Whiskey by Kevin R. Kosar

Whiskey by Kevin R. Kosar

Author:Kevin R. Kosar
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Reaktion Books

Too Much of a Good Thing

The growth of the Irish whiskey industry was not without its costs, of which the most obvious are alcoholism and the health and social ills that go with it. Prior to the twentieth century, reliable data on the rates of alcoholism in Ireland are nonexistent. However, many of the writings of the day portray the ugly effects of too much whiskey. Unsettlingly, the themes of whiskey abuse and senseless violence are often intertwined in these depictions.

The great wit Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) described an Irish feast where pails of ‘usquebaugh’ were served. By the night’s end, things turn ugly for no obvious reason.

What stabs and what cuts,

What clattering of sticks,

What strokes on the guts,

What bastings and kicks!

With cudgels of oak,

Well hardened in flame,

An hundred heads broke,

An hundred struck lame.


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