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

By Jeremy Agnew

This ebook explores the position and impact of drink and medication (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 last of the Western Frontier in approximately 1900. this era was once the 1st time in American historical past that heavy consuming and drug abuse turned an immense social quandary. ingesting used to be thought of to be an approved pursuit for males on the time. Smoking opium was once thought of to be deviant and linked to teams at the fringes of mainstream society, yet opium use and dependancy via ladies was once usual. This e-book offers the heritage of either components and the way their use unfold around the West, at the beginning for medicinal purposes--but how overuse and abuse resulted in the Temperance move and finally to nationwide Prohibition. This e-book reviews the ancient truth of alcohol and opium use within the outdated West with out bias.

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

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Mescal was distilled only once, which left it as a rather rough drink. Tequila was distilled twice, which gave it a smoother taste. ” It should be noted that references to “mescal” in various books and other places can be the source of some confusion. The name “mescal” has been variously applied to the agave plant, the peyote-producing cactus plant, and to any clear, fiery liquor made from the agave cactus. Most dictionaries will give these three meanings to the word. Some authors use the names mescal, pulque, and tequila interchangeably for the fermented and distilled maguey sap, which leads to even more confusion.

If yeast was not added, the spores of wild yeast that occurred naturally in the air would start the fermentation process, but colder temperatures and the absence of sugar and yeast lengthened the process to two or more weeks. The mixture had to be stirred frequently during this stage, so moonshiners often slept out near the cooking pots. Even today dilapidated mattress springs may often be found near the remains of old stills. ” The result was distilled in a homemade still. Forty gallons of mash would produce six or seven gallons of ninety-proof whiskey.

Tequila was distilled specifically from pulque made from the blue agave (Agave tequilana). The name is reputed to have originated in Tequila, Mexico, which supposedly made a superior version of the drink. Mexican law says that tequila can only be made in Jalisco, Mexico. 1 The other fiery spirit produced from pulque was mescal, which was distilled from the fermented product of several different species of agave. The final product varied somewhat depending on the particular agave used, and some mescals had a smoky taste that came from the original plant.

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