Inebriation and Intoxicants

Muir’s Improved Pub

In 1865, temperance advocate William Muir obtained a British patent (No. 1 for 1865) for what he called "Improvements in the construction of public houses." Although whether they were actually improvements depended, I suppose, on one's point of view.

Muir wanted to improve pubs first by constructing their front walls out of plate glass in order to make the interior visible to people passing by. This, he believed, would "to a great extent check drunkenness and the indecent behaviour of the persons obtaining refreshment."

Second, he wanted to make the entrances only two feet wide in order "to prevent, as far as possible, the entrance of females with extensive steel crinolines." Why prevent women wearing crinolines? He didn't elaborate. Was this some kind of code for keeping prostitutes out of the pubs?

I don't think many publicans rushed to adopt his improvements.

More info about William Muir

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 21, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Nineteenth Century

USB Wine

Since this is French, it probably won't work in the U.S.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 07, 2022 - Comments (5)
Category: Humor, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Internet

Insect Sour

A new alcoholic beverage, "Insect Sour," on sale in Japan boasts that its main ingredient is "giant water bug extract". These water bugs are apparently popular among bug aficionados because they have "a sweet, almost fruity, flavor comparable to some types of shellfish like shrimp."

I bet it pairs well with Insect Balls.

More info: Sora News 24

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 05, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Insects and Spiders

Kmarto Wine

In the mid-1980s, K-Mart stores in Gainesville, Florida introduced a K-Mart-branded wine, which they called Kmarto. It cost a mere $1.97, and was available in both a red and white variety.

Very little information remains about Kmarto. For instance, I don't know how long it was sold. Just a few years, I think. As far as I know, it was never sold outside of Gainesville.

I was only able to find one picture of a bottle of the stuff — on, of all places, The Horse Doctor (a veterinarian's blog):

If you happen to still own a bottle of this stuff, I'm sure you could easily sell it for a couple of hundred dollars, because it's definitely a collector's item. As Paul Kirchner has reported in his book Oops!:

Gary Kirkland wrote about Kmarto for the Gainesville sun and received a number of calls from area residents who still treasure their vintage bottles of the stuff. Oddly, it didn't seem to have occurred to any of them to actually drink it—it was kept solely for its shock value. Many feel it broadens the scope of a well-stocked wine rack. One family uses it as the centerpiece for all important family photos—weddings, reunions, birthdays, etc.—to give events that special élan. In another family it has become traditional, whenever an expensive wine is served, to acknowledge that, of course, it cannot compare with the debonair-yet-somehow-impudent Kmarto.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 28, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Alcohol

Always Elvis Wine

Always Elvis wine was released in 1979, two years after Elvis's death. The front label had a picture of Elvis, while the back label featured a poem by Col. Tom Parker.

Parker reportedly said that Always Elvis was the kind of wine Elvis "would have drunk if he'd liked the stuff."

At the time it sold for $4 a bottle. Now an unopened bottle of it will cost you upwards of $150.

However, there are other, newer Elvis Presley wines on the market, such as 'The King' wine, available at

Chicago Tribune - Nov 4, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 27, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Celebrities, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Music

“I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant”

Smirnoff ran this ad in the 70s but reportedly pulled it after a few months when its market researchers surveyed customers and discovered that "60 per cent of them thought that the Kama Sutra was indeed an Indian restaurant."

image source: codex

But according to Delia Chiaro in The Language of Jokes, the ad lived on in popular memory, inspiring a genre of "Smirnoff jokes".

In the mid-1970s the Smirnoff vodka company began using the 'before and after' technique to sell its product. The advertising campaign consisted of escapist photographs accompanied by slogans such as I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant until I discovered Smirnoff. (The slogan originally had the additional rejoinder The effect is shattering which was eventually banned probably due to the allusion to 'getting smashed'.) The slogan turned out to be the inspiration of the graffitists of the nation as catchphrases such as the following began appearing on walls around the country:

I thought innuendo was an Italian suppository until I discovered Smirnoff.

