The Fifties Most people partook of alcohol, but there was much less stigma attached to not drinking than to not smoking. Those who did drink often partook to an extent that we'd either consider heroic or alcoholic. But they didn't drink what we drink: • Beer was popular in the summer among all social classes, but it had a distinct working-class stigma — you might drink beer, but you wouldn't serve it to your boss or order it in a restaurant. (There was, of course, no such thing as "light beer" at the time, and almost all beer sold in the US was domestic. The quality varied more than it does now, but there were a number of good brands.) • Wine wasn't well-understood even by relatively sophisticated Americans in the Fifties. Most people knew it came in either "red" or "white" varieties, and diners often ordered it that way: a few more erudite drinkers would recognize chablis and German white, but other types of wine were generally unknown. Most people would also recognize fortified
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