Whiskey Wednesday: Whiskey Rebellion

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Let’s take a step back in time Pioneers. Back to a time when cattle drank beer, doctors were called “bone crackers”, and rebellions against the government by commonfolk were the norm – we’re talking about 1794, the year of the infamous Whiskey Rebellion after which this week’s Whiskey Wednesday cocktail is named after. Here’s a quick history lesson…

In the late 1700s, America was suffering from serious debt from the Revolutionary War (if only they could see us now. George Washington would be rolling over in his grave) and the American government was under tremendous pressure to come up with a solution. And U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, thought he had the answer – a tax on the most popular distilled beverage in the U.S. at the time, which was of course whiskey. This notorious tax was soon called the “whiskey tax” and was the first tax imposed on a domestic product by the newly-formed government. And as you may have assumed, this was not a popular move by the government, especially among those frontiersmen in the West. This new tax pitted the small, independent farmers and distillers of the West against big companies and the government back East. Whiskey distillers in the West protested the tax by refusing to pay and therefore, were subpoenaed by the government. This eventually led to the Battle of Bower Hill in Pennsylvania where fighting continued until the government succeeded in squashing the rebellion in November of 1794 (those bastards).

Well, even though the Western whiskey producers didn’t do prevail all the way back in 1794, at least a cocktail commemorating their resilience survived – appropriately named the Whiskey Rebellion. This mixture of rye, Punt e Mes, vermouth, and bitters is the perfect drink to cozy up with tonight while you binge watch Making a Murderer in frustration (admit it, we are all doing it).

1 ½ oz. Lost Republic rye whiskey

½ oz. Punt e Mes

½ oz. bittersweet vermouth

3 dashes of orange bitters

1 cherry for garnish

Combine rye, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass, and, finally, garnish with a cherry. Cheers Pioneers!