Coal Country Holiday Obsession

Boilo — making it AND drinking it — is a local obsession here in the Coal Region around the holidays. This spirited beverage is the thing of legend in Schuylkill County and everyone has their preferred recipe and method of producing it. But one thing that remains constant is the almost exclusive use of blended whiskey, most notably the brand Four Queens. Schuylkill County buys so much Four Queens – more than $65,000 worth between late 2016 and 2017, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board – that they alone are responsible for the product’s continued existence.

How Boilo Became a Coal Country Obsession

Stovetop Method Boilo

1 bottle whiskey (any relatively cheap, blended whiskey will do but Four Queens is traditional)
Several oranges. Quantity depends on how much you wish to make. Use at least 4.
Same number of lemons
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups of honey
2 cinnamon sticks
Boilo is traditionally made during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. It’s great on those cold winter nights. Beware, this can knock you for a loop! Cheers!Peel the oranges and lemons and cut into quarters. Squeeze the fruit into a pot, then throw in the remaining fruit pulp. Add some water (some people use ginger ale). Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the whiskey. Cook everything at a slow simmer, stirring constantly. This will take about 15-20 minutes. If necessary, add orange juice and a bit more water. The color should be a yellow-orange. Don’t overcook; the name is misleading. You don’t want to boil this. Then slowly stir in the whiskey. Be careful – this can catch fire if splashed on the stove. Keep adding whiskey to taste. It’s not uncommon to use the whole bottle. Simmer for just a few more minutes once the whiskey is added.Strain and serve hot in shot glasses (a regular glass may crack). Drink in sips. Individual servings can warmed later in a microwave.