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Learn 'How Booze Built America'

Learn 'How Booze Built America'

Discovery's new show gives insight into America's love affair with alcohol

Drinking with Revolutionary War soldiers, naturally.

Did you miss last night's premiere of How Booze Built America on the Discovery Channel? Better catch it now, and learn all about how the Founding Fathers built this country... with the help of a few drinks, of course. Who knew that the American Revolution kicked off the gin industry?

You can catch Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs) drink with Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co. and more knowledgeable drinkers across the country each Wednesday. If only this was taught during our high school history courses.


How an Accidental Invention Changed What Americans Eat for Breakfast

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, Americans woke up to a new kind of breakfast. Poured from a box into a bowl and doused with milk, cold cereals like Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes, Grape-Nuts and Shredded Wheat were not only lighter and easier to digest than more traditional breakfast staples like steak and eggs, hash, sausage, bacon and flapjacks. They also offered a previously unimaginable level of convenience to men, women and children whose schedules were adjusting to the quicker pace of an industrialized, rapidly urbanizing nation.


Negroni

Ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, gin

Backstory: Cocktail historians have tried to track down the Negroni Zero for decades, but the still most-repeated story (possibly apocryphal) is that Count Camillo Negroni once asked a Café Casoni bartender to improve his Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda) by using gin instead of soda water. A bit of a “bartender’s handshake” back in the day, the drink is rife for creating inventive variants, thanks to its equal parts sweet, bitter, and boozy, and played a crucial role in our modern cocktail revival.

Why it’s a classic: “Thank you Count Camillo Negroni for acquiring a taste for strong liquor while working as a rodeo clown in America. The need to satisfy your craving led the way to transforming the low ABV Americano into the paradigmatic Negroni. Hands down my favorite classic drink. Balancing sweet, bitter and strong to create the perfect cocktail.”—Laboy

Starter recipe:

1 oz London dry gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari

Stir with ice for 20-30 seconds. Strain into coupe glass. Garnish with orange peel.


Moonshine Stills

Despite the name, this equipment can be used to distill much more than moonshine. Stainless steel stills can be used to distill water, vinegar, essential oils, legally-produced alcohol, and more. The name "moonshine still" is just something that has stuck around from years ago because these types of stills can and have been used for&mdashyou guessed it&mdashmoonshine! However, with it requiring licensing in many countries, Brewhaus discourages such use without approval by any regulating authority, and is not liable for any illegal use. Learn more about how to choose the right equipment for your needs here and here.

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How Booze Built America

School is back in session and kids across the country are learning about our nation’s rich history. How nice.

What about the adults? What do we get? We like to learn, too!

What’s that, you say? A show about booze in history?! Say no more…DVR is set and ready to record.

Mike Rowe, the guy famous for doing some really “Dirty Jobs,” has a new three-part series on Discovery called “How Booze Built America.” It started last Wednesday and will continue for two more weeks, airing each time at 10PM. (Aka, you can catch it tonight at 10.)

Grab a beer and get ready to learn all sorts of important things like:
• The Pilgrims only landed the Mayflower on Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer. They drank a ton of beer back then (and even had a special lighter beer for children) because the water wasn’t very safe to drink.
• Johnny Appleseed planted so many trees because he wanted to use the apples to make and sell hard cider. Back then, money was easily reproduced, so a lot of people would buy and trade with booze.
• Just before he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth was spotted getting a little tipsy at a local pub.

We are psyched to learn about other parts of history that seemed a little boring back in high school, but were actually totally awesome. In the mean time, make sure you check out the show’s website – there are some really good show clips to catch up on.

Related Posts


It Requires:

  • 5-gallons of water
  • 8.5 pounds of cracked or flaked corn
  • 1.5 pounds of crushed malted barley

1. Make the Mash

The process begins by heating 5-gallons of water to 165°F. When the temperature reaches this point, turn off the heat and add the full amount of corn to the water.

It’s important to stir the corn consistently for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes have passed, stir the corn every 30 seconds to a minute until the temperature has dropped to 152°F.

When the temperature reaches 152°F it’s time to add the malted barley to the mixture. Once the barley has been added, cover the container and let it sit for an hour and a half.

However, during this time be sure to uncover the mixture every 15 minutes to stir. R eplace the cover on ce you’ve stirred the mixture.

The goal for this part of the process is to successfully turn all the starches into sugar. By the end of the hour and a half, you should have confidence this goal has been met.

After the hour and a half is up, allow the mixture to sit for another 2-3 hours to finish cooling fully. You can mix the concoction up with an immersion blender to speed up the cooling process if you’re in a hurry.

