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Drinks from an 18th century house party

The Taos Center for the Arts will host a conversation about distilled spirits in the 1700s. (Courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Ever wondered what alcoholic drinks would have been served at an 18th century Parisian house party?

If so, you’re in luck.

This was one of the many questions asked when the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, University of Minnesota and Tattersall Distilling Company teamed up for a collaboration.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, the Taos Center for the Arts will present “When A Museum, Distillery and a Library Collaborate – Alcohol’s Empire: Distilled Spirits in 1700s Atlantic World.”

The virtual event is part of TCA’s series “Where We Meet,” which offers a conversation between the creators – curators at museums and libraries, designers and distillers.

The project encompasses an exhibition, manuscripts and recipes, as well as contemporary adaptations from a distillery of those recipes, and explores the history of drinking in the 18th century Atlantic World.

According to the Minnesota Institute of Art, the project “was driven by individuals who are interested in material culture, recreating historical products, and searching for unique flavors.”

The conversation will focus on the nature of collaboration and material culture, and, in particular, the place and increased importance of virtual, interactive publications and platforms for museums, for educators and for the public in a world affected by the pandemic.

“There’s this history,” says Colette LaBouff, TCA executive director. “There’s actual recipes for the drinks and they could be recreated. That’s why I’ve invited them to this event. And to see how these collaborations happen.”

LaBouff says the other piece that is interesting is there is an interactive publication that goes with the project.

“She’ll be participating in the conversation,” LaBouff says. “In the pandemic, we’re all looking for one of those opportunities to engage, but not in person.”

LaBouff says the project is a great example of what museums are doing.

“That’s why we were interested in bringing the virtual event to New Mexico,” she says. “The panel will talk about how collaborations (like this) inspire others.”

LaBouff says one of the coolest aspects is learning about the drinks people in the 18th century were drinking.

Plague Water is one of the recipes made for the project. (Courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art)

“A lot of the recipes are drinks that were to protect your health,” she says. “There’s a huge historical significance and we’re living in a pandemic. We get a chance to see what these people were creating with herbs.”

The participants will include:

• Emily Beck, Assistant Curator, Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology & Medicine, University of Minnesota.

• Jon Kreidler, Co-Founder and Chief Officer at Tattersall Distilling Company.

• Nicole LaBouff, Associate Curator of Textiles, Minneapolis Institute of Art.

• Kristine Thayer, Senior Designer at Minneapolis Institute of Art.

• And Rita O’Connell will moderate.

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