1800s

Moral Suasion

A good drink can often be considered "moral suasion". A good one keeps you in your seat, but not by force, and a really good one can persuade you to happily open your wallet and order a second. When I came across this cocktail, in the 1873 Daily Picayune (New Orleans), it piqued my curiosity, partially because this was the very early years of the cocktail art, and it actually looked like a legitimate… [Continue]

Bourbon

Here is an interesting article from the New Haven Register (August 18,1880) about how bourbon was made. It discuss both sweet mash and sour mash methods of making bourbon. It also lists a couple of laws I had never heard of before including the maximum amount of time for bourbon mash fermenting. I've transcribed the article, and back in 1880, it seems run on sentences were common.

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Burdock Blood Bitters Ephemera

Digging through some historical ephemera, I found this interesting ad from the 1800s for Burdock Blood Bitters. It was recommended to treat the four greatest afflictions in America; dyspepsia, biliousness, constipation and sick headache. A little fibre in the American diet might have helped. Anyway, the illness isn't the part that gets you, it's the advertising imagery. On the ad page is… [Continue]

Grand Dukes Nectar

Here is another old cocktail (fancy drink), circa 1873, that is named after Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia. The drink comes from an article published in the New Orleans Daily Picayune (1873 and was created by Mr. E.F. Barry, a bartender at the Everett House hotel in uptown New York. You may remember Mr. Barry as the one of the compounders of the Moral Suassion.… [Continue]

Between Two Evils

Temper has a number of meanings, but they all stem from Latin which is "to moderate". The Temperance movement took the term and used the more extreme definition of "to control". Then there is "intemperance" which means "without moderation" and has strong associations with alcohol consumption and alcoholism. Extreme views are common place amongst many people, but I try to take the middle road and… [Continue]

Bourbon Ads

Digging through old photo archives can lead you to some interesting discoveries. In this case I found a couple of interesting bourbon ads. The first is a trading card, printed for Big Spring whiskey, sometime between 1880 and 1920. What makes it interesting is that the subject is a naked woman. The second is for "Belle of Nelson Old fashion Home Made Sour Mash Whiskey" (1883) which depicts a Turkish… [Continue]

Old Bitter Labels

Bitters are big business in the cocktail world and historically a cocktail wasn't a cocktail without bitters, so it only makes sense. We often associate bitters with bars because of the cocktail, but the reality is that bitters were most likely sourced from the local pharmacy prior to prohibition. Even when bartenders were making thier own bitters, they probably sourced the ingredients from… [Continue]

Patent Medicine, The Endless Search

One of the historical blights on the soda fountain was the cure all patent medicines that were hocked for every know illness. Some were marketed as health supplements, while others were cures for specific ailments. The one common thread they all shared was their spurious health claims. This didn't go unnoticed and many publications from the period made barbed statements about  the nature… [Continue]

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