phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Torpedo juice

Posted by Masakim on March 30, 2002

In Reply to: Torpedo juice posted by Jay on March 30, 2002

: Can't find anything on the origin of the word torpedo juice in reference to alcohol beverage. Anybody know?
: I was under the impression it was referring to the propellent used in torpedos was at some time ethanol.

torpedo juice Any raw, inferior home-made alcoholic beverage, esp. as made under adverse conditions and from whatever ingredients one can find.
During W.W.II Armed Forces personnel would occasionally find themselves in a position or locale which gave no access to whisky or other alcoholic beverages. Those who felt a desire for some often usesd much ingenuity to concoct an alcoholic beverage from the ingredients at hand. The orig[in] of this term is from a typical recipe, based on pure grain alcohol as drained from a Navy torpedo. Other ingenious recipes include modifying and using the alcohol from engine oil, hair tonics, or medicines, usu[ally] mixing them with fruit juice. Chronic alcoholics also turn to such alcoholic beverage when no others are available, "canned heat" being a favorite form of torpedo juice with them.
From _Dictionary of American Slang_ by H. Wentworth & S.B. Flexner