Where do the vinegar names come from?
An excellent question!
My love of things traditional has probably always been there, but I really got into it when I started to play the banjo. Few people realize that the banjo, as a musical instrument, has a great deal of depth and history. I've been playing for over 20 years now and I'm still just astonished by how little I know about it.
I love the traditional styles of playing that developed all over the country, and I love the music that the banjo, fiddle, and guitar were made a part of...Old-Time Music! I've got a vast collection of music on my hard drive, and a ton of it was just recorded while sitting on some old-timer's front porch or living room.
There are certain tunes and songs that are considered ubiquitous around the country. If you look at historic newspapers (yes, I do this all the time), you'll find the occasional ad for a fiddler's contest or celebration involving a square dance. If they talk about the music, they'll usually mention Arkansas Traveler or Turkey in the Straw or any number of tunes that gained popularity in the 18th, 19th or early 20th century. These tunes were the big hits of their day!
So I named my vinegars after them. I put my passion into my vinegars, and I just couldn't call them "Red Wine Vinegar" or "Beer Vinegar"...I needed to give them names! So I took names from the music I love to give to the vinegar I love.
Ida Red is a song recorded by tons of different folks...look up Bob Wills for a fun version! June Apple is a standard fiddle tune/song played all over...check out the raucous version played by the Camp Creek Boys. Liberty is another fiddle tune played just about everywhere...Albert Hash, Cleo Persinger, Benton Flippen...all great versions! The Coffee Blues was one of Mississippi John Hurt's signature songs...man, if you want to hear some fantastic guitar! And Roustabout is a great banjo number made really popular (in Old-Time circles) by Fred Cockerham.
And then there's Wee Heavy. Okay, that's not a fiddle tune or a song, but it was just too cool a name to pass up! In the 19th century system of taxation of beer in Scotland, any beer taxed at 90 Schilling or above was known as a Wee Heavy. And since the Wee Heavy Ale Vinegar is made from Odell 90 Schilling, I figured.....
So there you have it! I hope you're somewhat more enlightened, and maybe a little interested in some of that music I mentioned. Stay tuned for future posts. As I develop new vinegars, there may be some opportunity to help me name them! For instance, I'm hoping to have a peach vinegar ready by this summer, made from Palisade Peaches in Colorado! Here's my conundrum with the name of this vinegar: all the old songs that mention peaches mention them in relation to Georgia. But these peaches come from Colorado!