When the temperature reaches 70°F, sprinkle yeast over the entire mixture. Be sure the entire top has been covered. Without yeast, there’s no fermentation. Without fermentation, there’s no alcohol.

Obviously, this is an important step. When the yeast has been added, aeration is the next step. Pour the concoction back and forth between 2 containers until you are confident everything has been mixed and aerated well.

After aeration, place an airtight lid on the container holding your mash.

2. Allow the Mash to Ferment

Fermentation is the time when yeast works its magic and turns corn mash into alcohol. It’s important the mash is left to rest for approximately 2 weeks.

At the end of the 2-week waiting period, wait 1 more week to ensure everything is breaking down as it should.

When 3 weeks have passed, open the lid to the container. You should smell alcohol and the mash should have a foamy appearance. This is letting you know the corn and barley have fermented.

Next, strain the mash. You should run everything through a large strainer or cheesecloth to remove any larger chunks of the mash or sediment. You don’t want these items running through your still in the later steps.

When you feel confident you’ve removed all the sediment and large chunks of grain from the fermented liquid, pour the liquid into the still, and move on with the process.

3. Ready the Still

If you’re making moonshine, I must assume you’re a legal distributor. Therefore, you probably use your still on a regular basis.

Whether you use your still daily or not, it’s important to clean it. You don’t want any dust particles or dirt getting into the moonshine you’ve worked hard to make.

Different stills work differently and have different components. There are also different methods for operating stills too.

If you pack your column, now is the proper time to do this. Some people choose to pack their column because it creates higher alcohol proof.

If your still has a condenser, now is also the proper time to get water to the still for water input and output.

Once the still is set-up, the mash has been strained and added, you’re ready to move forward in the process.

4. Start the Distilling Process

You’ll begin this step by turning on the heat to the still. The desired temperature is 150°F. If your still has a condenser, you should turn on the water at this point in the process.

Turn the heat up to your still until you begin seeing alcohol being produced. Time the drips of alcohol as they come out.

When the alcohol is dripping 3-5 drips per second, you should turn the heat down.

A common misconception is distilling is what gives you alcohol. This isn’t the case. Distilling is a chemical process that happens in the still. This process allows alcohol to be separated from the other chemical components in the still.

Therefore, this produces a pure alcoholic beverage people have been enjoying for centuries. The alcohol itself was created during the fermentation process by the reaction between the mash and the yeast.

Once the alcohol is flowing from your still, it’s important to pay close attention to the next step. This is what separates the different distillers in this process.

5. The Different Parts of the Moonshine

Making moonshine is an art. The more you practice it (legally!) the better you become. However, what makes the difference in one person’s moonshine to the next?

Well, this falls right into knowing the different parts of the product you’re producing. Not only does understanding and identifying the different parts of moonshine produce a better product, but it also ensures the safety of the product as well.

The first 5% of the moonshine flowing from your still is known as the foreshots. This is a lethal product that contains methanol. It has been known to cause blindness and shouldn’t be consumed.

The next 30% of the moonshine flowing from your still is known as the heads. The heads still contain methanol only in smaller amounts and smell like nail polish remover. This part of the product shouldn’t be consumed either.

Though it doesn’t cause blindness, in most cases, it can leave you feeling pretty rough in the morning. Better to play it safe, be patient, and wait on the quality product to be produced before consuming.

The 30% produced by the still after the heads are known as the hearts. This is the quality product you’ve been anxiously awaiting. You’ll realize you’ve reached the hearts by the sweet aroma it produces.

Finally, the end of the run is known as the tails. This part won’t smell as sweet and if you touch it, you’ll realize it has a slick feel on your hands.

The slickness comes in because the amount of ethanol has drastically decreased, and water, carbs, and proteins have taken over.

Also, you might notice you’ve reached the tails in the run because you’ll begin to see an oily film developing on the top of the product.

6. Knowing the Difference

I’ve explained how you make a mash for moonshine, the fermentation process, and the distilling process. I’ve also covered the different parts of the moonshine product.

Still, what separates two different distilleries in flavor?

Well, the recipe could vary slightly which will produce a different flavored product. Even so, the greatest thing which separates the quality of moonshine between two different moonshiners is the ability to separate the moonshine.

For instance, you noticed in the previous step how I told you to smell the product to know which step of the process you’re in.

Well, the more you make moonshine the easier it becomes to separate the product out with greater accuracy. The purer the product, the better the flavor.

As you gain confidence in smelling the difference between the point where the heads stop and the hearts begin, the better flavor you’ll be able to produce.

