The Social History of Bourbon

The Social History of Bourbon

Language: English

Pages: 280

ISBN: 0813126568

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The distinctive beverage of the Western world, bourbon is Kentucky's illustrious gift to the world of spirits. Although the story of American whiskey is recorded in countless lively pages of our nation's history, the place of bourbon in the American cultural record has long awaited detailed and objective presentation. Not a recipe book or a barman's guide, but a fascinating and informative contribution to Americana, The Social History of Bourbon reflects an aspect of our national cultural identity that many have long suppressed or overlooked. Gerald Carson explores the impact of the liquor's presence during America's early development, as well as bourbon's role in some of the more dramatic events in American history, including the Whiskey Rebellion, the scandals of the Whiskey Ring, and the "whiskey forts" of the fur trade. The Social History of Bourbon is a revealing look at the role of this classic beverage in the development of American manners and culture.

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THE SOCiAl HISTORY OF BOURBON /1\ - .?<~ The Social History of Bourbon Carson front.indd i 7/16/2010 2:49:33 PM Carson front.indd ii 7/16/2010 2:49:35 PM The Social History of Bourbon GERALD CARSON THE UNIVERSITY PRESS OF KENTUCKY Carson front.indd iii 7/16/2010 2:49:35 PM Copyright © 1963 by Gerald Carson Paperback edition 2010 by The University Press of Kentucky Scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth, serving Bellarmine University, Berea College, Centre College of Kentucky,

endure. N ever again after the Civil War was Congress able to escape from the tangled and perilous fiscal, philosophical and political problems associated with its partnership in the distilled spirits industry. Tempers and voices rose in debates which were sometimes exciting, sometimes illuminating, sometimes quite funny, often dull enough. The interminable dialogue over the proper place, if any, of spirituous beverages in our society was the subject of investigation by countless Congressional

Kentucky-Tennessee line, where the original settlers were free Negroes, with some admixture of white and Indian blood, the children played, not cops and robbers, but moonshiners and revenuers. They learned by doing-to carry water or stir the hot mash. And at eventide they joined their elders in a dipper of homemade mountain dew. A teacher in a one-room frame schoolhouse in Cumberland County, in addressing his scholars at the end of the day, was once heard to say: "N ow, chillun, tomorrer we is

company incorporated under New Jersey's hospitable laws. But always it was monopolistic in its operations and usurped powers not conferred by its charter. And the stock went up and down. It is no exag- THE HIGHWINE TRUST 135 geration to say that the resentment which the public felt toward the Trust for its arrogance, its tactics of bribery and political lobbying and its association with the chain saloon system, tended to strengthen the anti-whiskey vote which brought on Prohibition. Despite

the Opera House Saloon in Dodge City. And in Butte, Montana, when Molly Demurska, queen of the underworld, took the town marshal, Jack Jolly, to have and to hold, the knot was tied in the Clipper Shades Saloon, after which the happy pair were drawn through the streets on the town fire engine. Barrooms were such prime news sources that the Gold Hill (Nevada) News not only paid an editor his salary, but made an extra allowance, known as "whiskey money," used to loosen the tongues of local citizens

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