View Full Version : For Medicinal Purposes Only…

02-05-2006, 15:12
A couple of weeks ago I picked up a couple of items that I found on E-bay for the back of our bar.

The first was an unopened and sealed ½ Pint of Old Taylor (100 proof; Made Fall 1916; Bottled Fall 1931). The American Medicinal Spirits Company distributed this whiskey. From what I have read so far, this is one of a few companies that were licensed to lawfully sell whisky during Prohibition. Going by the dates, this would be fifteen-year-old bourbon. I believe this is more aged than normal for that time period but I assume they bottled their store of barrels, as they needed for the whiskey to supply the hospitals and pharmacies. Is this correct? Is there anything else that anyone can tell me about this Old Taylor whiskey?

Separately, I found a medical prescription for “whiskey” also dated in 1931. So what would be the common reasons that a Mr. T.E. George of Sacramento, California receives a prescription for in 1931? My question is, what were the medicinal uses for whiskey? Were medical reasons made up to distribute the product?

Thanks in advance.


02-06-2006, 12:31
My mother told a story about, as a child, being prescribed whisky for pneumonia. Said the doctor asked if my grandfather had a bootlegger, he said no, but that he still had a bottle of pre-prohibition whisky around, which the doctor said was better than what he could get then. It always sounded like the doctor was willing to set it up, but at this point no idea whether that was through a formal prescription or just referring him to somebody down by the tracks.

02-06-2006, 18:04
Alcohol has been regarded as medicine for just about forever, very widely if not universally. Although in the lead up to and during Prohibition many doctors believed alcohol had no valid medical uses, many others disagreed. For whatever reason, two of the exceptions to Prohibition were that doctors could prescribe it and baker's could get it, specifically rum, for making rum cakes.

As you probably have noticed, the prescriptions were printed like bank notes so they would be hard to counterfeit. They were sequentially numbered and the prescribing habits of doctors were monitored closely. There also were limits as to how much could be prescribed to any one person.

Since the companies like AMS had to use what they had, much of the whiskey is significantly overaged. If you decide to drink any of it, you may be disappointed. Today when we have a 15-year-old bourbon, that whiskey has been monitored and nurtured along the way so it doesn't go over the top before it's sold. They weren't really able to do that during Prohibition, they just bottled whatever they had, whether it tasted good or not.

Alcohol was regarded as a general purpose "tonic" for a variety of ailments, mostly related to the stomach or the "nerves." It was believed to strengthen weak constitutions, aid with sleeping, settle the stomach, stuff like that.

The famous "patent medicines" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were mostly alcohol and to the extent taking them did any good, it was the alcohol that provided the benefit.

At some point, the AMA officially took the position that alcohol has no medicinal benefit, but many over-the-counter medicines, such as Nyquil, still contain a fair amount.

One of the last times I saw my pediatrician was after a car accident in which I was slightly injured. I was probably 16 or 17. After he examined me and did what little patching up was necessary, he told my mom to take me home and give me a drink. He probably meant for her to have one too (and she did).

02-06-2006, 19:16

Thank-you for the information. I guess I have used it for my "nerves" before. After I had picked up the bottle I was trying to remember this interesting article I had read about Colonel Taylor and his impact on the bourbon industry. It turns out it was chapter 20 of your book, "Bourbon, Straight". A great read.

Who knows? Perhaps the Colonel himself was walking through his distillery that looked like a castle when this whiskey was first put in a barrel. I have always been almost as fascinated by the people and the history of the industry than I am of the drink itself.


02-07-2006, 06:07
My wife has been asking me to make her "hot toddys" lately. I guess I'm going to have to keep a bottle of cheap bourbon around from now on. No more Knob Creek or ETL or EWSB hot toddys around here!

02-09-2006, 14:31
I always use Irish Whiskey for these, how does it taste with Bourbon?

02-10-2006, 15:58
I have always been almost as fascinated by the people and the history of the industry than I am of the drink itself.

I have given it some thought and have really come to wonder what it is about Bourbon that causes this. Realistically does anyone care who mixes the batch for Coca Cola or would visit the plant just to watch the sugar being added? Does anyone want to watch the peanuts roasted and ground for Jiff? And so on. Truthfully, watching a piece about the 30 acre plant in Tennessee that makes Pringles was interesting, but none of these evoke the imaginations of the fans as this bourbon does.

