Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vujà Dé?

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Finland!
Déjà vu? Recurring nightmare? Madness in Sparta? Perhaps.

Finland, like Russia, had a long history of alcohol abuse. So severe that there were four attempts to pass prohibition legislation before it was finally adopted in June of 1919 (ours began in January of the following year). I can totally understand though, what else is there to do in a country where there is snow on the ground for 7 months out of the year and you don't see the sun for 7 weeks at a time.

As with the United States, problems began to surface shortly after the start of Finland's prohibition. Illegal stills popped up everywhere dispensing a crude mixture that was sometimes fatal to drink. Crime rates went up and arrests for drunkenness increased by 500% (as in the US, alcohol was always available if you knew where to go). Also, with the world-wide economic slowdown in full swing, Finland started to feel the loss of tax revenue from the ban of alcohol sales.

By 1932, the public opinion of Finland regarding the ban had changed and on April 5th of that year over 70% of the residents voted to repeal it. Amazingly, their experiment lasted for 13 years, the same length as the American prohibition.

The Historical Inebriant:  Finnish Gin Long Drink

  • 2 Shots Gin
  • Grapefruit Soda (Trader Joe's)
  • Splash of tonic water

Pour into a whiskey sour glass, and serve.  This drink was originally developed for the 1952 Summer Olympics (held in Helsinki) and in Finland it comes in a mix - but this is a close approximation.

For more information on the FGLD:

Did you know:

Russia, Iceland and Norway are countries that also played the prohibition game.

The earliest recorded ban on alcohol was in China during the Xia Dynasty (2070 BC).

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