This Prohibition-era map is a love letter to alcohol
A rare counter-example to the flood of Temperance maps, this Prohibition-era chart celebrates alcohol in its many forms
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
Throughout the 19th century, cartography was often used to promote sobriety. Here’s a counter-example: a map that celebrates alcohol, in various guises – published two years before the end of Prohibition.
The Temperance movement, which from the early 1800s sought to reduce the consumption of alcohol in the U.S., had a curious affinity for cartography. It produced numerous 'Temperance maps', so called because they used fictional topographies to warn against the wickedness of drinking and promote the benefits of sobriety.
Why maps? Perhaps because they were the perfect allegory for a country in full territorial expansion. Going (and staying) teetotal was a long and hard journey, requiring the negotiation of much treacherous terrain (beware Cape Despair, Paupers Bay, Wine Island). But ultimately the destination, a soda-pop version of the Promised Land, made the whole trek worth it, with places like the Gulf of Reform, Repentance Kingdom, Contentment Province.
A gruesome example of a trip in the other direction was presented by the Black Valley Railroad. The illustration shows a train pulled by an engine labelled 'Distillery', with stops at Drunkards Curve, Beggarstown, Gamblersville, Robbers Den, Prisonton, Demonland, Maniacville and finally, Destruction.
This blog has featured one or two Temperance maps before (see #285, for instance), but not the one shown in a recent article on Vinepair. The classic 1838 Temperance map by Rev. John Christian Wiltberger, Jr. was not what drew our attention, though.
The article also featured an example of an as yet unknown counter-category – an anti-Temperance map, so to speak. Following the template of its opposite, this Map Showing the Isle of Pleasure uses geographic tropes and terms – and plenty of punning and double-entendre – to extol the delights of drink.
The skull-shaped island (3) is named the State of Inebriation, surrounded by bodies of water named Whiskey Strait, Gulp Stream and Rum Row. Off the island are a sand bar (with bar flies), several whis-keys, etc. The island itself is dotted with all kinds of objects you'd expect on a genuine map: buildings, roads, lakes, mountains – each of which refers to some aspect of drinking.
The map's date is interesting: it was created by Houston architect H.J. ('Heinie') Lawrence in 1931, two years before the end of Prohibition. During that time (1920-33), the production, import, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages was banned throughout the entire country. In a way, Prohibition was the end result of Temperance.
Prohibition significantly reduced but did not eliminate drinking (1). It also created a huge business opportunity for the mafia and other criminal organisations, which led to a significant increase in levels of crime (2). Eventually, the social cost of Prohibition was felt to outweigh the benefits. Even back in 1931, the imminent collapse of the ban on booze was widely expected (or at least hoped for).
That’s why the 18th Amendment (which instituted the alcohol ban) is shown as sinking into oblivion, with Volstead (the Congressman who enacted the Amendment) clinging to one of its masts.
Below are most of the cocktails, brands, slang terms and drinking songs mentioned on the map. The other ones are either too obvious or unfindable. Mix yourself a Prohibition-era drink while you study the map and let me know if you find any of the latter terms.
- 1 ½ ounce crème de cacao
- 1 ½ ounce heavy cream
- 1 ½ ounce brandy
Pour the crème de cacao into a 5-ounce glass. Using the convex side of a bar spoon, slowly pour the cream over the crème de cacao, making sure not to disturb it, to create a layered effect. Using the same technique, layer the brandy over the cream.
- 1 cup crushed ice
- ¼ cup vodka
- ¼ cup Blue Curaçao
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons vanilla-flavoured syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into martini glasses garnished with a slice of orange.
- 2 cl gin
- 2 cl red vermouth
- 2 cl orange juice
- 1 dash Pernod
Shake and serve in a cocktail glass.
Crest o' the Wave
- 1 part gin
- ½ part Italian Vermouth
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- A few drops crême de menthe
Add a peppermint cherry in each glass.
- 1 ½ ounce dark rum
- ½ teaspoon orange curacao
- ½ teaspoon apricot liqueur
- 1 teaspoon grenadine
- 1 egg yolk
Shake the ingredients strenuously with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled glass.
- 1 dash peach bitters
- 1/3 ounce French vermouth
- 2/3 sherry
- 1 sprig fresh mint.
Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with mint tip.
Half & Half
- 1 dash Campari
- 1 part grapefruit juice
- 1 part Italian vermouth
Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- 1 ounce gin
- 1 ounce Benedictine
- 1 ounce maraschino liqueur
Fill a glass halfway with ice. Pour all three ingredients into the glass and stir with the ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- 4 ounces ginger ale
- 1 1/3 ounce brandy
- 1/8 ounce Angostura bitter (optional)
Pour brandy and ginger ale directly into highball glass with ice cubes. Stir gently. Garnish with lemon zest. If desired, add dashes of Angostura Bitter.
- 2 dashes orange juice
- ½ part Kina Lillet
- ½ part dry gin (English or London gin)
- 2 dashes apricot brandy
Stir well in ice and squeeze lemon peel on top.
- 2 ounce Ojen (4)
- 1 dash Peychaud bitters
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ ounce water
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into a cocktail glass.
- Muddled cucumber
- Minted simple syrup
- Grand Marnier
- Maker’s 46
Served up and garnished with cucumber.
- 1 ½ ounce gin
- 4 dashes grenadine
- 1 egg white
Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
- 4.5 cl dark rum
- 3.5 cl fresh orange juice
- 3.5 cl fresh pineapple juice
- 2 cl fresh lemon juice
- 1 cl grenadine
- 1 cl sugar syrup
- 3 to 4 dashes Angostura bitters
Pour all ingredients except the bitters into a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Pour into a large, ice-filled glass. Add the bitters on top. Garnish with cocktail cherry and pineapple.