02-13-2006, 15:50
The one and only Jif Peanut Butter factory is in Lexington,KY. When they roast, I can smell it from the work, 2 miles away. I really enjoy stopping by and doing the tour and watching the process. Call me crazy, but I love peanut butter and Jif.
They are pretty darned fussy about there product and the peanuts, oil and other ingredients that go in.
BTW: They were selected as one of the TOP 100 Places to Work in the US.
Jif is now owned by Smuckers.

:cool: :cool: :cool:
People in the U.S. eat, on average, 7 pounds of peanuts and peanut products per person, per year.
170 million pounds of Jif are consumed in the U.S. each year. That's enough to make 2 billion peanut butter sandwiches, or to spread a football field with a layer 55 feet thick! (Now, there's a thought that'll stick to the roof of your mouth!)
There are about 1,218 peanuts in a 28-ounce jar of Jif.
It takes approximately 160 billion peanuts to equal the amount of Jif peanut butter produced in one year.
Over 90,006 acres (140 square miles) of peanut crops are used to make one year's supply of Jif.
About one in every ten peanuts grown in the U.S. for food use ends up in a jar of Jif.
The Jif plant in Lexington, Kentucky is the largest peanut butter producing facility in the world.
Information courtesy of Jif and the American Peanut Council.

02-13-2006, 15:53
I never knew Jif was made in Kentucky.

I love peanut butter, and Jif is one of the best brands.

Peanut butter and grape jelly. Anytime, and on white bread please.


02-13-2006, 17:40
He's been gone a few years but I'll lift a glass for WT Young any day.


So I wonder what bourbon pairs good with Jif?


A little more info. When he started his stables he wanted then decorated extensively with Daylilies and John Rice of Thoroughbred Daylilies started his breeding program there.

02-14-2006, 02:04
Hmmm, and here I am a Peter Pan fanatic, buying a peanut butter that's probably made in third world sweatshops where little old ladies and children are forced to shell the peanuts by hand and then stomp on them until they're mush. I could be buying Jif made in the same area that brings us Pepcycle's Original Bardstown Gazebo Golden Jubilee Brisket Plugs! Tell the truth Ed, there's a whiff of Jif in those plugs ain't there?:slappin: :slappin: :slappin:

02-14-2006, 13:45
Only the Chunky!!:slappin: :slappin:

02-14-2006, 13:49
Here Here!!
I agree to a toast to WT.
My son attended UK on a partial scholarship, thanks to WT.
The Library he funded at UK is one of the most amazing buildings I've ever been in or seen.
Had Steven attended Transy, he would have gotten a full ride, compliments of WT.

WT should be remembered as the quintessential little guy makes good and shares.

I suggest we toast with "Cracker Jack" Bourbon.
:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

On a side note, I've been experimenting with a bourbon, chocolate peanut butter candy.

Think Peanut Butter cup with a kick. Its Killer. Working out the kinks.

02-14-2006, 20:22
For those who aren't aware, "Transy" refers to Transylvania University, a very distinguished Kentucky institution of higher learning. It is not (at least in any official sense) a school for transvestites.

02-14-2006, 22:59
For those who aren't aware, "Transy" refers to Transylvania University, a very distinguished Kentucky institution of higher learning. It is not (at least in any official sense) a school for transvestites.

I have heard of Trans U. Never known anyone personally who went there but I have heard of it.....just did not realize it is in KY. In what city or town is this university?

02-15-2006, 00:49
Originally in Danville, it moved to Lexington in 1789. It's a private, religious school with about 1,000 students.

dave ziegler
12-05-2006, 17:04
I also never knew Jif was made in Kentucky but it is my favorite, some nice toasted Wheat bread little touch of Butter some Jif Peanut Butter and some crisp fried Bacon one of my favorites since I was a Kid, never had anyone that tried it not like it! Also besides Jif and Good Whiskey Kentucky has one of the very Best Ginger Ales ever made Ale 8 one made in Winchester Ky and only sold there it is one of Ky's best kept products. In the old days I used to get to Ky two or three times a year and always made sure to bring home some cases of Ale 8 1.
Dave z