An advertisement for Seagram’s VO. Jet Magazine. February 14th, 1980. vintageblackads.

An advertisement for Seagram’s VO. Jet Magazine. February 14th, 1980. vintageblackads.

An advertisement for Budweiser. Jet Magazine, 1978. via Vintage Black Ads.

An advertisement for Budweiser. Jet Magazine, 1978. via Vintage Black Ads.

In contradiction to those, who, having a wife and children, prefer domestic enjoyments to those which a tavern affords, I have heard him assert, that a tavern-chair was the throne of human felicity.—‘As soon,’ said he, ‘as I enter the door of a tavern, I experience an oblivion of care, and a freedom from solicitude : when I am seated, I find the master courteous, and the servants obsequious to my call; anxious to know and ready to supply my wants : wine there exhilarates my spirits, and prompts me to free conversation and an interchange of discourse with those whom I most love : I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinion and sentiments I find delight.’

—from Sir John Hawkins’ Life of Johnson.

An advertisement for Old Crow in Life, August 29, 1955.


  1825 - James Crow Arrives in Knetucky: A physician and chemist by training, James Crow reaches the Kennedy frontier in 1825 and within a decade revolutionizes the making the Kentucky whiskey.
  
  1840 - Gen. Winfield Scott and Henry Clay Attend a Dinner: At home, or when dining out, as he did with Gen. Scott at Boulanger’s restaurant in Washington, D.C., Senator Clay takes pleasure in introducing his guests to Old Crow.
  
  1842 - Daniel Webster Greets Washington Irving: It is in such distinguished company as this which often meets at Gadsby’s in Washington, D.C., that the great American orator enjoys his favorite bourbon, Old Crow.
  
  1849 - Governor Letcher Recommends Old Crow: The Governor of Kentucky (1840-44) writes a public official: “Never open your mouth unless it is to swallow a ‘leetle’… Old Crow.”
  
  1858 - Gen. Morgan Writes of Old Crow: The man who later became the leader of Morgan’s Confederate Raiders offers to send Old Crow to Dr. Fox of Lexington, Kentucky.
  
  1876 - Bret Harte Enjoys a Drink at Mark Twain’s Home: What finer whiskey to celebrate author Bret Harte’s completion of one of his best stories, than Twain’s favorite, Old Crow!
  
  1908 - “Skaal to the Old Crow—It Is Best,” Say Jack London: The famous adventurer, world-traveler and author presents a bottle of Old Crow to his good friend, Martin Eden.
  
  1918 - U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Favors Old Crow: A unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court brings to an end more than 1800 litigations involving the improper use of the Old Crow trademark.
  
  1933 - The Old Crow Distillery is Remodeled: Following the repeal of Prohibition, Old Crow prepares for its re-introduction to the nation by remodeling its distillery, still located on the site of James Crow’s original spring.
  
  1953 - Old Crow Introduces Milder 86 Proof Bottling: For the first in history, American whiskey buyers can enjoy a prestige bourbon at a popular price—Old Crow 86 Proof—companion to the historic 100 Proof Bond.

An advertisement for Old Crow in Life, August 29, 1955.

1825 - James Crow Arrives in Knetucky: A physician and chemist by training, James Crow reaches the Kennedy frontier in 1825 and within a decade revolutionizes the making the Kentucky whiskey.

1840 - Gen. Winfield Scott and Henry Clay Attend a Dinner: At home, or when dining out, as he did with Gen. Scott at Boulanger’s restaurant in Washington, D.C., Senator Clay takes pleasure in introducing his guests to Old Crow.

1842 - Daniel Webster Greets Washington Irving: It is in such distinguished company as this which often meets at Gadsby’s in Washington, D.C., that the great American orator enjoys his favorite bourbon, Old Crow.

1849 - Governor Letcher Recommends Old Crow: The Governor of Kentucky (1840-44) writes a public official: “Never open your mouth unless it is to swallow a ‘leetle’… Old Crow.”

1858 - Gen. Morgan Writes of Old Crow: The man who later became the leader of Morgan’s Confederate Raiders offers to send Old Crow to Dr. Fox of Lexington, Kentucky.

