LOST RECIPES OF PROHIBITION: Notes from a Bootlegger’s Manual

Matthew Rowley

Countryman Press
October 28, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1581572650


Matthew Rowley

Matthew Rowley is a writer, editor, public speaker, and author based in Southern California. He is a past board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Museum Council of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley. He earned degrees from Truman State University and the University of Kansas and conducted postgraduate studies at the Wharton School of Business.

Rowley’s 2,000-volume culinary library is open to chefs, bartenders, historians, journalists, and students. When not writing for clients, he maintains Rowley’s Whiskey Forge, a sporadic blog devoted to the history and practice of distilling, cocktails, and good eats.

Nearly everyone has heard of bathtub gin, but how many people know what it really was—or how to make it? During the height of the Prohibition, one anonymous physician compiled more than 200 recipes for “compounding” spirits, hiding the manuscript from authorities. By adding extracts, essences, and oils to plain old sugar moonshine, bootleggers would simulate the taste of gin, whiskey, cordials, rums, absinthes…booze that was otherwise impossible to procure. The potential profits were staggering.

This document fell into the hands of author Matthew Rowley, who became fascinated with the process of compounding and the historical events that led to this mysterious and lucrative manuscript. In addition to annotating the actual pages of the book, Rowley provides a historical background, and gives his readers an overview of the process, updating some of the recipes for modern distillers, bartenders, and cocktail enthusiasts.