Friday, Dec 10, 1943
Every time you get an injection or a cut and wipe it with a little alcohol, you are using a substance that was in precious little supply for civilians during WWII. While war was omnipresent and the Allies were racking up gains on every front, the Home Front was facing the holiday season without enough liquor. Whiskey and other spirits were rationed to protect supplies of industrial alcohol for war use, i.e. pure ethyl alcohol needed for sanitizing, cleaning, and solvents as well as vaccines, medicines, plastics, and explosives. So tight were supplies of whiskey and other spirits that the newspapers were filled with ads such as this urging people to get it while they could. But the result of restrictions was a return of the black market, of moonshining, and of “cutting” to an extent not seen since Prohibition. Now the Treasury Department was launching a country-wide investigation into the alarming rise in black market activity by dealers. The New York Times reported today (page 16) that in only four weeks, the Feds had seized 507 stills, a 46 % increase over a year ago. Dealers were counterfeiting revenue stamps and doctoring the books. Stewart Berkshire, head of the Alcohol Tax Unit of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, also reported that “gin” from Cuba and Mexico had little or no juniper flavor in it. Try that in your cocktail!
Wine wasn’t so much of a problem, especially as my grandfather had been growing his own grapes and making his own since Prohibition — legally, of course, since Jews and Catholics were allowed wine for sacramental use. Light the Sabbath candles