Again, this will take time and practice, but with both of these investments, you should see an improvement. Also, don’t be shy to seek out a mentor. Moonshining still exists because of people mentoring others in this art.

However, I must reiterate, only seek out a legal mentor. Without a permit, no matter how small the amount of moonshine produced, you’re still breaking the law.

Well, you now know how to produce moonshine and hopefully, have a better understanding of the skill required to become a better moonshiner over time.

It isn’t our hope nor intention to encourage illegal moonshining, but we do hope you have a greater understanding of the process legal distributors must go through to bring you a beverage you love.

Also, after researching this process, it gave me a much greater appreciation for the ‘original moonshiners.’ It’s our hope you’ll share the same respect for the knowledge they were able to gain and pass down without the help of modern technology or (in many cases) formal education.


How Booze Built America

In the television documentary series How Booze Built America host Mike Rowe discusses the role alcohol has played in the formation of modern America. The series begins with alcohol's role amongst the Pilgrims and its effects on the American Revolution. Later episodes discuss a booze filled side to the U.S.A's western expansion and the space race of the 50s and 60s. We see alcohol running through the veins of American history from problematic molasses taxes to Johnny Appleseed harvesting apples for hard cider. The series is keen to point out every small place where the addition of booze is an unexpected historical footnote. We see that in early America every town in Massachusetts was required to have a tavern. Naturally enough, when the ideas of the revolution were being spread around it was in these bars. The host brings his typically friendly nature to the show's presentation. Rowe will walk through the middle of historical reenactments donned in t-shirt, jeans and cap whilst adding his narration. He interviews the historians and experts on the show over a beer. Occasionally we might even see Rowe sharing a drink with the locals. At times Rowe goes so far as to break the fourth wall, pointing out the crew member in the corner artificially creating the appearance of a smoke filled tavern. While the design of the show is casual and accessible, it never gets in the way of the facts. The series is a production by Karga Seven pictures with post production by Fancy Film Post Services. It was aired as a three part series with episodes running 44 minutes in a one hour time slot. It is distributed by Discovery Channel.

In the television documentary series How Booze Built America host Mike Rowe discusses the role alcohol has played in the formation of modern America. The series begins with alcohol's role amongst the Pilgrims and its effects on the American Revolution. Later episodes discuss a booze filled side to the U.S.A's western expansion and the space race of the 50s and 60s.

We see alcohol running through the veins of American history from problematic molasses taxes to Johnny Appleseed harvesting apples for hard cider. The series is keen to point out every small place where the addition of booze is an unexpected historical footnote. We see that in early America every town in Massachusetts was required to have a tavern. Naturally enough, when the ideas of the revolution were being spread around it was in these bars.

The host brings his typically friendly nature to the show's presentation. Rowe will walk through the middle of historical reenactments donned in t-shirt, jeans and cap whilst adding his narration. He interviews the historians and experts on the show over a beer. Occasionally we might even see Rowe sharing a drink with the locals. At times Rowe goes so far as to break the fourth wall, pointing out the crew member in the corner artificially creating the appearance of a smoke filled tavern. While the design of the show is casual and accessible, it never gets in the way of the facts.


Cement Mixer

It’s worth emphasising straight away that you don’t order a cement mixer shot for its taste… It’s a nasty combination of Irish cream and lime juice that’s designed to make the drinker suffer.

You’re meant to mix this drink in your mouth before swallowing so that the lime cordial & Irish cream combine and react to make the cream curdle. Very quickly, it starts to feel like you’ve got cement in your mouth – not the greatest experience in the world but hilarious to watch!

Serve in a Shot glass

Carefully layer in the order given above in a shot glass. Instruct the drinker to mix the drink in their mouth for 10 seconds before swallowing. Enjoy watching!


Hard Cider, Frontier Fables, and the True (Boozy) Story of Johnny Appleseed

American cider is currently defined by what it isn’t. Made from fruit, not grain, it isn’t beer — although it is frequently packaged in beer-sized bottles, and drafted alongside beer at bars like The Northman in Chicago or Covenhoven in Brooklyn.

It certainly doesn’t inspire the reverence or academic certification that surrounds wine, although production and fermentation methods are often similar.

Cider isn’t the next big thing among American drinkers, either. No matter how loudly lunatics like this author crowed about cider’s explosive potential back in 2014, when it surpassed craft beer growth and became a $366 million industry, it remains a subcategory. To this day, it’s common to see bottles labeled “hard cider,” demonstrating the need to differentiate a carefully calibrated boozy beverage from butterscotch-colored mugs of autumnal cheer sold at farmers markets.

