Whiskey: Aqua Vitae
It has been known throughout the planet by different names - Jack, Amrut, Talisker among others. Whiskey is an alcohol that reeks of class yet serves all, packs a bunch yet soothes the aching heart. What’s the story behind the notorious bad boy of the alcohols that everyone seems to have a lingering crush on?
The work ‘Whiskey’ comes from the anglicization of the Gaelic word ‘Uisce’ which means what? Any guesses? It means water. Just think about this,right? How much whiskey do you need to have that after a point, you start calling it water? Anyway, jokes aside, whiskey does have a history that’s intense yet funny, much like the sensation it provides.
According to the most conclusive evidence found yet, the closest thing to modern whiskey was made through the process whereby wine was distilled to obtain a raw form of whiskey. This was done by the Italians (of course) around the 13th century AD. They’ve given us such a variety of alcohols, and we certainly accept this justice as a gift on their daughter’s wedding day. Although,the whiskey back then was made by Christian monks to treat diseases such as smallpox and colic. Bummer,right? Not quite! There were some hardcore chieftains who would consume this raw form of whiskey, and one of them is supposed of have died from overconsumption in 1405 AD. Geez….
Fun Fact: The Latin name for distilled alcohols such as whiskey was ‘Aqua Vitae’ which literally translated into ‘The Water Of Life’. Maybe cause whiskey is what gives life to our existence!
Whiskey later started to be produced by secular organizations, mainly the Guild of Barber Surgeons, for medicinal purposes. But after the a of the Monasteries, the newly displaced monks started making whiskey as a means to earn for themselves, and that is how whiskey started to be consumed by the general public.
After the English Malt Tax of 1725, most distilleries were shut down or went underground. Whiskey was hid under church altars, or even in coffins. The producers had to make Whiskey at night in order to avoid detection, and that’s how it came to be called Moonshine! Meanwhile in America, people were fighting the government name of whiskey. The Whiskey Rebellion of 1791 was in response to the ‘Whiskey Tax’, the first tax imposed on a domestic product in the newly formed USA. Fight for your rights, people!
As for India, the first distillery was established in Kasauli in the 1820’s by Edward Dyer and then later moved to Solan. One can now find college students drinking DSP Black, the grad students with a khamba of Blender’s Pride, the modest with either a Red or Black Label, and the upper echelons with the fabled Amrut! India has not only accepted Whiskey with open now, but it now courses through the veins of this land.
What is you favorite brand of Whiskey? And what is you preferred form of consumption? Do let us know in the comments section below!