Hostetter’s Bitters

Hostetter's "Celebrated" Bitters was a nostrum developed by Dr. Jacob Hostetter of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His son, David Hostetter, put the formula into large scale production in 1853 and it soon became a national best-seller. During the Civil War, Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters was sold to soldiers as "a positive protective against the fatal maladies of the Southern swamps, and the poisonous tendency of the impure rivers and bayous." The original formula was about 47% alcohol -- 94 Proof! The amount of alcohol was so high that it was served in Alaskan saloons by the glass. Hostetter sweetened the alcohol with sugar to which he added a few aromatic oils (anise, coriander, etc.) and vegetable bitters (cinchona, gentian, etc.) to give it a medicinal flavor. From 1954 to 1958, when it was no longer marketed, the product was known as Hostetter Tonic.

More info here.

     Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 21, 2019
     Category: Antiques, Anachronisms and Throwbacks | Advertising | Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Alcohol

When stuff like this went off the market, desperate housewives were forced to turn to vanilla. And apparently they still do.
Posted by Frank on 02/21/19 at 03:04 PM
In the 1962 film Days of Wine and Roses, the alcoholic couple gets desperate enough to drink vanilla extract. These days, real vanilla extract costs more than most liquors.
Posted by ges on 02/22/19 at 08:40 AM
When renovating a relative's home, including lowering the basement floor, we found loads of various types of bottles. I have boxes of them from the house project. I shall have a look to see if I have this specific bottle.

agent j
Posted by agent j on 02/23/19 at 08:39 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.