MENTIONS OF ALCOHOL IN BOOKS AND EXPEDITION ACCOUNTS

Launched: 27 December 2013. Last updated: 4 February 2014


"So much alcohol was offered that Mawson could only take half an offered £50 worth of strong old ale, which was said by its brewer to be better than rum as 'a sustaining cold weather drink'. When a distillery offered him as much whisky as he wanted, Mawson settled for just two cases, making clear that it was for medicinal purposes only. Another distillery offered him twenty cases, but Mawson accepted only one. He did, however, take twenty cases of Australian burgundy."
Source: Day, David, Flaws in the Ice; In search of Douglas Mawson, p.30.


"Desperate for a Christmas celebration on the return journey, the men concocted a vicious alcoholic beverage 'by boiling 5 raisins in a little of our primus methylated spirit. A driink known as "Tanglefoot" and the recipe of one Bob Bage. It was as distasteful as its appearance, and could only be drunk in gulps by holding the nose and breath.'"
Source: Turney, Chris, 1912; The Year the World Discovered Antarctica, p.248. From Webb's diary. Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition.


"Sunday was beer night, Wednesday lecture night, but Saturday evenings were the finest. There we sat with a glass of grog and gathered ourselves for play or entertainment. Clubs sprouted up like mushrooms out of the earth. The skat club Harmony competed with the skat club Blank-Ten in its game, the Knösel-Club (devoted to pipes) held a general assembly in the cabin next door, while the fine gentlemen of the Gentlemen's Smoking Club smoked only cigars as a matter of principle, at least those they hadn't gambled away in the skat club. The cigars were our money on board-eighty points in skat equaled a cigar. The sounds of a quartet singing of beautiful Schwabenland carried forward from the crew's cabin at the stern, a bit antarctically raw, but still gladdening to the heart."
Source: Murphy, David, German Exploration of the Polar World, A History, 1870-1940, p.80.


"Slight relief to their predicament came in the shape of a ghastly drink made from a combination of sugar and milk or water mixed with methylated spirits from the primus stove. The potion received a mixed reception from the customers, but it clearly had the effect. Wordie declared some of those who enjoyed the drink became, very merry' in the process.
The crude hooch did little to blot out the reality of the situation. On 25 July Wordie wearily recorded that Shackleton had now been gone for three months and added the plaintive cry: 'Anything for a drink!' It was the hundredth day on the desolate spit and he added: methylated was served out to the thirsty ones, now reduced to half a dozen.'"
Source: Smith, Michael, James Wordie Polar Crusader, pp.98-99.


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