivation of fruit trees, and the management of orchards and cider (1817)

Philadelphia may boast of her porter and ale,
The one like pure amber, the other so pale;
She may chaunt the rich virtues of heart-warming beer,
And sing of peach brandy, the Irishman’s cheer–
Unshackled by custom, I’ll choose for myself
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

The praises of Bacchus his vot’ries may sing,
To the jolly old drinker their sacrifice bring,
With bays they crown the blithe god of the vine,
While they bow at his altar, I’ll worship at mine:
For dear to this palate, aye, dearer than pelf,
Is the brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

The Yankees may tell of their switchell and rum,
And bellows-top too, they may count in the sum;
Molasses and water is stale in my eye,
And rum, one may swallow, and after be dry–
Flip may suit some odd mortals, but not so myself,
‘Tis the brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

Then here’s to old orchard, the drink of my sires,
The liquor that mirth and good feeling inspires;
While the farm-house is thrift and the walls are of stone,
And the granary is filled, shall this nectar be known;
‘Tis the yeoman’s panacea, who cares not for pelf,
While the brown mug of cider is seen on his shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

Newark’s apple orchards were a prominent feature of the pre-industrial town, sustaining the production of its famed hard cider. The best brew, sometimes touted as “Newark Champagne,” was thought to result from a blend of the Harrison and the Campfield, or Newark Sweeting–two apple varieties first cultivated here.

The New-Jersey Eagle printed the above encomium on June 29, 1821. It was subtitled “A Parody,” and signed simply “NEWARK.”

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