By Jeremy Agnew

This ebook explores the function and impression of drink and medicine (primarily opium) within the previous West, which for this publication is taken into account to be the United States west of the Mississippi from the California gold rush of the 1840s to the final 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 an enormous social quandary. ingesting used to be thought of to be an authorized 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 dependancy via ladies was once typical. This e-book offers the heritage of either elements and the way their use unfold around the West, at the beginning for medicinal purposes--but how overuse and abuse resulted in the Temperance circulate and at last to nationwide Prohibition. This e-book studies the old truth of alcohol and opium use within the outdated West with out bias.

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

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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.

Spirits were initially distilled for medicinal use before drinking them expanded to recreational use. After distillation and concentration, the resulting alcohol was flavored with various herbs and spices, including sage, lavender, angelica, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, to disguise the taste of the raw alcohol. Distillers in Holland made gin, which was flavored with the berries of the juniper. The original name for gin was geneva, from the French word genièvre for the juniper berry or juniper tree.

Bourbon was made from corn, rum from sugarcane or the left-over material from making molasses, brandy from distilled wine, tequila from the agave cactus, and vodka from potatoes. Early alcoholic drinks appeared in the Old West mostly in the form of distilled spirits such as whiskey and rum, as the distances to economically transport other forms of alcohol were too great. Distilled spirits could be easily transported because they were concentrated and could be freighted relatively cheaply by wagon.

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