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Bottling up some Boilo

It's a favorite holiday tradition in the coal regions of Pennsylvania. Making and or buying Boilo. The brew has a rich history with an even more interesting taste.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — It's a holiday staple in the coal regions of the Keystone State. 

A tradition that goes back a few hundred years – Boilo.

It's an Americanized version of an Eastern European drink called Krumpnik that was popular during the holidays.

But when the Eastern Europeans settled in the coal regions, they didn't have the resources to distill, so they came up with this brew.

People continue to make it and give it as gifts.

Not only was it a stiff drink to warm the body, but it was used as something that was medicinal, which carried them throughout the holidays and the colder months.

Amy Dougherty is the owner and founder of Coal Country Boilo. She began making it for fundraisers, but quickly it became a full-time job. 

"It was definitely not something I expected to be a business-this was a little fundraiser we did for the holidays. So it was very much a blessing," said Dougherty.

Amy sells several types of Boilo throughout shops across the state, but she says even though people say it's a traditional drink, the brew is always changing.

"There are different ideas of what Boilo is. So, it will vary from town-to-town, family-to-family, um, parish-to-parish. You know what I mean," said Dougherty.

She says if you speak to ten different families, you're going to end up with ten different recipes, and every one of them is the original.

"Because some people will do a ginger Boilo, some people apple Boilo is very popular these days. Some people do a simple citrus Boilo, some people do this crazy Boilo high octane like light you on fire kind of Boilo," said Dougherty.

There are so many different ideas of what Boilo is, and none of them are wrong.

So, Newswatch 16 decided to give it a shot.

"We're making Boilo! Ayoo!"

I went through the many different recipes out there and mixed and matched them, adding ingredients, boiling fruit, and even ginger ale.

I was creating the original recipe for my family, I guess you can say.

After straining the liquid and letting it cool, it was time to add the most important ingredient and one that almost everybody agrees on: Four Roses Bourbon.

This stuff will add some hair to even Schaffer's chest.

So, finally, with the help of my brother-in-law Evan Kraky, it was time to give it a taste.

"Doesn't smell bad. It smells strong. Alright ready? Cheers."

"Not bad, yeah, it's not bad. I was expecting it to burn my throat. It's kind of like hot apple cider."

"I like Boilo."

For more information on some recipes to give it a go yourself or if you want to just buy it, click here for Coal Country Boilo.

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