History Nebraska Blog

Try These Substitutes for Brandy

Readers of The Nebraska Issue (Lincoln), official organ of the Anti-Saloon League in this state, were once counseled on avoiding alcohol and other drugs in their daily lives. The November 1907 Issue included Dr. J. J. Ridge's brief article on "Substitutes for Brandy." Dr. Ridge, of the London Temperance Hospital, listed nonalcoholic stimulants that he believed could replace brandy for use in emergencies such as "faintness, palpitation or relief of pain, such as colic":

  • First. — Water as hot as can be conveniently swallowed either alone or slightly sweetened to be sipped. Even cold water sipped stimulates the heart.
  • Second. — Ginger tea, one teaspoonful to a teacupful of boiling water; sweeten. Sip hot.
  • Third. — Herb tea, a teaspoonful of powdered sage, mint or similar herb to a teacup of boiling water; sweeten: sip hot. Camomile tea taken warm is especially suitable for the colic of infants.
  • Fourth — Meat extract, a teaspoonful in a wineglass of hot water with herb flavoring if preferred.
  • Fifth. — Other measures, flapping the face and chest with a cold, wet towel, putting the hands in hot water, ammonia, or smelling salts to the nostrils, tickling the nostrils with a feather, etc.

Readers of The Nebraska Issue may not have taken Dr. Ridge’s suggestions seriously in 1907, although the temperance movement was growing in the state. In 1916 a prohibitory amendment was adopted to the state constitution which took effect in 1917. It remained in effect until November 1934, when Nebraskans voted for its repeal. – Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor / Publications

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