In the 70’s it was common to have a sideboard containing a variety of alcoholic drinks. My parents would offer visitors a drink ot two but it was strictly taboo to myself as a sixteen year old. After  being caught several times participating in a glass of marini with my friends, my parents started marking lines on the bottles. This didn’t deter us, we topped up the  bottles with water!

The ‘rich’ had a clever piece called a  Tantalus, an attractive lockable container prevented their staff (or teenagers!) from drinking their expensive spirits.

The word Tantalus was derived from the Greek word Tantalos, who according to Greek mythology was the son of Zeus and Plouto. Tantalos deceived the gods and his fate was to stand up to his neck in water, which he was unable to drink, fruit dangled above him which also was just out of reach and the final punishment was a huge rock above, threatening  to crush him!  He must have done something really bad!

Hence the word, Tantalus!




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