August 18th, 2009
A lotta history, a little booze
Boston imbibers usually like it the other way around, which is why I’m damn appreciative of last night’s great turnout for my talk at the Boston Shaker, “A brief history of drinking in Boston.” We covered almost 400 years in an hour and a half, and we sampled Ward Eights and Maharaja’s Revenges along the way. Not bad.
From Coles Tavern (Boston’s first bar), to the Bunch of Grapes tavern (known for its punch), to the New England rum industry, to the rise of saloons and statewide prohibition (that’s right — Massachusetts was dry for roughly 20 years starting in the 1850s), to the ice trade and Boston’s role in the birth of cocktails, to Beacon Hill speakeasies in the 1920s, to the popularity of tiki bars in the 1950s, to today’s revival of mixology … Boston has a rich and often conflicted drinking history. You’ll likely hear more about it here as my book-learnin’ progresses.