1876 - Bret Harte Enjoys a Drink at Mark Twain’s Home: What finer whiskey to celebrate author Bret Harte’s completion of one of his best stories, than Twain’s favorite, Old Crow!

1908 - “Skaal to the Old Crow—It Is Best,” Say Jack London: The famous adventurer, world-traveler and author presents a bottle of Old Crow to his good friend, Martin Eden.

1918 - U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Favors Old Crow: A unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court brings to an end more than 1800 litigations involving the improper use of the Old Crow trademark.

1933 - The Old Crow Distillery is Remodeled: Following the repeal of Prohibition, Old Crow prepares for its re-introduction to the nation by remodeling its distillery, still located on the site of James Crow’s original spring.

1953 - Old Crow Introduces Milder 86 Proof Bottling: For the first in history, American whiskey buyers can enjoy a prestige bourbon at a popular price—Old Crow 86 Proof—companion to the historic 100 Proof Bond.

An advertisement for Seagram’s 5 Crown from Life, May 27, 1946.


  Here’s a noble American dish—pot roast and vegetables. And here’s a noble American whiskey…Seagram’s 5 Crown…Two proofs of American leadershop—in standards of taste.

An advertisement for Seagram’s 5 Crown from Life, May 27, 1946.

Here’s a noble American dish—pot roast and vegetables. And here’s a noble American whiskey…Seagram’s 5 Crown…Two proofs of American leadershop—in standards of taste.

An illustration from George Cruikshank, The Gin-Shop, 1880.

An illustration from George Cruikshank, The Gin-Shop, 1880.

This “fine blended whiskey” is seventy percent grain neutral spirits. An advertisement for  Paul Jones in Life, May 27, 1946.

This “fine blended whiskey” is seventy percent grain neutral spirits. An advertisement for Paul Jones in Life, May 27, 1946.

An advertisement for Haig and Haig in Life, May 27, 1946.

An advertisement for Haig and Haig in Life, May 27, 1946.

The question now is not, what is his mental capacity? But, what are the dimensions of his stomach? Not, does he read and think? But, does he eat and digest? Not, if he will enact wholesome laws and promote and preserve the peace, happiness, and prosperity of the State, but if he will drink raw whiskey, eat rawer shote, dance bare food on a puncheon floor… and pull at a gander’s neck?

—Another of the anti-Barbecue complaints from the Southern Advocate, July 1827. Quoted in Robert F. Moss, Barbecue: The History of an American Insitution.

An illustration from George Cruikshank, The Gin-Shop, 1880.

An illustration from George Cruikshank, The Gin-Shop, 1880.

Some temperance crusaders could give as good as they got. Prohibition advocates from the late nineteenth century loved to tell the tale of Paul denton, an itinerant Methodist preacher who held a camp meeting in 1836 in one of the roughest, most disreputable districts in Texas. denton issued handbills promoting a grand barbecue to take place in a shady grove, promising that “to all who attend, the best drink in the world will be furnished, free.” A huge crowd turned out for the feast. When the rougher element demanded to know where the liquor was, Denton gestured to a spring near the grove and said, “There is the drink I promised! Not in the simmering stills, over smoky, fires, choked with poisonous gasses, and surrounded with the stench of sickening odors and rank corruptions, doth your Father in heaven prepare the precious essence of life, the pure cold water, but in the green glade and grassy dell, where the rd deer wanders and the child loves to play, there God brews it.” The crowd’s reaction to Denton’s tick is not recorded.

—Robert F. Moss, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution.

As soon as I enter the door of a tavern, I experience oblivion of care, and a freedom from solicitude. There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.

—Samuel Johnson, via bookofbourbon.

Life, May 27, 1946.


  COCK N’ BULL in Hollywood, Calif., an imitation English tavern is popular with the movie crowd. It features a drink called “Moscow Mule,” of vodka, lime juice, ginger beer.

Life, May 27, 1946.

COCK N’ BULL in Hollywood, Calif., an imitation English tavern is popular with the movie crowd. It features a drink called “Moscow Mule,” of vodka, lime juice, ginger beer.