Monday, August 5, 2019

Turkish Etiquette and “Iced Punch”

Although alcohol is considered haram (prohibited or sinful) by the majority of Muslims, a significant minority drinks, and those who do often outdrink their Western counterparts. Among drinkers, Chad and a number of other Muslim-majority countries top the global ranking for alcohol consumption.– Washington Post, 2018 
“Max Müller, was a German-born philologist and ‘Orientalist,’ who lived and studied in Britain for most of his life. He was one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of study of religions.”– Source and photo Wikipedia 

“In Max Müller’s honor, the Sultan gave a dinner. Of course, Mrs. Max Müller was not invited, but the lady, in her ‘‘Letters from Constantinople,” describes it, and the little incident, and how the Sultan drew the line between wine and punch is amusing: ‘Nobody spoke except the Sultan, whose conversation with the Embassador was most animated, though carried on entirely by an interpreter. My husband, not knowing the Turkish etiquette, began to talk French to his neighbor, but received such very short answers that he, too, relapsed into silence. The Sultan, who had evidently seen this, beckoned to Munir Pasha, who whispered something to the Ministers of War and Marine and began to talk very pleasantly, encouraged by a look from the Sultan not to mind such a breach of etiquette. 

Neither the Sultan, nor any of the officials present, had a drop of wine. None was on the table, nor was any handed round, except to unbelievers. The claret, however, was so good that my husband could not resist asking the Grand Master of Ceremonies. ‘Who tasted and chose the wine for the Imperial table?’ He shrugged his shoulders, as though he would say, ‘You can guess.’ One of the  items of the menu was punch. It was iced punch, smelling so strongly that everyone could perceive the alcohol in it, but neither the Sultan nor any of his guests were afraid of it. It was called punch, and punch is not forbidden in the Koran.” – San Diego Union and Daily Bee, 1897

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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