America is said to be the greatest nation on earth. A land where the driven can realize the essence of their dreams. In its infancy the roots of these amazing pillars of modern civilization may be credited in part to the American spirit, but also, the spirit of America.
Whiskey is a classically distilled spirit found in many purist and blended forms. A spirit distilled from grain, whiskey can morph into many histories and traditions. The Scotch-Irish tradition relies on mainly barley as the primary ingredient. Irish monks are thought to chalice the invention of modern whiskey during the crusades. Utilizing middle eastern perfume apparatus to distill a drink for medicinal purposes. The word “whiskey” is derived from ancient Gaelic meaning “water of life”. In early America there was an abundance of the grain of choice for many whiskeys: corn. Native American maize and rye where both used to produce a drink that fueled the birth pains of colonial America.
In early colony life the focus was on rum, based in the booming molasses trade. Whiskey is sparse on tavern menus limited to home production in mass by farmers with over bountiful crops. It is not until an influx of Scotch-Irish immigrants in the years prior to declaring independence, that whiskey becomes an American institution. The cornerstones are footed in the ideals of freedom from tyranny and self reliance with no respect for a forgein governing body. Locally produced by Americans for Americans with hard toiled crops from American soil. A patriotic movement brews in this “water of life”. The patriotic spirit is forever ignited with the British blockade of American ports, grinding the molasses trade to a stand still. Rum distillers immediately embrace the ideals of American whiskey and the blockade leads to a flood of the spirit. Whiskey was home grown and relied on no taxed imported goods.
Water was thought of as dirty and only suited for livestock. This was often true and settlers relied on distilled spirits for health and physicians touted the many benefits of whiskey. Providing energy, curing colds, relieving snake bites, warming the internals in winter, were all benefits and common practice . Whiskey was engrained in every aspect of everyday life, with the average American consuming almost 4 gallons a year. This is far north of triple today’s consumption rate.
As we celebrate the birth of this great nation, raise a glass to the history and patriots that have toiled for our inception into the American spirit, perhaps a glass of the American spirit. Whiskey never spoils, wavers, or changes once in the bottle. We can only hope our nation will embrace these same truths. Here at Boscia’s we wish you a merry independence day, without the past, the future is intangible.
Cheers to Whiskey!