What did people drink in 1968?
January 4, 2012 10:44 AM   Subscribe

What hard liquor was popular to drink in 1968?

I'm particularly thinking of what did fairly well to do people drink in 1968 in the USA? In addition to particular brands, I'm also interested in mixed drinks. I'm aware of the Tom Collins, but that's about it.
posted by foxinsocks to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not an exact answer, but if you can score a copy of a ca. 1968 Playboy, you'll have your answer. Around that time, I think the only ads in there were for booze and cigarettes.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

(That's Specifically re: the "well-to-do" part. It was a much, uh, "classier" magazine back then, as well. Closer to a lewd New Yorker than today's Maxim-with-bare-breasts.)
posted by griphus at 10:48 AM on January 4, 2012

Scotch and soda, among the older set then. Also, dry martinis, which were gin, a hint of vermouth, and a green stuffed olive. Maybe over ice for a "Marty Rocks." None of that other stuff that they are putting in martini's nowaways.
posted by Danf at 10:48 AM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

In Mad Men, everyone drinks gimlets which was historically accurate.

This is kind of cool, also Mad Men related

I'd imagine the six classic drinks from The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks were popular because the book was iconic. They were the Martini, the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, the Daiquiri, the Sidecar, and the Jack Rose.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:55 AM on January 4, 2012

Well, the TV show Mad Men takes place during the early 1960s and has been praised for its historical accuracy, so I'd assume that the various drinks they drank then were more or less the same as those on the show.
posted by dfriedman at 10:56 AM on January 4, 2012

In 1968, my dad drank manhattans or scotch on the rocks and my mom either drank old fashioneds or high balls (basically bourbon with some sort of clear soda: club soda, ginger ale, or 7-Up). When they would throw cocktail parties, well into the late 70s, that's what they served: bourbon, scotch and gin with soda mixers, tonic and garnishes. I don't recall ever seeing vodka in my parents' bar until the early 90's.

My grandmother drank gin & tonics, always.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:00 AM on January 4, 2012

Tiki bars made a good run in the 60s so all the so called "Boat Drinks" like singapore slings, mai tai's, zombie cocktails. Note 68 would be the tail end of this phenomenon it looks like.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:07 AM on January 4, 2012

Canadian Club and Segram's (Canadian Whiskey), and Jim Beam (Bourbon) would be fairly appropriate whiskeys.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:13 AM on January 4, 2012

My Mom drank scotch and soda, my Dad drank vodka martini's and his business partner drank Bourbon on the rocks. We always had gin and tonic on hand for guests.
posted by tyllwin at 11:23 AM on January 4, 2012

I'll look through my books a bit more, but the closest thing I've found so far for mixed drinks is the '71 Playboy Host and Bar book. The book has a lot of standard mid-20th-century drinks, many of which we're still drinking--the manhattan and martini, old-fashioned, and negroni, for example.

From what I can tell in the book: vodka was solidly established as a base (it's almost unknown in bar books before the early 1950s) at this point, the martini and manhattan were still king, gin was pretty solidly established for mixed drinks--so things like the gimlet, Pimm's cup, and pink gin (gin with angostura bitters) were popular. The Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger beer, and lime) would probably still be one of the best-known vodka drinks--it was the drink that brought vodka into the mainstream. Tiki drinks were still popular, as they would have been during the preceding couple decades. There are two full pages of frozen daiquiri variations. If you can find a copy of the Trader Vic's Bartending Guide, that was probably still being used for tiki.

The Playboy book also devotes a fair number of mentions to Pernod, the absinthe substitute that would have been used after absinthe's de facto banning in the US. Playboy has their own Pernod-based version of the Sazerac, a popular cocktail that dates back to the 19th century. They also mention bitter lemon and bitter orange soda as relatively new trends, and have several drinks devoted to them (like the Bitter Banana Cooler, made of light rum, a sliced banana, pineapple juice, lime juice, Peychaud's bitters, crushed ice, and bitter lemon).
posted by Tubalcain at 11:30 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

My grandmother has always drunk a gin and tonic or an old fashioned.
posted by jingle at 11:35 AM on January 4, 2012

