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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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John Costigan is pictured on the left, and Cyprian Costigan (nicknamed "Chippy" by his friends) is shown at right.
SPIRITS PAST AND PRESENT
Back in the late 1870s and early 1880s, which was long before prohibition, and naturally long before there was any such thing as a Government Liquor Control Commission, liquor and wine merchants did an honorable and profitable business.
Prices were reasonable as an old invoice made out to T. A. New man & Bro. shows:
Rye, 70 cents per gallon; Rye Special, $1.30 per gallon; P. Spirit, 65 Op. $1.44 per gallon. etc., etc.
There was no such thing as a bootlegger in those days!
Most country people, who lived where chokecherries or dandelions grew profusely, made their own wines; rhubarb that was left after a taste for relish or pie had subsided, was used for the same purpose. Many an old-timer has said it was even strong enough to get "tiddly" on!
Brandy was kept on hand for weak spells, gin was good for the kidneys, rum was used with honey and hot water for bad colds and Christmas wasn't Christmas without little glasses of wine to go with the cake.