Have you ever wondered whether or not absinthe is actually hallucinogenic? Or whether Jameson is really only ordered by Catholic drinkers and Bushmills by Protestants?
No need to wonder any more -- or to be afraid of looking foolish by ordering the wrong thing. With the help of spirits experts and all-star bartenders around the world, we've been able to get to the bottom of nine common spirits myths and what we've found is, to be honest, quite mind-blowing.
Curious? Read on and you'll be able to drink without fear. Cheers!
Are there other myths you often hear? If so, let us know what they are in the comments below.
Absinthe is hallucinogenic.
Certain absinthe marketers love to capitalize on their product’s illicit reputation, but the fact is that it’s no more likely to make you see things than vodka, whiskey or tequila. Recent scientific studies “have demonstrated beyond doubt that pre-ban absinthes contained no hallucinogens, opiates or other psychoactive substances,” says one of the world’s leading absinthe experts, Ted A. Breaux. “The most powerful ‘drug’ in absinthe is and has always been a high volume of neatly disguised, seductively perfumed alcohol.” Still confused? Check out our complete absinthe guide here.
Jameson is Catholic and Bushmills is Protestant.
This is one of the myths we encounter all the time, since Bushmills is located in predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland, and Jameson is produced in the heavily Catholic Republic of Ireland. But “this couldn’t be any further from the truth,” says award-winning bartender Jack McGarry of New York’s The Dead Rabbit. For one, because there are only a few distilleries on the whole island, they trade casks. So your Bushmills may contain some Jameson-made whiskey. That’s not to mention that the current master distiller at Bushmills, Colum Egan, is Catholic, and that John Jameson, founder of his eponymous brand, was likely Protestant—and Scottish, for that matter. Mind blown? Find out the truth about four more Irish whiskey myths.
Britain may be famous for its many gins, but the alcohol actually descends from a juniper liquor first distilled in Belgium or Holland. During the Thirty Years’ War, England’s army saw Dutch soldiers fortifying themselves for battle by drinking genever. They brought this so-called “Dutch courage” back home. Learn even more about the spirit here.
Prohibition made Canadian whisky.
While some Canadian liquor found its way to the States during Prohibition, it wasn’t a boon for the country’s distillers. “Within a 10-year period, a salesman, Harry Hatch, bought four of the five largest whisky distilleries in Canada: Wiser’s, Corby, Hiram Walker and Gooderham & Worts,” notes Don Livermore, master blender at Corby Distilleries, which produces Wiser’s, Pike Creek and Lot. No 40. “Harry had some means to sell product into the United States illegally, but in truth for a salesman to have the capability to buy most of the industry leaders meant times were not all that good.” Find out more about Canadian whisky from Don Livermore here.