TLW's Liquorscope™ (Liquor Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: July 30, 2016. Last Update: July 3, 2018.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to liquor (fermented alcoholic beverage) history, incl. Whisky (Whiskey), Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Tequila et al. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
In 1975 UCLA chemist Ben M. Zuekerman discovers space alcohol; in 1995 Tom Millar, Geoffrey MacDonald, and Holf Habing discover the gigantic alcohol cloud G34.3 10K l.y. from Earth in the Aquila Constellation, 1K the size of the Solar System, with enough alcohol to make 400TT (400E24) pints of beer.
In 1174 Henry II visits Ireland uninvited and records the use of whiskey (aquae vitae).
About 1300 Spanish alchemist and papal physician Arnau (Arnaud) (Arnaldus) de Villanova (Villanueva) (1238-1311) invents Brandy (Brandywine) (AKA Fire Wine) by distilling wine; enterprising copycat Irish monks soon invent Usquebaugh (Uisgebeatha) (Whisky) (Whiskey) (Gael. "water of life") by distilling fermenting grain - when does the party start?
In 1386 the Genovese Embassy introduces aqua vitae (water of life) to the Moscow Grand Duchy, acquainting them with the "pernicious drink" (good antifreeze for the blood?) Vodka - so the Italians did to the Russkies what the Euros did to the American Indians?
In 1405 the word "vodka" is first mentioned in Akta Grodzie, an official document of the Polish Palatinate of Sandomierz to mean medicines and cosmetic products; he beverage is called gorzalda (Old Polish "gorzec" = to burn); the first mention of the word "vodka" in Cyrillic appears in 1533, referring to a medicinal drink brought to Kieven Rus from Poland by merchants.
In 1429 Vodka is brought to Moscow by foreign visitors, who tout it as a panacea; in 1430 a monk named Isidor of the Chudov Monastery makes the first Russian vodka recipe, which becomes a monopoly of the grand duchy of Moscow.
About 1450 after the English are driven out of Bordeaux, Irish mercenary ? Hennessey stays and begins producing cognac; the modern-day Hennessy cognac distillery is founde in 1765 by Richard Hennessy.
In 1494 the first mention of malted barley whiskey production in Scotland.
In 1525 Amaretto (It. "a little bitter"), made of apricot kernels and brandy is invented by a young widowed innkeeper, who presents it to Leonardo da Vinci's pupil Bernardino Luini (1475-1532), who is painting frescoes for the church at Saronno.
In 1533 the first Tsar's kabak is opened in Moscow, serving vodka and other liquors, becoming known as Russia's taverns.
On Feb. 13, 1565 Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1502-72) and his navigator (Augustinian friar) Andres de Urdaneta (1498-1568) arrive from Acapulco, New Spain (Mexico) in the Philippines and on June 24, 1571 found Manila on Manila Bay in the South China Sea (modern pop. 1.8M/12.8M); in July they discover a good route back to Acapulco, which becomes known as Urdaneta's Route, and Legazpi returns as royal gov. of the Philippines to establish the "China route" through the "Spice Islands"; Augustinian friars follow and become a force in the islands, later joined by other orders, incl. Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, and Recollects; tequila (distilled agave nectar) begins to be exported from Mexico via the Camino Real through the Sierra Madre Mts.; galleons are built in Barra de Navidad for the route from Veracruz to Spain.
In 1608 Bushmills Distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland is licensed by a landowner, after which a co. builds a commercial distillery in 1784, becoming the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery.
The original Supersize Me? On Aug. 4, 1693 blind French Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon (1639-1715) invents Champagne, which is later sold in supersized bottles called Magnum (2x), Jeroboam (4x), Rehoboam (6x), Methuselah (8x), Salmanazar (12x), Balthazar (16x), and Nebuchadnezzar (20x) (My Judy Really Makes Splendid Belching Noises); actually, he didn't invent sparkling wine, just taught blending skills and figured out how to bottle the stuff in reinforced glass bottles sealed with Spanish corks?
In 1737 yellow-green 142 proof Chartreuse Elixir is first distilled from 130 plants by the cloistered Carthusian monks in Chartreuse, France (founded 1084) from an ancient ms. given to them in 1605; for beverage use, 110 proof Green Chartreuse is also sold.
