I love to write historical fiction books. Prohibition made the sale of alcoholic beverages illegal. But this only fueled people’s desire to drink liquor. As a result, a black market arose to supply speakeasies and backwoods nightclubs.
Often, the quality of the hooch was abysmal. The distiller was out to make a buck.
In my novel, Pale Moon Over Paradise, a shady moonshiner named Orant Snypettes cuts his run of shine with disgusting ingredients to make more profit. The result was liquor that could sicken or kill whoever drank it. In Orant’s case, when the reputation of his hooch got bad, he simply moved his business somewhere else.
- Four ingredients to moonshine:
- Moonshine = whiskey that’s not been aged
- Kick = can be 75% alcohol and 150 proof
- Questionable ingredients added:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Embalming Fluid
- Paint Thinner
- Wood Alcohol
- Drinking bad shine could result in:
- Jake Leg Syndrome – partial paralysis of the feet/legs
One reporter in the 1920’s described drinking moonshine this way:
“The instant he swallowed the stuff he feels as if he were sunburned all over, his head begins to buzz as if a hive of bees had swarmed there, when he closed his eyes, he sees six hundred million torch-light processions all charging at him, ten abreast, and when he opens his eyes the light blinds him and everything seems dancing about.”
prohibition, 1920s, jazz age, mystery