The Alcoholic Strength of Patent Medicines
January 03, 2023
I'm doing some historical research and came across this article from 1905 - just before the Pure Food & Drug Act was enacted. (See Doctors and Distillers for more about that!) This is from the "Truth" newspaper from Salt Lake City.
It lists the alcohol percentages of many bitters and a few items that claimed to be nonalcoholic.
I think it gives us both a good look at the types of products (specifically stomach bitters) that were on the market in that era, and clearly shows how many of them were lying about their contents - which was legal at the time!
They're organized from lest to most alcohol, a few favorites pulled out:
- Kaufman's Sulphur Bitters "contains no alcohol" (as a matter of fact it contains 20.50 percent alcohol and no sulphur.)
- Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound 30.61 percent [this product was notorious throughout Prohibition as an alcoholic 'medicine' for women]
- Hoofland's German Bitters, "free from alcoholic stimulants" 25.60 percent alcohol
- Colden's Liquid Beef Tonic "for alcohol habit" 26.50 percent alcohol
- Whiskol "a non-intoxicating stimulant" 28.59 percent alcohol
Zoom in for more - it goes from first column on the left to the top of the second column.
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