Odd Facts

Odd Facts

 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.



6.  During the Prohibition Era, you could get medicinal whiskey.

  The Prohibition era in the United States lasted from 1920 to 1933, and made all alcohol sales illegal across the country. Luckily, the federal government made an exemption for whiskey prescribed by a doctor and sold through licensed pharmacies. Whiskey was used to treat a variety of ailments, and during this time, the Walgreens pharmacy chain grew from 20 retail stores to almost 400. Imagine that.

7.  Speaking of Medicinal Whiskey…

  When former U.S. President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was a young child, doctors prescribed him whiskey and cigars to relieve his severe asthma.

  I could use a prescription like that myself too, doc.

8.  Nikola Tesla drank whiskey almost every day.

  If you are unfamiliar with Nikola Tesla, please do some research. This man was way ahead of his time, and was one of the greatest minds of modern history. As such, he declared that he did not use stimulants such as coffee or tea, but saw whiskey as not a stimulant, but “a veritable elixir of life.” He also claimed that “Alcohol is not a poison, nor is it a drug…in small quantities, it cleans and sterilizes the alimentary channels; thereby preventing infections, and proves a beneficial stimulant to thought, speech and physical exertion.” He drank whiskey every day, until the era of prohibition, and said that abstaining from alcohol only a few days made him a sick man. Upon dying at 86 years old, he stated that “Had I not given up [daily] whiskey during [Prohibition], I would surely live to 150 years of age.”

9.  Johnny Depp has a funeral plan involving whiskey

  It’s no surprise that a character like Johnny Depp would have some odd funeral plans for his inevitable death. Depp once paid for the arrangements of his close friend Hunter S. Thompson – author of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, ‘The Rum Diaries’, etc. – who had some strange funeral arrangements, which involved Thompson’s ashes being fired from a cannon shaped like a “Gonzo fist”. Like Thompson, Depp to wishes for his ashes to be used in his final send-off, but not through a massive cannon. Instead, he wants his ashes dumped into a barrel of whiskey, from which his family and friends can drink.

  Line ’em up, throw ’em back. I’d drink a few of those shots, just saying.

10.  The founder of “Alcoholics Anonymous” requested whiskey on his death bed.

  In the biography ‘My Name Is Bill‘, Susan Cheever reveals how the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Bil Wilson asked for alcohol shortly before his death. He was suffering from chronic emphysema and only had a few short days to live. It’s stated that he asked for whiskey on four separate occasions, yet he never received his drink. The nurses’ noted this in their records. It seems that those around him felt that protecting his image meant more than the last wish of a dying man.

  Personally, I find this revolting. I hope that when you are faced with your own mortality, no one has the balls to deny you your last wishes, even if that last wish is a drink.

  Anyone who has ever drank whiskey irresponsibly has learned to respect this humble spirit. In its long existence, it has surely affected many lives, for better or for worse. No matter what, its history proves an intriguing tale, from past to present, and surely into our future.

With that being said, BOTTOMS UP! Maybe we’ll all live to 150!



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