Saloop was a hot drink which was popular in England in the 18th and 19th century.
Initially, it was made from salep — a flour made from orchid roots which thickened the drink — which mostly originated in Smyrna. Later, the roots and leaves of the North American sassafras tree were the key ingredient. This plant thickened the drink and also had a stimulating quality.
This refreshing beverage was sold in place of tea and coffee, which were much more expensive, and was served in a similar way with milk and sugar.
It was used as a remedy for various ailments, including "chronic alcoholic inebriety." Its popularity declined when it was purported to treat venereal disease and so drinking it in public became shameful. Saloop stalls in London were replaced by coffee stalls.
- Thomas Rowlandson (1820), Rowlandson's Characteristic Sketches of the Lower Orders of the British Metropolis, Samuel Leigh
- Church, A.H. (1893). Food: some account of its sources, constituents and uses. The University of Leeds Library: Chapman and Hall Ld. p. 29.
- Holly Chase (1994), "Suspect Salep", Look and Feel: Studies In Texture, Appearance and Incidental Characteristics of Food, Oxford Symposium, pp. 45–46, ISBN 978-0907325567
- Edwin Augustus Peeples (1994), Planting an Inheritance, Stackpole Books, p. 62, ISBN 978-0811712064
- Ward, Artemas. The encyclopedia of food: their comparative values and how best to use and enjoy them. 1923. p. 451.
- Jonathan Pereira (2014), The Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1, Cambridge University Press, p. 463, ISBN 978-1108068833
- Mayhew, Henry (1861). London Labour and the London Poor. 1. p. 27.
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