John O'Hara wrote of the fall of the bigoted Julian English in the deservedly acclaimed Appointment in Samarra. The novel is laced with accurate observations of jazz-age America, the religion wars between the WASPs and the Catholics, the heavy drinking that always went on.
Everyone was drinking, or had just finished a drink, or was just about to take one. The drinks were rye and ginger ale, practically unanimously, except for a few highballs of applejack and White Rock or apple and ginger ale, or gin and ginger ale. Only a few of the inner sanctum members were drinking Scotch. The liquor, that is, the rye, was all about the same: most people bought drug store rye on prescriptions (the physicians who were club members saved "scrips" for their patients), and cut it with alcohol and colored water. It was not poisonous, and it got you tight, which was all that was required of it and all that could be said for it.