Today marks one of the single most important events of 1873, "Der Krach" in Vienna. Not a performance by the punk rock band Der Krach*, but "The Crash" of the Vienna stock exchange. The one event that heralded the arrival of what was to be known then as the Great Depression.
Of the many factors leading up to the crash, a major contributor was Germany's decision to go on the gold standard and cease minting silver coins, causing a sharp fall in the demand for, and the value of, silver. Many of the European banks were large holders of silver that was soon worth considerably less. Also, the German currency was now backed by gold and more desirable. A cascade of currency crises would make their way through Europe.
In the United States the post Civil War boom in railroad construction was at an end. Once the 2nd largest employer, the railroads would not need so many workers, and since many of the railroad companies were the subject of massive speculation and market manipulation, within the next 2 years many of these new businesses were bankrupt. The lack of demand for steel, caused prices to fall substantially. Markets were closed for days, banks failed and unemployment reached 14%. The Great Depression, which after the depression of the 1930's was historically renamed The Long Depression, was worldwide and lasted for almost two decades.
Times are tough now, but if it makes you feel any better, it's happened many times before and worse. My advice, pour a glass, listen to some tunes and read about The Long Depression, it might just make you feel better.
The Historical Inebriant: The Silver Sage
- 1 3/4 oz : Patrón Silver
- 1/4 oz : elderflower liqueur
- 3/4 oz : fresh lime juice
- 3 slices : cucumber
- 2 whole fresh sage leaves
- ginger ale
Smack sage to open up aromas. Tear in two and muddle well with cucumber and elderflower liqueur. In a mixing glass, add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake and strain over ice in a highball glass. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with cucumber and sage leaf.
*Not to be confused with "Der Klash"