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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Rank Folklore: Ratafee (strong drink) (20) Folklore: Ratafee (strong drink 29 Nov 06


While trying to find out some information on "Ratase" I came across Miss Bailey's Ghost in John Ashton's publication of 1888 (Modern Street Ballads). This is about the same as Miss Bailey in the Digitrad. I am assuming that Ratafee (circa 1800/50) (also Ratafia) is an alternative spelling to Ratase (circa 1740), an s being written as a f in earlier times.

Ratafee, by the way, is a liqueur made from brandy and wine an flavoured with the kernals of e.g. peach, apricot, plum and bitter almonds. In the 1700's this may have been done to make bad spirit drinkable perhaps?

Another version of the song had Captain Smith drinking turpentine.

Does anybody know anything about ratase or ratafee? I was also wandering if you drank a lot of it and became ratased, whether this could be the origin of the term ratarsed, as in very drunk.


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