Posts Tagged ‘Prohibition’
Friday, February 6th, 2009
It’s Friday… and many Americans will be going out to enjoy a few beverages this evening. Of this massive number of socialites who will be hitting the bars, at least a good portion of them may be hitting the floor also… that’s right, not everyone can be convinced that excess isn’t always best! This being the case, the unpleasant after effects of drinking too much can rear their ugly heads in the form of a hangover.
A hangover (the technical name for which is veisalgia) is the combination of ailments that follow the heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. Most commonly reported characteristics of hangovers include nausea, headaches, sensitivity to light and noise, thirst resulting from dehydration, and even mood swings that often favor sadness and displeasure. No doubt, since man first discovered spirits and their uplifting, intoxicating effects, he has similarly sought to find a remedy for the unpleasant mornings that follow any such evening of drunken euphoria.
Thursday, February 5th, 2009
PROHIBITION ALERT: And you’ll never guess where…
…Wrong again. It’s UTAH, the great state of fear-mongering.
Monkey See, Monkey Do (just look at this poor guy, made to dress like a peanut after watching Planters Peanuts commercials).
Apparently, Utah state legislators are pressing for laws that will restrict restaurants from making mixed drinks in view of minors seated in their establishment. According to senate president Michael Waddoups, such legislation is necessary to protect the “safety and mental future of our children.” As we all know by now, “monkey see… monkey do.” Lord help us, we can’t have our children driven to insanity by watching bartenders pour up drinks… shield their virgin eyes, and presumably wait until the drinks arrive safely at the table, where they may be consumed in full-view of youngsters far and wide.
Indeed, restaurants falling under this new proposed category of restriction will be forced to remodel if their bar is visible from main dining areas. Hey, while we’re at it, we might as well go ahead and ban people from being allowed to light cigarettes in front of minors as well, eh? Apparently the problem with mixed drinks, according to legislators, is the act of making them in front of youngsters instead of the far less harmful act of drinking them; therefore, if we continue to follow this logic, a ban on lighting cigarettes in view of minors should likely be passed as well. Granted, the act of smoking in front of kiddies ought to be fine and dandy, right?
Hell, let’s take no chances… why not go ahead and just kill two birds with one stone? Why not say all smokers have to sit at the bar from now on as well (which will already be shielded from the highly impressionable young eyes of our children, of course). After all, this is America the free, baby.
Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
In a report issued by the Associated Press earlier this week, the state of New Hampshire “is taking advantage of the bad economy by aggressively marketing less-expensive liquor to out-of-state customers.”
Drink to our Economy?
According to the report, liquor sales in the state are already roughly 4 percent higher than they were this time last year. Mark Bodi, chairman of the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission, shares that this most likely has a good bit to do with bargain-hunters coming from neighboring states. “Though wines priced above $25 a bottle are off, the state is seeing strong sales of cheaper boxed wine and larger sized bottles,” he says, also discussing Beer sales which have risen after being “flat” for half a decade. Oh wait, I get it. Beer sales had gone flat… heh heh…
This is only a small example of alcohol sales rising on a localized statewide level; New Hampshire in this instance. However, one must ask if the same sort of thing couldn’t happen much the same way in other states (or is it already occurring)? Is this further evidence of the notion that alcohol sales may indeed be a “recession-proof” industry of sorts?
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
When asked to give the best example of a great American mixed-drink, no doubt many a spirit-purist would cite the Old Fashioned as the definitive classic cocktail. According to frontier legend, the first use of the name “Old Fashioned” was with a kind of Bourbon whiskey cocktail served at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky, back in the 1880s. The recipe, supposedly invented by a bartender at the Pendennis, was also popularized by Colonel James E. Pepper, a regular there at the club who is later was said to have brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. On the other hand, historians would argue that the term “Old Fashioned” was already in use around the same time Pendennis Club was established (Editor’s Note: Indeed it was, and according to mixologist Robert Hess, the beverage is actually a traditional “Whiskey Cocktail, served old fashioned” and was likely stated as such, hence the origin of its popular name today. This title dates back to at least a year prior to the opening of the Pendennis). But all theories regarding its origin put aside, the heart of the debate that rages over the Old Fashioned today has the most to do with what goes in the damned thing.
The basic ingredients in the recipe appear to have been immortalized in print three-quarters of a century earlier than beverages were served at the Pendennis, in response to a letter asking to define the word “cocktail” in the May 6, 1806 issue of the New York Balance and Columbia Repository. The May 13 issue that would follow featured a note from the editor, who described it as a potent concoction of “spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.”
With all due respect to the years lapsing between, at this point we’ll fast forward to 1948, and the release of David A. Embury’s seminal testament on the art of crafting classy mixed beverages The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. The reason for this was perhaps best summed up in the author’s views regarding the creation of any good cocktail beverage, which stated that the ideal mixed drink “should be made from good-quality, high-proof liquors”, and “should whet rather than dull the appetite. Thus, it should never be sweet or syrupy, or contain too much fruit juice, egg or cream.” Following Embury’s guidelines goes directly against practices maintained during the prohibition period, which involved heavy use of sugars, syrups, and fruits to hide the flavor of poor-quality liquors. This being said, we’ll skip straight to Embury’s notion that the over-use of sugar or fruity elements (both of which are called for in most Old Fashioned recipes) will need to be something to avoid when mixing this concoction correctly.
Friday, January 30th, 2009
With the economic turmoil looming over the American people at present, I’ve supposed for a good while now that alcohol could in fact be a “recession proof” magic-bullet of sorts. Think about it, if times are bad people drink… they may not spend as much money on doing so, but people will drink regardless of the circumstances in order to rid themselves of worry, stress, and other things nagging at their minds and weighting their conscience (sadly, this of course can lead to alcohol abuse with folks who begin to feel more than a mere desire to drink socially).
Conversely, if times are good, money abounds, and jobs flourish, people still drink because now they can certainly afford to do so! Besides, good times and a booming economy call for celebration, right?
In addition to the notion that drinking may be recession-proof activity, another well-maintained theme here at Culture of Spirits is the notion that prohibition is NOT a good thing. However, in observing new trends in bars opening recently around the country, could it actually be that there are elements of prohibition-era America emerging today that are helping create a different kind of atmosphere… and a new kind of clientele… in bars and pubs around the country?