Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

Our National Anthem Came from an Old English Drinking Song

To Anacreon!
by The Drink Nation on Oct 25, 2011 in Culture
Our National Anthem Came from an Old English Drinking Song

World Series games are likely top the list of occasions that see the greatest number of Americans simultaneously raise a glass to our country while listening to the national anthem. Having a drink with friends goes well with baseball, but – perhaps surprisingly – is even more fitting for The Star Spangled Banner: author Francis Scott Key lifted the tune for this patriotic homage from an old English drinking song.

The melody originated in an 18th Century London gentleman’s club, as the accompaniment to a verse entitled “To Anacreon in Heaven.” The song, along with the Anacreonatic Society (as the group of British men was known) celebrated the Greek poet Anacreon, who was known to weave tales of Bacchanalia for the early Hellenic court. A few example lyrics:

Away to the Sons of Anacreon we'll fly,
And there, with good Fellows, we'll learn to intwine
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

While Key was most certainly not tossing back spirits during his detainment on a British ship during the War of 1812, his was already a fan of the Anacreon-touting tune. As soldiers at Fort McHenry successfully defended Baltimore Harbor, he was inspired to give the song new verse, and wrote the poem that eventually became the official song of our nation.

Check out the Anacreonatic Song here (mp3), and sing the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner as you listen. Next time you hear the soaring words about the land of the free and the home of the brave, remember the song also celebrates a good drink with friends.

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Pedialyte Has a New Product That Might Help Cure Your Next Hangover

Pedialyte Has a New Product That Might Help Cure Your Next Hangover

If you've been picking up Pedialyte at the corner store after a long night of drinking, you're not alone — a...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 4, 2019
Cozy Up to These Winter Cocktails in D.C.

Cozy Up to These Winter Cocktails in D.C.

From themed drinks to warming cocktails, the holiday season and wintertime in general is the best time of the year for fun, festive drinks....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Dec 11, 2018
Amy Poehler Has Opened a Wine Store in Brooklyn

Amy Poehler Has Opened a Wine Store in Brooklyn

Amy Poehler has a new role - she has opened a wine store, Zula Wines & Spirits, in Brooklyn's Park Slope, according to Eater. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Dec 11, 2018
SPONSORED
Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are
Stay Warm in D.C. This Winter With These Hot & Spiced Cocktails

Stay Warm in D.C. This Winter With These Hot & Spiced Cocktails

Here are our top picks for D.C. tipples that will warm you up from the inside out....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Nov 27, 2018
Red Spot Whiskey Has Returned after 50 Years Out of Production

Red Spot Whiskey Has Returned after 50 Years Out of Production

After 50 years out of production, Red Spot Whiskey has returned to join the Spot Whiskeys family once again....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 26, 2018
Miller High Life is Now Available in Champagne Bottles

Miller High Life is Now Available in Champagne Bottles

Miller High Life, commonly known as the 'Champagne of Beers,' is now available in actual champagne bottles for a limited run during the holiday season...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 13, 2018
Jack Daniels is Making a Whiskey Advent Calendar For the Holiday Season

Jack Daniels is Making a Whiskey Advent Calendar For the Holiday Season

Jack Daniels has debuted a boozy advent calendar filled with, naturally, whiskey, just in time for the holiday...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 13, 2018
Drinks Decoded: Hot Buttered Rum

Drinks Decoded: Hot Buttered Rum

In this series, we take a closer look at well-known cocktails. This week's Drinks Decoded takes on the Hot Buttered Rum....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Nov 12, 2018
Behind the Bar: Jason Wise, Director of the SOMM Documentary Film Series

Behind the Bar: Jason Wise, Director of the SOMM Documentary Film Series

For this installment of Behind the Bar, we spoke to Jason Wise, documentary filmmaker and director of the new ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 31, 2018
Where to Drink in D.C.'s Navy Yard

Where to Drink in D.C.'s Navy Yard

One of the city's fastest growing neighborhoods, Navy Yard is home to a plethora of bars and restaurants with more on the horizon. Here are our picks ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Oct 29, 2018
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close