- 1 ounce Amaretto
- 1 ounce Kahlua
- 4 ounces milk
- whipped cream
Put some ice cubes in a parfait glass, pour in the Amaretto, Kahlua and milk, and stir. Top with whipped cream.
- 1 piece of fresh ginger (1 inch), peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoons simple syrup
- 1 ½ ounces aged rum
- 1 ½ ounces apple cider
- 1 ½ ounces chilled ginger beer
- 1 lime wedge
- 1 slice of apple
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger with the simple syrup. Add the rum and cider; fill the shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the lime wedge and apple slice.
- ¾ ounce gin
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
- ¾ ounce green Chartreuse
- ½ teaspoon Campari
- twist of lemon peel, for garnish
- preserved or maraschino cherry, for garnish
Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the gin, vermouth, green Chartreuse and Campari. Stir well, then strain into a chilled glass. Twist the lemon peel over the drink to release its essence, then drop it in, along with the cherry.
Tom & Jerry (5)
- powdered sugar
- brandy, rum
Separate eggs, beat egg whites until stiff. Mix egg yolks with powdered sugar, put a spoonful of yolk mixture in cup, mix with brandy and rum. Fold in some egg white then add hot milk and top with more egg white. Stir gently to fold in the egg white. Top with nutmeg.
- 1 teaspoon white tea leaves
- ½ teaspoon chopped lemongrass
- ½ teaspoon dried peach
- 1 ounce vodka
- 3 ½ ounces brewed tea base
- ¾ tablespoon agave nectar
- 3 ounces ginger beer
Place 5 ounces of room temperature water in a cup. In tea linen, combine all the ingredients for the tea base. Brew in the room temperature water for 10 minutes, agitating from time to time. Remove the sachet/ball.
In a shaker, combine 3 1/2 ounces of the tea base, vodka, and agave nectar. Dry shake until the agave dissolves. Pour into a glass over ice and gently swirl to chill. Top with ginger beer and gently swirl again. Garnish with a fresh ginger slice.
Black & White
Blended Scotch whisky, originally known as House of Commons but renamed after the colours of its label. James Bond drinks it in Moonraker novel, and in the Dr. No film.
Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. No longer produced.
Another Kentucky straight bourbon, created by the Murphy-Barber distillery in Clermont, opened in 1881.
Distilled in Owensborough, Kentucky from as early as 1889. Marketed as the 'whiskey without the headache'. Production closed down in 1987.
Blended Scotch whiskey, produced by Usher. Now defunct.
A brand of bourbon whiskey distilled in Canada. Now defunct.
Originally a Hawaiian fermented beverage, transformed into a high alcoholic spirit after the introduction of distillation techniques by English seamen in the 1790s.
A Kentucky straight bourbon first distilled in the 1830s in Frankfort by Scottish immigrant James C. Crow, Old Crow enjoyed huge popularity in the 19th and early 20th century. It was said to be the favourite drink of Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain and Hunter S. Thompson. Today it is a modestly-priced sister brand of Jim Beam.
A Kentucky straight bourbon that has the distinction of both being the oldest brand on the market and the first one to introduce sealed bottles (both °1870s). During Prohibition, it was one of 10 brands authorised for continued production – for medicinal purposes.
A former brand of blended whiskey.
The 19th Hole
Often used to describe a bar or restaurant near a golf course (which traditionally has only 18 holes).
A lower-class establishment that circumvented alcohol laws by charging customers to see an attraction (e.g. a ‘blind pig’) and then offering a complimentary drink.
A large stopper for a cask.
Empty drink bottles laying around.
A term for high-proof spirits distilled without proper permission, often in wooded and/or mountainous regions, far from the grasp of the authorities. Officially referred to as ‘clear, unaged whisky’, it is also known as white lightning, hooch, moonshine and choop, among other nicknames.
Enlargement of the nose with dilation of follicles and redness and prominent vascularity of the skin. Often associated with excessive consumption of alcohol. A.k.a. toper's nose, brandy nose, rum nose, potato nose, hammer nose, copper nose.
Father, Dear Father
"Oh Father, dear Father, come home with me now / My Mother has sent me to say / That she and her children are starving at home / While you're drinking your wages away".
Little Brown Jug
"My wife and I live all alone / In a little log hut, we called our own / She loved gin, and I loved rum / I tell you what we'd lots of fun". Originally written in 1869, it regained popularity during Prohibition. Became one of the best-known songs of the Big Band era after Glenn Miller recorded it in 1939. The melody was later used for My Ding-a-Ling, a #1 hit for Chuck Berry in 1972.
Strange Maps #904
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Alcohol consumption fell to 30% of its pre-Prohibition level immediately after the introduction of the ban. Over the following years, it crept up to about 60-70%, where it stayed in the period immediately after the end of Prohibition. In the following decade, consumption regained its pre-Prohibition level.
(2) A study of more than 30 major U.S. cities during 1920-21 noted an increase in the number of burglaries by 9%, homicides by 12.7%, assault and battery by 13% and drug addiction by 44.6%.
(3) Perhaps a reference to the classic depiction of Utopia, also portrayed as a skull (see #51).
(4) Ojen (a.k.a. 'Old Hen') was an anise-flavoured aguardiente from the eponymous village in Malaga, Spain. Creates a milky-looking liquid when mixed with water. In the early to mid 20th century, an Ojen-based was popular in New Orleans, especially during Mardi Gras. The original distillery has since ceased production.
(5) traditional U.S. Christmastime cocktail, devised by British journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820s to promote his book (Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom) and play (Tom and Jerry, or Life in London). It's possible the cartoon cat and mouse derive their names from the drink.
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