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The great gatsbys decadence of society during the roaring twenties

Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen. Scott Fitzgerald circa 1920 Photo Source: How accurate is this portrait of Prohibition America, and what influences led our country into an era of drunken excess? Electronics like radios became more common, particularly in metropolitan households.

Flashy new car designs rolled down city streets. Women had finally earned the right to vote, and their hard-fought equality and independence was reflected in their fashion— shorter haircuts, higher hemlines, less curvy silhouettes. Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin were creating names for themselves on the big screen. It was an era of change—and that change was not welcomed by all.

A powerful group of activists made it their mission to eradicate liquor in an effort to help the country return to simpler times.

The movement, known as Prohibition, may well go down as one of the biggest legislative backfires in American history. Alcohol dependence was a growing problem in the U. In 1830, American boys and men aged 15 and older drank an average of 88 bottles of whiskey per year, 3 times what Americans drinks today. Americans routinely drank at every meal— breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Americans replaced weaker ciders and beers with these more potent distilled liquors.

Before long, alcohol dependence became a widespread epidemic. A movement began, and the groundwork was put in place for outlawing alcohol at the national level.

The Great Gatsby, Prohibition, and Fitzgerald

A constitutional amendment to ban alcohol sales and production became law in 1920. A Hooch Hound, a dog trained to detect liquor, sniffs at a flask in the back pocket of man fishing on the Potomac River. Library of Congress While Prohibition was meant to eradicate the temptation of liquor, it had the unintended effect of turning many law-abiding citizens into criminals.

By barring liquor from the masses, the government unwittingly made it more desirable, more fashionable, and something eager consumers had to get their hands on.

The Great Gatsby: Party like it’s the Roaring Twenties

Prohibition gave birth to bathtub gin, cocktails, finger food and the elusive speakeasy. If you were able to provide your guests with an endless stream of libations, your popularity was assured. As the demand for illegal liquor increased, so did the methods for masking its production and consumption. Cocktails gained popularity—heavily flavored concoctions assembled to disguise the taste of potent bathtub gin with juices, herbs, sweeteners and syrups. Bootleggers, forced to produce liquor in secret, used questionable methods to ferment gin and other types of alcohol in their homes.

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Often poisonous ingredients, such as methanol wood alcoholwere used. A government report from 1927 stated that nearly all of the 480,000 gallons of liquor confiscated in New York that year contained some type of poison. Jamaica ginger extract, also known as Jake, was sold in pharmacies as a headache remedy.

Over time, more toxic ingredients were added that could result in paralysis, a condition often referred to as Jake Leg. Confiscated barrel and bottles of whiskey circa 1921. Library of Congress Despite the reality of the situation, overall it seemed like Americans were having a lot of fun during Prohibition. The character of millionaire Jay Gatsby represents the extremes of 1920s wealth and decadence.

Gatsby devotes his life to accumulating riches in order to attract the attention of his romantic obsession, the lovely but spoiled Daisy Buchanan. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from the other.

It is heavily inferred that Gatsby earned his fortune, at least in part, through bootlegging.

Cliff Notes/The Decadence of the 1920"s as Portrayed by The Great Gatsby cliff notes 2789

How else could he afford his lavish parties with bottomless cocktails to spare? This fictional subplot is based in fact. For a small fee, doctors would prescribe their patients whiskey for just about any ailment, and sometimes no ailment at all.

Crooked pharmacists would even sell forged prescriptions to their customers. The novel, at least in part, provides a reflection of the social issues and attitudes of the time period. In honor of Gatsby, Fitzgerald and Prohibition, I decided to whip up a cocktail reminiscent of the time period.

This concoction was born during the years of Prohibition, when most liquor was low-quality bathtub gin that needed plenty of masking with other flavors.

The Roaring Twenties ThemeTracker

Either way, the name represents this cocktail well, since it relies on the sweet flavor of honey to overpower the gin. As you sip this flapper cocktail, raise a glass to F.

Tori Avey of The History Kitchen shares the origin of the drink and the history of Prohibition in a full post on her blog.