Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence by Jeremy Agnew

By Jeremy Agnew

This e-book explores the function and impression of drink and medication (primarily opium) within the previous West, which for this ebook is taken into account to be the USA west of the Mississippi from the California gold rush of the 1840s to the ultimate of the Western Frontier in approximately 1900. this era used to be the 1st time in American background that heavy consuming and drug abuse turned a big social obstacle. ingesting used to be thought of to be an accredited pursuit for males on the time. Smoking opium used to be thought of to be deviant and linked to teams at the fringes of mainstream society, yet opium use and habit by means of ladies used to be general. This publication offers the historical past of either ingredients and the way their use unfold around the West, initially for medicinal purposes--but how overuse and abuse ended in the Temperance move and at last to nationwide Prohibition. This booklet studies the old truth of alcohol and opium use within the outdated West with no bias.

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Extra resources for Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence

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1 percent alcohol) rum. To ensure One. The Demon Rum and Other Drinks of Choice 23 that the rum was not diluted with water, it was “proofed” by pouring it on gunpowder and setting the mixture on fire. ” The origin of distilled spirits is lost somewhere in ancient history. Distillation of alcohol was known to have been used in China, Japan, and India as long ago as several thousand years. The Greek philosopher Aristotle described wine distillation in his writings. Distilling was also known to the ancient Egyptians and to Arabian scientists though, ironically, Arabs were prohibited from drinking fermented beverages and distilled alcohol for religious reasons.

Added to this were two gallons of raw alcohol, two ounces of strychnine to give the drinker a jolt, half a pound of red pepper to give the mixture some spice, five bars of soap to produce a good bead, and three plugs of tobacco to make the Indians sick. ” It consisted of raw alcohol, a plug of tobacco, some prune juice for color and taste, and a dash of strychnine to give it a kick. Bootleggers and Moonshine As well as making counterfeit liquor by adding various substances to raw alcohol, making the raw ethanol itself was popular in the West.

They roasted the bud at the center of the flowering agave plant in a pit and stored it for food. It was said to taste like a sweet-potato, but with a smoky, molasses-like flavor. Mescal was a common drink around and south of the Mexican border. In 1880 a popular drink at the Cosmopolitan Bar in Tucson, Arizona, was mescal mixed with an equal amount of whiskey. At army posts in the Southwest, where whiskey was at times hard to obtain, soldiers might drink locally made mescal, sometimes called “Indian firewater” by the troops.

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