Volstead Act: An idiot’s guide to bootlegging

The Volstead Act was activated on January 17th 1920 bringing with it a new 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution and nationwide prohibition. Written with the aim to help dictate the terms, definitions and liabilities of the new constitution amendment.  While the succinct 111 words of the 18th Amendment easily outlined the intention to […]

Read more ...

Carrie Nation the speakeasy “Joint Smasher”

Accurately described as “A six foot tall stevedore with the face of a prison warden and the persistence of a tooth ache”, Kentucky born blue blood Mrs Carrie Amelia Moore Nation – aka ‘The Joint Smasher’ became a radical member of the Midwest temperance movement after losing her first husband to the bottle in 1869. […]

Read more ...

The long dry road to prohibition

“Temperate temperance is best. Intemperate temperance injures the cause of temperance, while temperate temperance helps it in its fight against intemperate intemperance.” – Mark Twain, 1895   Prohibition came to the United States on the 17th January, 1920 and would last until its repeal on the 5th December, 1933. The exact impact of the 112 […]

Read more ...

Absinthe, life and death of a green fairy

Few drinks are more falsely persecuted or misunderstood than that of absinthe.  Despite Hippocrates learning the benefits of wormwood having infused it into wine around 300BC, its popularity as a distilled elixir would not arise until over 2000 years later. The word ‘absinthe’ (spelt without an ‘e’ in Czech Republic)is derived from the Latin description […]

Read more ...

George Washington and the tactical use of alcohol

In 1758 – when campaigning for the Virginia House of Burgess (the first assembly of elected representatives of English colonists in North America) – George Washington enlisted the aid of a barrel of Barbadian rum from which complimentary serves were ladled out to prospective voters.  The future President went on to win the election despite […]

Read more ...

Gin Epidemic, Madam Geneva brings madness to England

Dutch prince William III of Orange ascends the throne of England after successfully deposing King James II in what is known as the Glorious or Bloodless Revolution. Britain’s political elite already felt threatened by King James due to his strong Catholic beliefs and French sympathies yet it wasn’t until he produced an heir that a […]

Read more ...

Origin of the word “Alcohol”

Renown 14th century alchemist, theologian and member of the Franciscan order – Ramon Llull (aka “Doctor Illuminatus”) is the first credited with creating the word – alcohol. With roots which can also be linked to ancient Arabic [al kol / al ghol] the term is more likely taken from the ancient Vedic Sanskrit word, khola […]

Read more ...

Distillation arrives in England

Roger Bacon brings the study of distillation to Britain after lecturing at La Sorbonne University in Paris. Bacon shares the mysteries of aqua vitae (“water of life”) in his translation of the document, Kitab Sirr al Asrar (“Secret of Secrets”) written by the Persian alchemist and scholar Al-Razi, during the late 800s.  Bacon’s own english […]

Read more ...