By Bob Lipinski
Over the years there have been many myths and misconceptions about alcoholic beverages that have been carried from one generation to the next. Some are based on fiction, or false or mistaken beliefs that have never been debunked.
Some popular myths are:
Myth: Prohibition (1920-1933) “prohibited” drinking alcoholic beverages.
Fact: Prohibition forbid the manufacture, sale, transportation, importation, and exportation of alcoholic beverages. It did not prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages.
Myth: “London Dry Gin” is a dry gin made in London, England.
Fact: It is a generic name for gin lacking sweetness first made in the early 1830s. London dry gins, originally produced only in or near London, are now produced all over the world with the term having little meaning.
Myth: Tequila is made from cactus.
Fact: Tequila is made from agave, a plant having stiff, often-spiny leaves, and prickly, needle-like thorns, resembling cactus.
Myth: Tequila has a worm in the bottle.
Fact: The worm is not found in bottles of tequila, only in some bottles of mezcal; a marketing gimmick dating to the 1940s.
Myth: All the whiskey in a bottle of 12-year-old Scotch whisky is 12 years old.
Fact: The age stated on the label of a bottle of Scotch whisky identifies the age of the youngest Scotch in the blend.
Myth: The longer a whiskey ages in a bottle, the better or smoother it becomes.
Fact: Aging only takes place in wooden barrels; when removed, the product ceases to age or improve. A bottle of 15-year-old Scotch whisky purchased 10 years ago, is still 15 years old.
Myth: The quality of whiskey can be determined by its color. The darker the color, the richer tasting the spirit.
Fact: Some whiskies are light amber or brown colored, while others have a rich mahogany color because of aging or by adding caramel coloring.
Myth: Sour mash is a type of whiskey from Tennessee.
Fact: It is a distillers’ term for a fermentation process used to make Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey and not a type of whiskey. Whiskies made by this process are not sour.
Myth: Bourbon whiskey can only be made in Kentucky.
Fact: Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States and its territories.
Myth: Martinis should be stirred, not shaken, which will bruise the vodka.
Fact: Vodka is a very stable distilled spirit and shaking it will not “bruise” it.
Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]