On December 5th, in the spirit of Repeal Day—the repeal of the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution—raise a glass to your federal right to drink alcohol.
In the winter of 1919, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, outlawing the production and consumption of alcohol in the United States.
The original intent was to put an end to social misconduct, crime and family crisis—since on payday, too many breadwinners would squander much of their paychecks at the saloon, leading to brawling, inability to pay for rent and food, aggression at home, etc.
Alas, instead of creating a better society, the law engendered the growth of organized crime, which was happy to bootleg, provide protection to speakeasies, and so on.
Those who wanted to party at home found a way with bootlegged spirits, bathtub gin (which could cause blindness), and other horrors.
After thirteen years of living with Prohibition, the 18th Amendment was repealed on December 5th, 1933 under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt*. The date has been referred to as “Repeal Day.”
So celebrate your freedom from bathtub gin with one of the…
TOP 12 GIN COCKTAILS
Gin was the predominant spirit in the 1920s. After the Volstead Act (which led to the 18th Amendment), bathtub gin was “of necessity” created in actual bathtubs or other large containers.
The alcohol to make it was either purchased from bootleggers or from legitimate medical suppliers, which sold denatured or wood alcohol.
By mixing wood alcohol with other flavorings, such as the juniper berries that flavored real gin, and allowing the mixture to steep in a tub for hours or days, the wood alcohol became more drinkable.
Many gin cocktails were created to cover up the less-than-ideal flavor of bathtub gin.
Actual distillation requires a closed distillation apparatus; it can’t be done in an open container like a bathtub.
The process for converting wood alcohol into a drinkable form was not always reliable, resulting in batches that were poisonous, often leading to blindness and even death: About 10,000 people died from drinking bad alcohol during Prohibition.
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