36 Gifts and Gadgets For Anyone Who Loves Drinks

“The market is still trying to figure out what cider is and what cider can be,” cider expert Darlene Hayes told Condé Nast Traveler last fall. “Wine is a legacy of the Roman aristocracy. That’s why people want it. Places that can’t grow wine grapes — Brittany and Normandy in France and Asturias in Spain — became cider cultures. That was in the U.S. until they could figure out how to grow grapes and grain.”

As beer and wine grow into billion-dollar industries that drive global trends, we still have yet to determine what cider is exactly. What does cider mean in America? And does anyone even care?

American Oxygen

Historically, American cider didn’t exist in the margins. It was our “default alcoholic beverage through the 19th century,” Annie Bystryn, founder of Cider In Love, says. “It was often what people drank instead of water.”

The proliferation of cider in colonial America was due to to a 19th century farmer named John Chapman. Better known to students of American folklore as “Johnny Appleseed,” Chapman cultivated orchards along the then-emerging western frontier of America, from Pennsylvania to Illinois.

Chapman’s orchards grew cider apples, which are smaller than apples we eat, and too tart to consume straight, according to Smithsonian. “As a member of the Swedenborgian Church, whose belief system explicitly forbade grafting (which they believed caused plants to suffer), Chapman planted all of his orchards from seed, meaning his apples were, for the most part, unfit for eating,” writes Natasha Geiling.

What’s more, Chapman planted as many trees as possible, empowered by the most American motivation there is: personal financial gain.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, settlers on the western frontier could qualify for land grants if they cultivated 50 apple trees and 20 peach trees in three years. This was pretty tough to pull off, since apple trees take five to 10 years to bear fruit. Chapman, a green-thumbed opportunist, would swoop in early, cultivate cider trees from seed, and sell them to frontiersmen for a profit.

Cider fell out of fashion after Prohibition. “The tastes of the nation shifted,” Bystryn says, citing an influx of immigrants from beer-drinking nations, plus the devastation of so many frontier-era cider-apple trees. “People could say, ‘That tree was made for booze!’ and cut it down as a sort of teetotaling fanaticism,” she says. It was much quicker and cheaper to turn grain into beer than to re-cultivate orchards from scratch.

Throwback Tastes

The contemporary American cider landscape spans two categories: modern, or mass-produced cider and heritage cider, characterized by an almost obsessive attention to apple variety and terroir, plus cultivation and fermentation techniques akin to winemaking.

Heritage ciders tend to be produced in small batches, but some are widely available. Shacksbury Cider, a Vermont operation dedicated to restoring lost apple varieties, has national distribution, and Eden Specialty Cider ships nationwide via its website. Graft Cider makes sour-beer-esque ciders in New York’s Finger Lakes, and is available in six states.

Cider in Love has an Etsy-like model, connecting consumers to regional and small-batch cider producers.

“Heritage cider appeals to people who are concerned with where everything they eat and drink comes from, because you can trace different flavors to each apple variety,” Bystryn says. She also thinks cider’s versatility appeals to people who drink craft beer one day, wine the next, and cocktails on the weekend.

“People aren’t just omnivores with how they eat and drink,” Bystryn says. “It’s how we shop, and what we wear. We don’t want to be defined by one thing. Cider speaks to that. It has versatility.”

Does this mean we are approaching another cider renaissance? Maybe. But history is unlikely to repeat itself, at least not exactly.

Instead, as American drinkers become more promiscuous, sampling beer, wine, and cocktails in equal measure, cider will be another option on our shared table, as diverse and viable as any other. In America, nothing ever tastes as good as having choices.

Four Heritage Ciders to Try

Graft Farm Flor: A blend of farmhouse barrel-aged cider and wild yeast-fermented cider, Graft’s flagship is perfect for those who like fruited sour beer. Seasonal gose ciders feature ingredients like rose hips and hibiscus, and are worth seeking out. From $3.50 for 12 ounces.

Shacksbury Dry: Light and crisp, like a well-made craft lager, this widely available cider is made with heritage apples from Vermont and England. It has a slightly funky nose, dry palate, and bright, citrus-y finish. From $50 for twelve 12-ounce cans.

Carr’s Ciderhouse Wild Apple Blend: “If you love gose, try this,” Bystryn says of this funky, wild-fermented cider with a dry, tannic finish. From $19 for 750 milliliters.

Liberty Ciderworks Manchurian Crabapple SV: Hailing from Spokane, Wash., this off-dry cider is made with Manchurian crabapples. Bystryn compares its tannic structure and viscosity to Port wine, saying, “it’s really complex.” From $15 for 375 milliliters.


