What was the drink of the Wild West?

Answered by Christopher Steppe

The drink of choice in the Wild West was undoubtedly . It was a rough and tumble time, and whiskey was the perfect companion for cowboys, outlaws, and saloon patrons alike. Now, when we talk about whiskey in the Wild West, we are not referring to the refined and carefully crafted that we have today. the whiskey of the Wild West was a far cry from what we know today.

In those days, whiskey was often produced locally, usually in small distilleries or even in makeshift stills. The quality of the whiskey varied greatly, and it was not uncommon to find whiskey that was rough, raw, and full of impurities. But people didn't seem to mind. They were looking for a strong drink to warm them up and provide a respite from the harsh realities of life in the West.

One of the most popular types of whiskey in the Wild West was . Bourbon is a uniquely American spirit, made primarily from corn and aged in charred oak . It was (and still is) known for its rich, sweet flavor and smooth finish. However, not all the whiskey that made its way west was true bourbon.

You see, whiskey was a valuable commodity in the West, and as it traveled from the distillery to the saloon, it often underwent some transformations. Some of the whiskey that was destined for the Wild West started out as bourbon, but somewhere along the journey, it was often mixed with additional , grain neutral spirits, and other ingredients. This was done to expand the supply and increase profits.

The practice of adulterating whiskey was not exclusive to the Wild West. It was a common practice in the 19th century, known as rectifying. Rectifiers would take cheap or low-quality whiskey and manipulate it by adding various substances to improve its taste, color, and aroma. These substances could include things like caramel coloring, fruit flavorings, and even chemicals like sulfuric acid. The resulting concoction would then be sold as whiskey.

So, when you ordered a whiskey in a Wild West saloon, you might not always be getting a pure and unadulterated bourbon. Instead, you might be getting a blend of different spirits, watered down to stretch the supply. This was a common practice in the saloons of the era, and patrons were often none the wiser.

But despite the questionable quality of the whiskey, it remained the drink of choice for many in the Wild West. It was a symbol of the frontier spirit, a way to take the edge off a hard day's work, and a social lubricant in the saloons and gambling halls. The whiskey of the Wild West may not have been the finest, but it was certainly a defining aspect of the era.

The drink of the Wild West was primarily whiskey. While bourbon was a popular choice, much of the whiskey that made its way west was often mixed with additional ingredients to increase profits. The quality of the whiskey varied greatly, but it remained a beloved and essential part of life in the Wild West. So, raise a glass to the cowboys and outlaws of yesteryear, and toast to the spirit of the Wild West.