Strange and Exotic Drinks from Times Forgotten
Playing off of the traditional colloquialism amongst distillers that the amount of alcohol that evaporates during barrel aging of whiskey is referred to as “The Angels’ Share”, Jim Beam has introduced a bourbon that they claim is “the Devil’s Cut” - bourbon that had been absorbed by the wood of the barrel.
While this may be what expert historians of distilled spirits refer to as “absolute horse shit” and an excuse to put a higher markup on shitty booze that’s been soaked in that “smoky mesquite” flavoring stuff some people like to put on barbecue, it also alludes a much wider and richer history of rare and exotic drinks that the boldest connoisseur would be elated to get their hands on.
The Tramp’s Defeat - In the midst of the great depression, many a hobo would sneak into nearby whiskey distilleries to try to sneak out some of the precious fluids, usually by either cupping their hands and trying to run off with as much as they could, or soaking their bindle cloth in the concoction, to ring it out later. If caught trying to leave the factory with a cupped handful of whiskey, they would be made to return it, to a special vat where all stolen whiskey was collected. The accumulated dust and grit on the hobo’s weathered skin, and other strange secretions from his body would turn the alcohol, no matter what it was before, into a fine and exquisite rye.
The bindle form is much rarer, and in addition to the benefits of the skin variety of Tramp’s Defeat, this form has the distinct taste of secrets, soaked in whatever hidden surprises lay inside the hobo’s bindle.
The Tramp’s Victory - A more industrious hobo, rather than attempting to pour the booze into his bindle cloth to wring it out later, might just ingest the aging alcohol straight out of the barrel. If the hobo was caught on his way staggering out of the factory, the alcohol could be recovered by cutting a hole in the hobo’s belly, and draining the alcohol back from there. While many enthusiasts of finer spirits claim that the beverage is exquisite, with a smooth drinkability and a slightly tart finish, the sale of Hobo’s Triumph is explicitly prohibited, after it was discovered that some factories were setting up hobo farms, where the hobos were kept in small cages, with a tube running out from their bellies.
The tramps didn’t seem to mind though.
The Hemingway stash - Spirits stolen from the private stash of Ernest Hemingway, while he was blotto. Like the satisfaction of successfully wrestling a salmon from a bear, The Hemingway Stash fills the drinker with the profound sense of triumph that can only be attained with the knowledge that you narrowly avoided having a drunk, angry Ernest Hemingway blow their fucking face off. What greater way is there to test a man’s courage?
Daddy’s Special Secret - That first secret sip, stolen from a locked cupboard at night, that intoxicates as much by it’s own strength as by the excitement of a triumphant taste of the forbidden. Only drank once, and followed by a lifetime of trying to recreate that first exciting moment, and eventually, a dependency.
Troll beer - Troll beer very good. Troll beer made from trees. Make you strong like big troll king. You no drink troll beer. Troll beer is for troll king only. No. What you doing? Stop tickling troll’s bellybutton. Now troll drop beer. Look what made troll do. Now troll beer is everywhere. Now troll smash you. NOW TROLL SMASH YOU.
The Bukowski - Any amount of alcohol consumed by a 20 something with a degree in Liberal Arts, and a penchant for telling people publicly that they are planning on becoming a writer. Purchased with money from trust funds and given most of its strength by the belief that, by drinking heavily and talking about writing, this will constitute the sort of hard edged life worth writing about, if only one could actually be bothered to sit down and commit any of it to paper.
Wood Nymph’s Delight - In some factories in rural villages, when the moon is high, precious and delicate wood nymphs may be spotted from afar, sneaking into factories to drink deeply from barrels of brandy. If followed undetected, the nymphs can be seen dancing in great revelry, and enjoying the bounty of the factory. The Wood Nymph’s Delight can be extracted by taking the frail and gentle creatures, captured and still alive, and pressing their heads firmly between two stones, crushing them into a fine liquid, if you can bare to do it while listening to their muted pleas.
What Rightfully Belongs to Azazel - In a small town, somewhere in a small country in Europe, there lived a talented but poor man, who had dedicated his life to crafting the finest wine anyone had ever tasted. He had but one child, a daughter who, after the death of the man’s wife, the man loved more than anything else in the world. One day she became incredibly and inexplicably ill. The man was stricken, desperate, and unable to pay for any sort of medical treatment, cried out to the heavens that he would be willing to sacrifice anything for her wellbeing.
But she passed away. In his grief, he placed his daughter’s body inside of one of his wooden casks, the whole time begging that she be restored, as he watched her lifeless body fade into the dark crimson liquid. A single tear fell from his cheek, as he heard a voice, a whisper from the shadows ask “anything?”
Moments later, his daughter suddenly emerged from the barrel, fully alive and gasping for air.
To this day, the descendants of the the woman offer up the best of their yearly produce to the spirit who saved their great grandmother. If drank, it is said to have a rapturous and otherworldly flavor, which slowly dissolves into an intense and unbearable, unending burning inside of one’s head, from which most either die or become completely mad. It is said that the last thing that those who dare to imbibe hear, is an angry, shrill, spiteful voice, screaming promises at them to raze the homes of their families and all that they hold dear.
Kangaroo Beer - Holy Fuck. Those roos went and stole all of our fosters and now they’ve gone nuts! They just kicked Richie’s head clean off.
The Actual Devil’s Cut - It is a well established fact that most manufacturers of gin are avowed Satanists. There is no other reason that such a beverage would exist. At most modern distilleries, a portion of the final yield is offered up to the dark lord as a way of giving thanks for his care and protection. If you should happen to find yourself walking down a long and lonely road late one night, and should see a strange traveler, with many small flasks and jars slung over his shoulder, tied together with a long rope, smoking a long ivory pipe, and with a straw hat hung low over his eyes, then you may have indeed come across the devil.
The easiest way to verify his identity is to sneak a look under the brim of his hat, and look at his eyes. If they are normal human eyes, then you have most likely found a night bug collector and you should let him on his way.
If however, his hat hides deep and empty eye sockets that seemingly open up into a dark and hollow endlessness, containing a cosmos of infinite sorrow, then you’ve most likely spotted the fallen angel and lord of hell himself.
It is possible to barter with him, for an exchange of something of value to you, and should be noted that he’s especially partial to vintage coins, cat embroidery, and silver age comic books. Or you could try your hand at a wager. He is very keen on snail racing.
But why would you want to do that? Gin is terrible. If you disagree, you are most likely a satanist.
Uncle Ron’s Homemade Moonshine - Please don’t encourage him, honey. I know he thinks he’s having fun, and he’s very proud of what he’s making, but it really is terrible, and really, really dangerous. Please don’t drink that, you could go blind. DO YOU HEAR THAT RON, YOU’RE PUTTING YOUR NEPHEW IN DANGER OVER YOUR DUMB HOBBY.
Shut up, Martha. Just let the kid have some.