How-to Speak Like A Regency Era Drunk

As any experienced reenactor will tell you, once the gates close and the public returns home, the true fun begins. More often than not this evening entertainment includes drinking, at times prodigious amounts, of alcohol. What are those of us who wish to remind in first person to do when the bottle begins to be passed? Surely we don't want to pass up the option of free booze and the rare opportunity to sample the home brewed concoctions of our fellow camp mates, lest of all we come across as a stick in the mud and not be invited back for the next event. Instead of sacrificing authenticity or giving up on the dream of 24-7 first person, why not incorporate those late night alcohol fueled shenanigans into our first person experience?

Of course, to truly pull off drunken first person, we must know the proper terminology to describe not only what we drink, but who we are with & how we feel afterward. So I give to you, my historically inebriated readers,
The Regency Era Drunkards Lexicon
or Terms to Turn the Tea-Teetotalers Toes.

Things to drink when you're in the Regency Era:

Adam's Ale : water, plain & simple.
All nations: the drainings of several bottles all into one pot.
balderdash: adulterated wine of any kind.
Bumbo: brandy, water & sugar,
calibogus: rum and spruce beer mixed
Cobblers punch: The frightening combination of treacle, vinegar, gin & water mixed. Yes, together.
conny wabble: eggs & brandy beaten together.
Crank: A classic gin & tonic water, without the tonic.
Flip: small beer, brandy & sugar combined & heated with a red hot poker.
Sir Cloudsley: flip with lemon added named after Admiral of the Fleet Sir Cloudesley Shovell.
grog: rum and water.
hog wash: a thick, bad beer. Like flat Pabst Blue Ribbon.
rot gut: small beer
scandal broth: tea-drinking
slip-slops: tea, water-gruel and anything taken medicinally.
tall boy: The same as it is today, a two quart pot or bottle.
twist: half tea, half coffee

What to say when you're drinking in the Regency Era:

We gave the bottle a black eye: drank it almost up
I'm chapt: thirsty, very very thirsty.
dead men: empty bottles
tipsey: almost drunk
toss pot: a drunkard
wet one's whistle: to drink
chirping merry: exhilarated with liquor
toast: a health said over drinks

How much to drink in the Regency Era:

a bumper: a full glass
like a beast: only when thirsty
a dram: a small measure of spiritous liquors
Bung your eye or fire a slug: drink a dram
Just a nip of ale: a half pint of beer
a cup of the creature: a cup of good liquor
a swig: a hearty draught of liquor

What NOT to do when you've had too much to drink in the Regency Era:

cast up ones accounts, cascade, to shoot the cat, flash the hash : vomit
churl: drink malt liquor immediately following wine
admiral of the barrow seas: vomit into the lap of the person sitting opposite due to drunkenness.
Become boosey, flustered, foxed or groggified : to get drunk
capsize: drink till you fall out of your chair
become cropsick: sickness in the stomach arising from drunkeness
guzzle: to drink greedily

List complied from Captain Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811.


  1. I love this! Don't think I'd ever be brave enough to try half of them though!


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