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A New Book Chronicles Prohibition in Vermont

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Local author Adam Krakowski often writes about beer for Yankee Brew News and other publications, but the journalist spent much of the last year researching a seemingly incompatible topic: prohibition. Earlier this month, his new book, Vermont Prohibition: Teetotalers, Bootleggers & Corruption (History Press) hit the shelves of local bookstores.

Vermont Prohibition - COURTESY OF ADAM KRAKOWSKI
  • courtesy of Adam Krakowski
  • Vermont Prohibition

Before nationwide Prohibition (1920-1933), Vermonters had lived under various booze bans since the 1850s. Much of Krakowski's book traces the political history of those dry spells, which the author compiled from newspaper clippings and other primary sources. "I really wanted to stay away from stories like, 'Oh, my granddad had a still,'" Krakowski says. Many such accounts have been published, he notes, and they tend to be unreliable and nonspecific.

Boozehounds, rejoice: The book offers local Prohibition-era cocktail recipes, too, though they're different from what most might expect. "What we think of as a 'Prohibition cocktail' is more about what we romanticize about Prohibition [than reality,]" Krakowski says. Because the available booze was harsh and gritty, "people used all these syrups and sweet stuff. They were trying to mask the liquor, so they'd make cocktails bright and pretty and on the sweet side."


The original print version of this article was headlined "Pro Tips"