I thought cirrhosis was a type of cloud until I discovered Smirnoff.

However it was not long before the graffitists began to abandon the formula, first by substituting the word Smirnoff with other items:

I thought Nausea was a novel by Jean-Paul Sartre until I discovered Scrumpy.

Soon, the caption began to move more radically away from the matrix, as more items were changed. In the next example there is no allusion to drink whatsoever:

I used to think I was an atheist until I discovered I was God.

Although Smirnoff jokes are now practically obsolete, the I thought A was B until I discovered C formula has now frozen into the English language as a semi-idiom. Today we can find graffiti (or indeed hear asides) such as:

I used to talk in cliches but now I avoid them like the plague

in which the original matrix is barely recognizable.

Below is another Smirnoff ad from the same series.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 11, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Advertising, 1970s, Jokes

Octogenarian Teetotalers

Published by the National Temperance League of London in 1897. It contained 113 portraits of teetotalers who were over the age of 80.

Unfortunately, there was no companion volume of Octogenarian Tipplers.

image source: Bizarre Books

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 29, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Elderly and Seniors, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Books

Flagon and Trencher Society

In order to become a member of the Flagon and Trencher society, one has to satisfy the following rule of eligibility:

Those persons, either male or female, who can prove direct descent from an individual who conducted a tavern, inn, ordinary, or other type of hostelry prior to 4 July 1776 (within any of the the American Colonies that existed at that time).

According to their website, the society was founded in 1962 by Walter Lee Shepard and the late Kenneth Stryker-Rodda. As of 2002, they had more than 1000 members.

There's a $200 fee to apply to join. But if you apply and can't satisfactorily prove descent from a colonial barkeep, you'll only get a portion of that fee back.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 08, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Inebriation and Intoxicants

Earl Grey Tea Intoxication

As reported in the April 17, 2002 issue of The Lancet:

A 44-year-old man presented in May, 2001, with muscle cramps. He had no medical history of note, but volunteered the fact that he had been drinking up to 4 L of black tea per day over the past 25 years. His preferred brand was GoldTeefix (Tekanne, Salzburg, Austria). Since this type of tea had given him occasional gastric pain, he changed to Earl Grey (Twinings & Company, London, UK), which he thought would be less harmful to his stomach. 1 week after the change, he noticed repeated muscle cramps for some seconds in his right foot. The longer he drank Earl Grey tea, the more intense the muscle cramps became.

After 3 weeks, they also occurred in the left foot. After 5 weeks, muscle cramps had spread towards the hands and the right calf. Occasionally, he observed fasciculations of the right adductor pollicis and gastrocnemius. Additionally, he noted distal paraesthesias in all limbs, and a feeling of pressure in his eyes, associated with blurred vision, particularly in darkness...

The patient assumed that there was a relation between his symptoms and his tea consumption, and stopped drinking Earl Grey after 5 months, reverting to pure black tea again. Within 1 week, his symptoms had completely disappeared. Symptoms also remained absent if he completely withdrew from tea, which he did in the nature of experiment, for about a week. He found that his symptoms did not recur as long as he consumed no more than 1 L of Earl Grey daily.

When last seen in November, 2001, neurological examination, nerve conduction studies, and electromyography were normal. He was still drinking 2 L of plain black tea daily (his entire fluid intake), and had no complaints.

The moral of his story is that 2 liters of tea a day is apparently fine. But 4 liters is asking for trouble.

via reddit

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 21, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Coffee and other Legal Stimulants

Make wine now for children’s parties!

Mason's wine essence was non-alcoholic. But even so, it seems a bit odd that it was marketed as a children's drink.

I can't find a description of what, specifically, it was. Although, by the name, I'm assuming it was wine that had been reduced by slow boiling to a syrup. By then adding water to the syrup, one could make a non-alcoholic wine.

Circa 1900 - via Advertising Archives

T.P.'s Weekly - Dec 22, 1905

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 12, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Advertising, Children, 1900s

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