Blind Pigs

My character Jessie uses the term “blind pig” to refer to a speakeasy. I wondered about the origins of the phrase. The term dates from the second half of the 19th century, long before the Prohibition era. According to Kathleen Drowne, a literary scholar, it originated in Maine, the first state to have prohibition, where a nineteenth-century tavernkeeper “sold his patrons tickets to view a blind pig he kept in the back room. Along with admission, every viewing customer was treated to a free glass of rum.” During Prohibition, blind pigs often served a little food too, usually salty or spicy items like sausages or pretzels (see the box of pretzels in the picture?). Sometimes the food was free to entice patrons to stay longer and drink more. 

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Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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