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Tue Jul 17, 2018, 08:25 PM

Please explain this to me.

What was it about cocktails and cocktail parties that made it so popular with our parents' generation, from the 50s to the 70s. It's similar but not the same as our generation enjoying a toke or more.

My parents drank into their seventies and eighties. Quasi-alcoholics. When my father died, I counted 40 bottles of opened liquor bottles. They entered drinking age approximately 1946, years after Prohibition ended.

Hell, I remember my parents calling me over when I was three to taste their cocktails.

Is there a book that discusses this topic?

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Please explain this to me. (Original post)
no_hypocrisy Jul 2018 OP
Phoenix61 Jul 2018 #1
rurallib Jul 2018 #2
procon Jul 2018 #3
elleng Jul 2018 #4
Ohiogal Jul 2018 #5
LakeArenal Jul 2018 #6
Arkansas Granny Jul 2018 #7
HeiressofBickworth Jul 2018 #8
unc70 Jul 2018 #9
PoindexterOglethorpe Jul 19 #12
3Hotdogs Jul 2018 #10
PoindexterOglethorpe Jul 19 #11

Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 08:29 PM

1. I think partly is it was an inexpensive way

to have a large party. Much cheaper and easier than feeding everyone. Plus, they were usually held later in the evening after the little ones were tucked into bed.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 08:37 PM

2. Cocktail parties? Not in the small cities in the midwest when I grew up

But every place we (my parents) went there was alcohol and every thing we did revolved around availability of alcohol.

So my parents drank themselves to an early death. They came of age just after Prohibition ended and the depression was in full mode. For them alcohol was a cheap way to a good time.

Every body we knew drank. Heck when they got older they moved to a nice house about half a block from their favorite bar.

My theory for them was always the depression, plus both were orphaned early in life and raised by relatives.

And yes, I also had my first beer before I started school.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 08:41 PM

3. Alcohol was the only recreational drug available at the time.

And cigarettes.

Both were glamorized in film and TV, and ads. No one was aware of the health issues. The carhops at the local burger shacks delivered pitchers of cold beer to drink with your food. My parents drank cocktails before and after dinner and dosed off. They entertained several times a month and kept a huge well stocked bar. As a teen, I thought I was cool because I knew how to mix lots of cocktails and the guests would compliment me. My parents were so proud. Different era.

It's a miracle that none of us kids ever drank.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 08:42 PM

4. Sure, The Big Book.

https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/alcoholics-anonymous

Nothing like that occurred in my/our house, tho my parents were not abstainers. They and their friends occasionally attended/gave parties, but 'cocktails' weren't the excuse, more like celebrations of some sort, including New Years Eve.

My husband, on the other hand, WAS alcoholic, and that + smoking resulted in his death (@ age 69.) He hid the alcohol he drank at home (except when we gave parties.)

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 08:47 PM

5. My parents never had cocktail parties

My dad was an alcoholic. He started drinking as soon as he walked in the door from work. My mother didn't drink and she hated that my dad drank so much. You could tell as the evening wore on from his behavior how much he had to drink. It embarrassed me and for that reason I rarely had friends over to my house.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 08:55 PM

6. Cigarettes and cocktails in 1965

Were the pot and beer of today.

It was social behavior. Like Instagram.

My folks never developed any problems from either.

My mom died from Alzheimer’s. My dad lived to 92 and died in a hernia operation.


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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 09:10 PM

7. My parents rarely drank. It just wasn't their thing. They would buy a bottle of wine to

share with friends on New Years Eve and my dad would drink a beer now and then if it was offered, but they never kept alcohol at home. As I recall, most of our friends and neighbors had pretty much the same habits. Living in rural SW Missouri most of our social life revolved around church or school events.

