See M. Jackson, The World Guide to Whiskey (1988).
Any of several distilled liquors made from a fermented mash of cereal grains. Whiskeys are distinctive because of differences in raw materials and production methods. All are aged in wooden containers. The earliest direct account of whiskey making is found in Scottish records from 1494. Scotch whisky (this spelling is also used by Canadians) is usually somewhat light in body, with a distinctive smoky malt flavour; it is made primarily from malted barley that has been heated over a peat fire, fermented, distilled, and blended with similar whiskies made by different distillers. Irish whiskeys, lighter-bodied and lacking any smoky flavor, are not malt-fired and may be mixed with neutral grain spirits. Canadian whisky, light in colour and flavour, is a blend of highly flavoured and neutral grain whiskies. In the U.S., the largest producer and consumer of whiskey, both straight (at least 51percnt single-mash) and blended whiskeys are produced, derived from both sour and sweet mashes. (Sour mashes are fermented with both fresh and previously fermented yeast; sweet mashes employ only fresh yeast.) Bourbon, first produced in Bourbon Co., Ky., is a full-bodied unblended whiskey derived from a sour mash of corn grain. Whiskeys are consumed both unmixed and in cocktails, punches, and other beverages.
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(1875) Group of U.S. whiskey distillers who defrauded the government of taxes. The ring operated mainly in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Chicago and kept liquor taxes after bribing Internal Revenue officials in Washington, D.C. A secret investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department resulted in 238 indictments and 110 convictions. While not involved, Pres. Ulysses S. Grant was tarnished by the scandal; his private secretary, Orville E. Babcock, was indicted but acquitted on Grant's testimony. The Republican Party allegedly received some of the illegally held tax money.
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(1794) American uprising to protest a federal liquor tax. Farmers in western Pennsylvania rebelled against paying a tax on their locally distilled whiskey and attacked federal revenue collectors. After 500 armed men burned the home of the regional tax inspector, Pres. George Washington ordered 13,000 federal troops to the area. The rebellion quickly dissolved without further violence. The event established the authority of federal law within the states and strengthened support for the Federalists' advocacy of a strong central government.
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