Tag Archives: Boston

A Still for Every Person in Boston

As we covered recently, it was never illegal to DRINK alcohol during Prohibition: only to make, sell, or transport it. Obviously, this means that at some point people were going to run out of their stockpiles, and need more booze.

Naturally, there were people happy to illegally oblige the thirsty masses, and make more booze. Also naturally, federal agents were out to get them and uphold the law.

During the first 5 years of Prohibition the feds destroyed 696,933 stills. That is more than 1 still for every person in Boston, today.

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America’s Original Colonies LOVED Rum

The very first of our european predecessors brought with them the means to make booze in the New World, but carving out an existence here took nearly all of the grain and goods they were able to stockpile.

This is how Rum became king amongst New England spirits. While colonists lacked much grain, lumber, and goods to trade after meeting their own needs, the molasses needed to make rum was so cheap that Carribean plantations formerly discarded it into the sea.

Massive quantities of molasses could be imported and turned into very cheap rum—and all on a very quick time table. By 1717 Boston’s distilleries were collectively cranking out 200,000 gallons (757 kL) of rum annually.

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Bars Aplenty

In colonial America bars & taverns were a prominent part of everyday lifestyle. More than merely a place to get drunk they served the roles for which today we turn to hotels, voting places, where to get the news, and facebook.

In 1686 Boston boasted over 4,000 residents, and had 1 bar for every 20 adult males. That would be like having 3,236 bars in the Urbana-Champaign region.


138 Years of Rivalry

There’s nothing like a good rivalry. I’ll sometimes set a reminder in my calendar for a baseball matchup featuring NYC v. BOS because those bouts get feistier than your average ball game.

However, history shows that the rivalry between New York City and Boston dates back well beyond the modern era of sports. Sometime in the 1880s a Chicago bartender started floating red wine on top of whiskey sours.

Apparently people in Boston thought red wine over a whiskey sour such a silly combination that surely only someone from New York City would order such a ridiculous thing. Thus, a New York Sour is a sour with a red wine float…courtesy of a 138 year old rivalry.

BFD_11.03.18_Def.New York Sour

Pregaming a Tea Party

What do you remember learning about the Boston Tea Party in school? Did your teacher mention that the men who dumped all that tea into the harbor were absolutely hammered?

Originally, they planned on peacefully blocking the unloading of the tea. According to British law at the time any cargo not unloaded for 20 days must be immediately returned. Colonists, had already done this with several other shipments of tea, and one of the ships this night had been docked and unable to offload for 19 days already!

Well, the eventual perpetrators of the Boston Tea Party had been drinking at the Green Dragon Tavern prior to the party. Many hours of drinking, scheming, and venting later an audible was clearly called, and the actions of those revolutionaries on December 16, 1773 would go on to live forever.