I'm a social drinker and rarely drink by myself. I've done my share of partying and I've overindulged on occasion, but these days a couple of glasses of wine is my limit.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 09:17 PM

8. My mother was a real estate agent in the 60's

so she sometimes had clients or brokers or other sales people over to the house. (side note: every Saturday she would dole out the chores and say, "and I want this house to look like no one lives here".) She only served The Best alcohol (you know -- impressions). My father on the other hand was an alcoholic, started drinking until time to go to bed and pass out. It made her furious when she would go to serve a guest a nice drink and the bottle would be empty or even worse, replaced with some cheap junk. I remember one time she went into a rage and dumped all the alcohol down the drain, right in front of him. Didn't make any difference in the long run.

She was an occasional drinker but never to excess. Me? Never have been much of a drinker. And my house, while not dirty, looks like a family lives here.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 10:10 PM

9. Wine was rare until 1970s

Therefore, relatively more people drank cocktails. Beer was widespread, but only beginning slowly in the 1970s did wine become widely consumed in the US.

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Response to unc70 (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 19, 2018, 02:16 AM

12. And the beer that was available back then

for the most part was whatever came out of the large breweries. Coors was regional. And crap. Budweiser, Schlitz, Pabst. There would have been other local breweries, depending on where you lived. They'd all struggled very hard to survive Prohibition.

As an aside, in the late 1970s, the biggest breweries were in the process of taking over smaller ones, and it looked as if in a very few years there'd be at best three or four breweries in this country, all making crappy beer. Praise to the gods or whatever that people who cared a lot about beer started brewing small batches, started the entire craft beer thing, and we are the fortunate (and grateful) recipients of their dedication to real beer.

I love to drink. But if I'm at someone's house and they offer me a beer, and all they have is Coors or Bud light I'll politely decline. Why bother?

I am so grateful that people who care about beer have taken up brewing good stuff. I believe that every single one of our fifty wonderful states has a strong craft beer tradition, and that's truly wonderful. I know that certain states lay claim to having the best micro brews, and I'm not about to say which I think are best, but I'll say hooray! I benefit from that competition.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2018, 12:10 AM

10. "Sophistication!"

Movies in the 30's - 50's showed upper middle class people with cocktails.

As mentioned above, wine became the sophisticated drink in the 70's.

My parents had one or two bottles of rye (4 Roses and Seagram's 7). They lasted for years.

Their friends had a few more bottles of stuff but again, seldom taken out.

Working class, New Jersey.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2018, 01:56 AM

11. Cocktail parties were not as common as you might think.

I don't think I ever encountered one. My parents certainly never had one, although they often had friends over and all would drink beer or hard liquor until everyone was quite happily drunk. This was in the 1950s and 1960s.

Even as a young adult, in the very late 1960s and into the 1970s, a cocktail party as such simply didn't exist. Parties with alcohol, yes. In my young adulthood BYOB (bring your own bottle) parties were the norm. You brought your own liquor, the host provided mixers and such, and a good time was had by all.

Another important point is that wine was almost NEVER consumed in this country until relatively recently. So if you see a movie or TV show that takes place any time before 1990, let alone before 1970, where parents are having wine at dinner, you get to scoff loudly. Most Americans simply didn't consume wine back then. The series "MadMen", which by and large is quite accurate, shows wine consumption that simply didn't exist then. Period. End of discussion. They get the smoking right. The vast majority of adults smoked then (the official figures are that about 2/3 of men, and a bit more than 1/2 of adult women smoked in the late 1950s, the peak era of smoking) which actually overestimates smoking because a very low percentage of adults over age 60 in the 1950s or 1960s smoked. Speaking from personal experience as a child born in 1948, at least 3/4 of the dads and at least 2/3 of the moms smoked at that point. I think the nonsmokers tended to be outliers, Mormons or various rural folks. Even though I never smoked, smoking was so normative that it never occurred to me, all the way through the 1970s to not allow people to smoke in my apartment. I had a party once, in 1980, and I relegated smoking to the balcony of my apartment and felt quite guilty. I shouldn't have, but I did.

Things change.

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