In 1783 Evan Williams of Louisville, Ky. begins distilling Bourbon Whiskey, becoming the first in Ky.?; in the mid-1900s the brand is resurrected; it is first distilled and aged in the U.S. on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville, Scott County, Ky. by Baptist Rev. Elijah Craig?; in 1785 Bourbon County (named after the French royal family) becomes part of Va. until 1792, when it becomes part of the new Commonwealthy of Ky., becoming known as Old Bourbon and becoming famous for corn-based Bourbon whiskey, which is shipped from Limestone, Ky. (modern-day Maysville, Mason County, Ky.) down the Ohio River, where it is sold in the port of New Orleans on Bourbon St.
On Jan. 1, 1817 Simon Bolivar lands in Barcelona, Venezuela (Orinoco region) with a small force of refugee insurgents from Haiti in an attempt to liberate it from Spain, promising to free the slaves and give confiscated properties to his victorious troops, and on Feb. 16 he scores a quick V against a Spanish royalist army at the Battle of Barcelona, establishes a rev. govt. at Angostura (founded 1764) (renamed Ciudad Bolivar in 1846), then wins a number of military Vs during the year; in 1824 Angostura Bitters are first made by pro-Bolivar German-born military surgeon Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (1796-1870) to help his patients.
In 1823 the English Parliament passes the 1823 Excise Act, making commercial distillation of whiskey more profitable and imposing punishments on landowners when unlicensed distilleries are found on their lands; in 1824 former moonshiner George Smith (1792-1871) becomes the first person to obtain a distillery license under the new law, founding Glenlivet Distillery in Moray, Scotland, "The single malt that started it all", offering 12 to 25-y.-o. varieties, becoming the 2nd best-selling brand on Earth and the best-selling brand in the U.S., producing 6M bottles/year; in 1977 it is acquired by Seagram; in 2000 French co. Pernod Ricard acquires it.
In 1825 the British govt. reduces its duty on spirits, causing gin consumption to rise from 4,132,263 gal. this year to 9,311,624 gal. next year, with a corresponding increase in crime and pauperism; gin goes for 3.5 pence/pint, vs 5 pence for 2 pints of beer, causing beer brewers to ally with temperance groups, touting beer as a temperance drink, a source of nourishment and calories for the working man, safer than water, etc.; meanwhile in 1822 Lord Brougham disses tea drinking as leading "not to the cultivation of one single acre of English land", while beer is "a good, sound, wholesome constitutional beverage of the country."
In 1849 Cointreau Distillery is founded in Angers, France by confectioner Adolph Cointreau and his brother Edouard-Jean Cointreau, selling guignolet cherry liqueur before introducing the wondrous 80-proof orange-flavored Cointreau liqueur in 1875 (made with bitter and sweet orange peels), with sales growing to 13M bottles/year by 2017; it claims to have been part of the original recipes for margaritas and cosmopolitans.
In 1857 Joseph E. Seagram and Sons starts as a distillery founded in Waterloo, Ont., Canada; in 1869 Canadian businessman Joseph Emm Seagram (1841-1919) becomes a partner, rising to sole owner in 1883; in 1924 Canadian Jewish businessman Samuel Bronfman (1889-1971) and his brothers found Distillers Corp. Ltd. in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which booms during the 1920s because of Prohibition in the U.S. by shipping liquor to Saint Pierre and Miquelon off Newfoundland for transfer to U.S. bootleggers from N.Y., N.J. et al.; in 1928 Distillers Corp. acquires Seagram, surviving the end of Prohibition in 1933 by selling aged whiskeys and paying the U.S. govt. $1.5M to settle delinquent excise taxes, with Bronfman introducing quality whiskies incl. Chivas Regal and Royal Salute, creating Crown Royal in 1939 after mixing 600 samples to commemorate a visit to Canada by George VI and Queen Elizabeth; in 1982 it acquires a 32.2% share in Conoco, which calls in DuPont to rescue it, causing Seagram to end up with a 24.3% share of DuPont, growing to the largest single shareholder in 1995 with four seats; in 1986 it launches an ad campaign for its Golden wine coolers starring Bruce Willis, causing it to rise from #5 to #1 among distillers by 1988; in 1987 it takes over French cognac maker Martell & Cie for $1.2B; too bad, after rising to the largest owner of alcoholic beverages in the world, on Apr. 6, 1995 DuPont announces a buyback of its shares for $9B despite accounting for 70% of Seagram's earnings, after which Seagram begins a downhill slide despite acquiring MCA, owner of theme parks and Universal Pictures, along with PolyGram and Deutsche Grammophone; in 2000 the entertainment div. is sold to Vivendi, and the beverage div. (250 drink brands) to Pernod Ricard and Diageo; in 2002 Coca-Cola acquires its line of mixers.
