Drug Addictions of the Times


Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,045
61
308
UK
Cocoa leaves, Lee? Now that's really living dangerously - death by chocolate. But that reminds me of something. Legend has it that the designer of the famous bottle was looking through a book of alphabetically-arranged botanical drawings, seeking inspiration for a suitable shape. He checked out the cola nut and wasn't impressed, then while backtracking for the coca leaf he saw a pic of the cocoa bean and the rest is history (or myth, as the case may be). The amount of cocaine in Coca Cola, by the way, was never more than a trace and eventually (before it disappeared completely) it was down to one part in fifty million.
.
 
Jan 28, 2003
2,525
5
223
I didn't forget the bella donna. In fact, I invited two of you!
Bob Godfrey, are you smooth or what? But hang on, I'm in a muddle - I though Coca-Cola was cocaine not cocoa. Or is it the same? Forgive me, I am such an ignoramus concerning these things (preening, whilst reaching for another Benson & Hedges...)
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,045
61
308
UK
No mystery - the magic ingredient was the coca leaf. Lee's 'cocoa' was a typo (I think!). The only reference I've ever seen to cocoa and coca cola together is in the recipe for 'Coca Cola chocolate fudge cake'. Don't even look that up - you might be tempted.
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
511
0
171
You're right, cocaine is refined from the leaves of the coco plant - first time I knew that. (Blushes). I guess the names caused the confusion.

Apparently, the Coke bottle was actually formed in the shape of the coca pod. Good catch!
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,045
61
308
UK
Nearly there. Just to get those confusing names straight - the brand name came from two of the original ingredients, the coca leaf and the cola nut. The bottle shape came from the cocoa pod (not from the beans inside - my mistake!).
smile.gif
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,631
445
453
Easley South Carolina
According to This Article on Snopes.com, "Coca-Cola
was named back in 1885 for its two "medicinal" ingredients: extract of coca leaves and kola nuts. Just how much cocaine was originally in the formulation is hard to determine, but the drink undeniably contained some cocaine in its early days." It also points out that by 1902, what was left in the formula amounted to little more then 1/400th of a gram per ounce of syrup. Mix this in with carbonated water and what you have left wouldn't be sufficient to have any sort of real effect. Compared to other patent medicines of the time, Coca-Cola was mild stuff.
 

Jack Devine

Member
Jan 23, 2004
178
0
111
Katrina:
It would be a shame to forget about Absinthe, which is/was a liquor based on wormwood extract and mildly poisonous. It was all the rage in Parisian society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but it's illegal in most countries now. At its height, it was probably more popular than cocaine.
Regards,
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
35
308
Ah, Absinthe...which is making a comeback in Europe, albeit not quite the same as it was in its decadent hey-day. I blame a certain boisterous night I spent in Dublin on its effects (nothing to do with the pints of Guinness, of course). Such a pretty drink...such a vile taste! I have a vintage cocktail book with quite a few Absinthe based drinks - keep meaning to get another bottle and try a few.

Then there are the great Edwardian and Victorian ads for the medicinal properties of cannibis...there are some lovely illustrations advocating the cure-all properties of 'marijuana cigarettes' (and with their heavy lidded eyes and a joint in their pretty pursed little lips, the women in these ads certainly look like stoners).

Here's a 'medicinal cannabis picture gallery', with lots of links to period bottles:

http://www.conquestdesign.com/uncler/html/CoughSyrup/

Links to some ads here for cannabis - that well known cough and flu cure:
http://www.conquestdesign.com/uncler/html/CannabisAds/index.html

There are quite a few good links on the site regarding quakish and other uses cannibas has been put to.

No wonder Victorian ladies spent so much time languishing on the settee, given the laudanum they got through! Poor old Elizabeth Siddal - was it suicide or accidental overdose? Given the quantities she was going through when she o.d.'d, and the lack of standardised measuring of the doses, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the later.
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
2,079
8
223
South Florida
Absinthe is making a comeback (minus the hallucinagenic wormwood oil) in Europe, thanks to the Jack the Ripper film "From Hell." The lead actor has been known to send cases of the stuff to his friends. However, it's still not legally available in America (except online overseas sales). It's become the hottest imbibe among the tinseltown set when they're in Europe.