Harvey Wallbangers.
posted by digsrus at 11:54 AM on January 4, 2012

Hunter Thompson seems to have been reeling around with a tall glass of Wild Turkey fairly constantly around 1968.
posted by cmoj at 11:57 AM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Another vote for scotch and soda, with my grandfathers (in their late 40s then) always having J&B and soda for nice occasions. Although gin and tonics and martinis (presumably gin) were also old favorites of theirs.
posted by ldthomps at 12:25 PM on January 4, 2012

Yeah, martinis and scotch on the rocks. I know--I was there.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 12:32 PM on January 4, 2012

Grandfather drank gin and tonics, every day after work. I remember tasting one of his when I was 4, which would have been 1973 or so.

I was not impressed.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:32 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just checked the June 1, 1968 issue of The New Yorker online, and there were ads for:
  • I.W. Harper Gold Medal Bourbon
  • Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Seagram's Crown Royal Canadian Whisky
  • Moët Champagne
  • Beefeater Dry Gin
  • Thorne's Blended Scotch Whisky
  • White Satin Dry Gin
  • Vandermint Chocolate Liqueur
  • Leilani Hawaiian Rum
  • Mateus Rosé
  • Hankey Bannister Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey
  • Myers's Rum
  • Schenley O.F.C. Canadian Whisky
The ad for Leilani was surrounded by tiki drinks, and Myers advertised itself as ideal for daiquiris. Most of the other ads were just bottles.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:51 PM on January 4, 2012

My father, who died in the 80s, drank two martinis - dry, every day of his life until nearly the very end. A classic endures.
posted by FlamingBore at 1:56 PM on January 4, 2012

In bordertown Canada, a lot of adults I was aware of, drank "rye and ginger" (Canadian whiskey and ginger ale). Rum and coke was another popular party drink. This sampling would skew to the blue collar end of things.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:04 PM on January 4, 2012

My mom enjoyed a Rusty Nail or two back in the day.
posted by slmorri at 2:26 PM on January 4, 2012

Maybe my parents were weird, but they liked tequila and margaritas. We lived in NYC. My dad would make margaritas from scratch.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 3:06 PM on January 4, 2012

My father was drinking dry vodka martinis with olives, my mother was not crazy about hard liquor so often drank Bloody Marys. Scotch and soda or Scotch and water were popular, as were gin and tonics.
posted by gudrun at 6:10 PM on January 4, 2012

In 1968, my dad drank Manhattans and mom drank Bourbon and 7-Up. Dad later moved on to Scotch and Soda and then Vodka Martini's with an anchovy olive.
posted by Lone_Wolf at 4:58 AM on January 5, 2012

Dads and granddads weren't the only quaffers. '68 was the summer of love, and freaks would tipple whatever they could get their lips around--they were the original "good old boys drinking whiskey and rye" from the Don McLean song. But they also indulged in wines, with a brand called "Ripple" that was a big hit among the hippie crowd. Went down smooth with your pack of Kools.
posted by Gordion Knott at 5:08 AM on January 5, 2012

On the historical accuracy of drinks on Mad Men:

The cocktail historian David Wondrich, 48, thinks an old-fashioned is a conservative choice for the young Draper, but considers his preference for Canadian Club “exactly right. We’d had years of destruction of the American whiskey industry up until then. So the Canadian stuff was viewed as being pretty good.”

“The big Scotches were Bell’s, Black & White, Teacher’s, White Horse,” Mr. Rea said. “When you’re drinking Canadian Club, you’re showing people you drink a better brand” of whiskey. He and Mr. Wondrich also said Betty Draper’s taste for Tom Collinses and vodka gimlets was spot on.

Wondrich, in his chapter on the history of American drinking in the excellent and sadly out-of-print Esquire Drinks, puts 1968 in the heydey of the "vodka age." So vodka martinis (most likely Smirnoff) would be at the top of the list for cocktails. If you still drank gin in your martini in 1968, it was probably Beefeater.

Also, check out the LA Public Library's online menu collection (search for 196* in the date field) to see what restaurants were serving to drink.
posted by bokinney at 12:09 PM on January 5, 2012

« Older Windows 7 Enterprise Edition and F.O.G: How to...   |   Where to stay in Banff or Jasper in June Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.