Published: December 27, 2013

New Year’s Eve is just round the corner – and many Americans will be marking the midnight hour with a drink (or three). And it’s not just New Year’s. Alcohol has been part of American celebrations – and the American experience – since the country’s inception. Founding father Benjamin Franklin loved the hard stuff so much he compiled “The Drinker’s Dictionary,” featuring 228 synonyms for the word “drunk”! So in this episode, we dive into alcohol in the American past, and emerge without a hangover.

We’ll explore how the consumption and production of alcohol has ebbed and flowed over American history, consider why rum became the drink of choice among revolutionary troops, ask why American Indians were rejecting alcohol two centuries before the rest of the country, and follow the long march toward Prohibition.