Mike Rowe’s ‘How Booze Built America’ Premieres Wednesday On Discovery

NEW YORK – Mike Rowe is thirsty. Really thirsty. And after doing hundreds of dirty jobs, who can blame him? In Discovery’s brand new three part series HOW BOOZE BUILT AMERICA, premiering on Wednesday, September 19 th at 10pm ET/PT (and airing on the following two Wednesdays), host Mike Rowe takes a break from the dirty jobsÔǪand takes a seat at the bar.

Did you know that the Puritans landed the Mayflower early on Plymouth RockÔǪbecause they ran out of beer? Or that Johnny Appleseed was actually creating farms to sell hard apple cider? Mike Rowe does, and he’ll walk you through all of this and more. He’s proven that dirty jobs can be fun. He’s ready to do the same for history.

In HOW BOOZE BUILT AMERICA, Mike Rowe will crisscross the country, stiff drink in hand and beer goggles firmly strapped on, to take an in depth and slightly unusual look at the story of our nation. Between reenactments of actual historical events, and current day interviews with historians and experts, Rowe will make the case that alcohol is clearly one of the key ingredients that formed our culture and our country. He’ll take viewers on a liquor fueled journey based on historical facts, such as:

  • Paul Revere actually rode from tavern to tavern on his Midnight Ride, and may have slipped in a few cold ones along the way
  • George Washington distilled his own whiskey, Thomas Jefferson brewed his own beer, and Abraham Lincoln sold booze out of his grocery stores prior to saving the Union
  • The Pilgrims gave beer to their kids — on purpose

From the Mayflower to the moon landing, from George Washington to the O.K. Corral, booze has been there every step of the way. And that’s not just the liquor speaking.

HOW BOOZE BUILT AMERICA is produced by Karga 7. Kelly McPherson, Emre Sahin, Sarah Wetherbee, Miriam Leffert and Jeanne Begley are executive producers for Karga 7. Mike Rowe and Mary Sullivan are executive producers for mikeroweWORKS. Craig Coffman is executive producer for Discovery.


Discovery Channel Presents “How Booze Built America”

How many times during the course of any day do you say to yourself or out loud: “Gee, I didn’t know that”? Learning about new things or historical details about a subject is an ongoing process for people of all ages. Toddlers discover how to master walking or the meaning of new words, young school age children soak up knowledge every day in their family life or school environment, adolescents learn from their peers, teachers and parents, college-age students gain knowledge either by studying or observing, adults are in a constant mode of learning on the job or consuming literature or following the news. Every day we are in the process of discovery what we don’t know or understand about a subject. This process of discovery is what keeps us vital and engaged.

How much do you know about “booze”?

This question may have caught you off guard. But think about it. Your entire point of reference about “booze” may be from your own experience as a casual drinker, a child of an alcoholic, a bartender, an employee of a brewery or distillery, an alcoholic or a treatment professional in the field of alcoholism. Often we see a news story about someone dying as a result of their alcoholism or at the hands of another who suffers from alcohol abuse, we learn of events that turn chaotic due to people being drunk, we watch public service announcements about alcohol abuse. We have laws and regulations that control the types of advertisements allowed to promote alcoholic products, cautionary signs displayed in business that sell alcoholic beverages, and many, if not most, breweries and distilleries promote “please drink responsibly” campaigns. Finally, on occasion people will ask, perhaps rhetorically: “Why don’t we just outlaw all forms of alcohol?” Good question, but to answer this question you might want to take a closer look at Discovery Channel’s new three-part series.

“How Booze Built America”

Starting tonight, September 19, 2012, your local Discovery Channel will air Part 1 of a new three-part series: “How Booze Built America”. It can be seen tonight and the following two Wednesday evenings at 10:00PM EDT/PDT.

A Discovery Channel video clip promo

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

According to TalkTVworld.com, Mike Rowe, the host of this new series, will “take
an in depth and slightly unusual look at the story of our nation. Between
reenactments of actual historical events, and current day interviews with
historians and experts, Rowe will make the case that alcohol is clearly one of
the key ingredients that formed our culture and our country.”

About Discovery Channel

Launched in 1985, Discovery Channel offers documentary television programming which focuses on science, technology and history. It is available in 409 million households across the world. Many of their series are award winning. It will be interesting to see how they handle this very delicate subject “How Booze Built America.”

If you watch, let us know what you think. What did you discover that you didn’t know before?


Watch the video: Discovery Channel: How Booze Built America (January 2022).