I love whiskey, but there’s a lot of interesting history behind it that I never knew. Today, let’s explore 10 things you never knew about whiskey.
1. Whiskey vs Whisky
Surprisingly, both spellings are correct. Stateside, we tend to spell the word with and added ‘e’ – as in “whiskey” – while some countries in Europe refer to it as “whisky”. It is produced across the globe, but is usually made in three varieties, Scotch, Bourbon, or Rye, with each using a different set of core ingredients. The term “whisky” is usually attributed specifically to Scotch Whisky.
No matter the spelling, it’ll get you hammered, for sure, with an average alcohol content between 40% – 68% (usually 40%, 43% or 46%).
2. Mountain Dew Was Originally Meant to Be a Whiskey Chaser
As amazing as that sounds, it’s totally true. Two brothers, Barney and Ally Hartman, were trying to find the perfect chase for their whiskey. After trying just about everything, they decided to create their own drink, as nothing gave the perfect combination in their opinion. Thus, Mountain Dew was born, and hit the market in 1940. The original slogan definitely sounds like the brain-child of two whiskey chasing brothers: “Yahoo Mountain Dew, It’ll tickle your innards.” Seriously, that was their slogan.
3. George Washington was the largest American whiskey producer in the 18th century.
There’s been numerous myths over the years pertaining to good old George, but this one is completely true. That’s right. America’s first president – who also grew hemp and showed a great interest in cannabis – was also a big-time whiskey man. He opened a whiskey distillery three miles from his Virginia estate, which in 1799 produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey, making him the largest producer of the 18th century. ‘Merica.
4. The Death of Jack Daniels
While his actual birth date is unknown, his death date is recorded as October 10, 1911. Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel was pronounced dead due to blood poisoning; however, he did not drink himself to death. The founder of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery actually died from an infection in his big toe that poisoned his blood. The story goes that he had kicked his safe one day after struggling to remember his combination, injuring his toe, which inevitably lead to his death.
While there’s no hard-evidence to prove this story, I can totally picture it. After a few shots of Jack, I forget a few things too. Like, how to walk, for example.
5. Diabetics’ urine can be converted into whiskey.
As absolutely fucking disgusting as this sounds, it’s true.
James Gilpin is a designer and researcher who also has type 1 diabetes, which means his body doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. In his research, he discovered that a diabetics urine is so sugar-rich it can be turned into whiskey. He now collects the urine of elderly diabetics and turns it into a high-end single malt whisky. As if that weren’t disturbing enough, when the spirit is bottled it is labeled with the name and age of the contributor.