In 1862 Sackets Habor, N.Y.-born bartender ("Jupiter Olympus of the Bar") Jeremiah P. "Jerry" Thomas (1830-85) pub. Bar-Tender's Guide (How to Mix Drinks; or, The Bon-Vivant's Companion), becoming the first drink book pub. in the U.S., making him an instant star, with his Blue Blazer flaming whiskey drink at the El Dorado in San Francisco causing him to earn $100 a week at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, more than the U.S. vice-pres.; the 1876 ed. contains the first pub. recipe for the Tom Collins; naturally, he claims to have invented the Tom & Jerry.
In 1864 former serf Pyotr Arsenievich Smirnov (1831-98) founds Smirnoff (originally PA Smirnov) brand vodka in Moscow, Russia, pioneering charcoal filtration in the 1870s along with newspaper ads and charitable contributions to the Orthodox clergy to stop anti-vodka sermons, capturing two-thirds of the market by 1886 and making a fan of the tsar, becoming one of the wealthiest men in Russia; in 1898 he is succeeded by his 3rd son Vladimir Smirnov (1875-1939); too bad, in 1904 the tsar nationalizes the Russian vodka industry, forcing Vladimir Smirnov to sell-out, and after the 1917 Oct. Rev. the whole family flees to Constantinople, followed in 1924 by Lwow, Poland (modern-day Lviv, Ukraine), changing the brand name to Smirnoff; in 1933 Vladmir sells the North Am. rights to Russian immigrant Rudolph Kunett, who in 1939 sells out to John Martin, pres. of Heublein Co. (makers of A1 Steak Sauce), marketing it as "white whiskey" complete with whiskey corks; in 1982 Heublein Inc. is acquired by R.J. Reynolds for $1.4B, and in 1987 it sells the Smirnoff div. to Grand Metropolitan, which merges with Guinness in 1997 to form Diageo; the brand becomes the world's best-selling distilled spirit brand by 2006 until 2015, when it is passed by India's Officer's Choice.
In 1865 Juan Serralles (1845-1921) founds Don Q Rum in Puerto Rico, using sugar from his own 300-acre Hacienda Mercedita, worked by slaves and free labor.
In 1866 Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel (1849-1911) establishes a whiskey distillery in dry Lynchburg, Tenn. and perfects his Kentucky bourbon formula.
In 1870 Hennessey X.O. Cognac begins to be produced for the lucky rich.
In 1880 80-proof Grand Marnier orange-flavored liqueur is invented by Alexandre Marnier-Laposolle of France, made of cognac brandy, bitter orange, and sugar.
In 1886 Glenfidditch (Gael. "valley of the deer") Speyside single malt Scotch whisky is founded in Dufftown, Scotland by William Grant & Sons, becoming the world's best-selling single malt whiseky; the logo is a stag.
In 1894 Dmitry Mendeleev of Russia discovers that vodka is best when formulated to exactly 80 proof (40% alcohol), becoming the std. for modern vodka.
In 1919 after Ky. adopted prohibition in 1918, the bourbon industry (26 distilleries) in Bourbon County, Ky. is wiped out; no distillery opens there until late 2014.
In 1930 Savoy Hotel (London) bartender Harry Craddock (1876-1963) pub. The Savoy Cocktail Book, which becomes the Bible of mixology.
In 1935 Jagermeister (Jägermeister) (Ger. "master hunter", "gamekeeper") herbal liqueur, made with 56 herbs and spices and bottled at 70 proof U.S. is introduced by Curt Mast (1897-) of Wolfenbuttel, Germany, starting out as an after-dinner digestive aid until Am. liquor importer Sidney E. Frank (1919-2006) begins selling it to the youth market as a party drink, becoming a big hit; Frank goes on to promote Grey Goose vodka and become a billionaire.
In 1936 Kahlua (Kahlúa) (Nahuatl "house of the Acolhua people") brand coffee-flavored liqueur is introduced by Pedro Domecq of Mexico.
In 1965 Tequila, the nat. drink of Mexico (named after the town of Tequila, Jalisco) begins rising in popularity in the U.S., climbing 1,500% in the next decade.
In 1972 bartender Robert "Rosebud" Butt of the Oak Beach Inn in Babylon, Long Island, N.Y. allegedly invents Long Island Iced Tea, made with equal parts of vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and triple sec, along with sour or sweet-sour mix and a splash of cola or iced tea.