Kyrila

(I can just hear Bob Godfrey press the reply button now.)
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
35
308
Ahhh...that's right - you're a Johnny Depp fan, aren't you, Kyrila? I've no doubt that the star of From Hell did manage to help it's popularity along, but it was taking off in London before the film (which wasn't really influential in the UK). Absinthe also had a bit of a starring role in Moulin Rouge and a cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. Its resurgance in popularity in the UK had a lot to do with a very canny importer in the 90s realising that - unlike countries such as France that had pretty much banned it by 1915 - it was never banned in the UK. Nor was it banned in Spain or Portugal, where it continued to be made. European Union regulations recently enabled wider distribution, but the EU keeps close tabs on the level of the psychoactive compound thujone. Thujone is a natural oil of wormwood, often concentrated in the stem. Most of it is removed in the distillation process. It is structurally close to THC and has been credited with hallucinogenic properties, one of the reasons it was banned early in the 20th Century, but there have been no recent scientific studies into claims about its dangers as a drink besides its high alcohol content. Thujone is linked with episodes of epilepsy, but only in doses far higher than in normal drinking patterns.

Another visit from the green fairy, anyone?
 
Jan 28, 2003
2,525
5
223
You'd need to be a movie star to afford the stuff. The bottle I saw recently was made somewhere in the Balkans and cost £40 a bottle. I gazed upon it in awe. It came with a leaflet giving tiresomely complicated instructions on how to drink it - something about fiddling around with sugar lumps and matches I think - so what with that and the price, I just bought a bottle of hock. Dull, aren't I? Nervous of it, too, having read far too much Balzac at an impressionable age.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
35
308
Lol, Kyrila! I am far too fond of decadent vices and things like the pretty green liquid that tastes so vile (can't wait to dig into the old Savoy cocktail book for those softening influences). Monica is quite right, though - it is outrageously expensive, and when given the choice between that and a bottle of Bacardi spice rum, yo-ho-ho usually won out.

We were given a lovely range of schnappes by Swedish relatives last Christmas, including some with wormwood as an ingredient. The facial expressions as the shots were downed were priceless...
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
35
308
Lol! I believe we all have something to contribute to the betterment of the world...in my case, it's a collection of cocktail recipes, both old and new. For example, the tIng-a-ling...a popular among my mates.
happy.gif
 
Jan 3, 2001
91
0
146
I found Absinthe for sale in a liquor store in Mystic CT this summer so it can be found here in the US.

I was tempted to purchase it ($45 if I recall) but the little booklet with instructions on the art of "indulging" made me weary of the purchase!

I declined knowing that I had gone there on a research trip and wanted to come home with more than just a hangover! LOL!

Rosanne MacIntyre
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
2,079
8
223
South Florida
Well, it didn't look that complicated in the movie. "Abberline" put a few drops of liquid over the sugar cube, put in a spoon and held it over a kerosene lamp flame for a moment until it began to melt, then he dropped it in the absinthe and stirred it up then drank it all down in one gulp.

Kind of reminds me of Saurian brandy - or as Mr. Scott would say, "It's green!"

Kyrila
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
35
308
Here's a decent guide to the ways in which you can prepare Absinthe:

http://www.absinthebuyersguide.com/tasting.html

I'm a lazy sod and have mostly drunk it neat, although I'm amused by the line in the article that suggests that most Absinthe these is 'already sweet', so you can dispense with the sugar cube. I've never really thought of it as 'sweet'!

It's interesting that the buyer's guide on that site suggests that it is not legal to buy Absinthe in the US (although it is not a controlled substance like marijuana or cocaine). This site has some comments about its legal status in the US and how the laws may be interpreted:

http://www.fact-index.com/a/ab/absinthe.html

Here's a more comprehensive site on its legal status in the US and other countries:
http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/absinthe/absinthe_law.shtml

That site also links to a more specific answer to the question of whather it's legal to import Absinthe into the US:
http://www.erowid.org/ask/ask.cgi?ID=2693

A lot of the legality debate centres around the levels of thujone (and if you want the original, real thujone-laden deal, you're best off buying it from the Czechs!).

I'm happy to note that Absinthe was shifted from the prohited list to the restricted list in Oz in the year 2000...have discussed getting around to buying a bottle from one of the specially licenesed dealers with a few mates who haven't tried it yet.

By the way, a small disclaimer: my posts are *not* intended to advocate excess drinking or experimentation with Absinthe. I think it's important to note that the real properties of this drink are obscured by a lot of romanticism and mythology. The hallucinogenic properties are hotly debated, and may well not exist at all. The real hazards lie in the fact that this is a *very* potent drink (nearly 70% alcohol), and should be treated with the necessary respect.
 
Jan 28, 2003
2,525
5
223
I bought a book of cocktail recipes in the 1980s. Three other girls and I spent the summer experimenting on Wednesday afternoons. Their partners got a bit fed-up with having to fetch the nearly-comatose participants home, but it was fun while it lasted. And rather expensive. Shortly afterwards we all became pregnant, so that was the end of that. I don't think the two events were related. I've never drunk a cocktail since. Hmmmm ..... I do recall a particularly nice strawberry daquiri....
 

Similar threads