forty-rod_whiskeyWhat is forty-rod whiskey?

Bob Fuller
Vermillion, South Dakota

Forty-rod whiskey is a facetious allusion to whiskey so strong it supposedly has the power of killing at that distance! It was also known as Taos Lightning or by other local colloquialisms.

Various recipes share how Westerners made the stuff; one popular concoction included grain alcohol, a twist of tobacco, red chilies, a bar of soap, a rattlesnake’s head and a little Pecos River water. They’d mix it up in a barrel, and when they thought it was ready, they’d drop a horseshoe in it. If the iron fitting sank, they’d stir in some more alcohol until the horseshoe rose to the top.

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