The Northern Lights are a spectacular sight for many, still
What to add with whiskey? Mountain Dew of course! What is Mountain Dew’s connection to whiskey, anyway? It was the slang term for moonshine and has a deep-rooted history in the Tennessee Appalachians. The world was first acquainted with soda water by Joseph Priestley in 1767 when he published his paper, Impregnating Water with Fixed Air. Go ahead – laugh a little, you know you want to. After a string of follow-up inventions, flavored soda became popular in the late 1800s, starting with citric varieties like lemon and orange.
1. Since large-scale soda distributors weren’t common back in the 1930s, the Hartman brothers decided to invent their own whiskey mixer: Mountain Dew, a “lithiated-lemon” drink as a mixer for hard liquor.
2. Mountain Dew wasn’t just invented for whiskey, it was named after it too. The Hartmans dubbed their drink “Mountain Dew” – as the moonshine made in the Tennessee Mountains was originally a slang term for moonshine.
3. Since Mountain Dew was meant to be mixed with whiskey, its bottles were created to look like moonshine, and the original Mountain Dew labels displayed outhouses, stills, and hay-chewing hillbillies.
4. Incidentally, a dental condition specific to the Appalachian Mountains and super rural areas of the southeast is known as “Mountain Dew Mouth”. Combine the high sugars and acid of the drink with drinkers inclination to sip from a bottle throughout the day creates a perfect storm for plaque and bacteria to do a number on those pearly whites.
5. There have been many urban legends associated with Mountain Dew, but most common and horrifying was the story that it would either shrink teenage boy’s testicles or that it would lower his sperm count. Turns out, yellow #5, is the culprit and is generally used as food and beverage coloring. But, fear not! Even though it does have some toxic effects in high doses, the amount of Dew needed to be consumed in order to reach this deadly dose would first cause one’s teeth to fall out (See: Mountain Dew Mouth), serving as a pretty good warning that you’ve reached your limit.
6. But, with many myths come a few truths like Brominated Vegetable Oil in high doses can build up in the body and cause toxic effects. 4 to 8 liters of a beverage containing it can result in depression, memory loss, hallucinations, violent tendencies, seizures, cerebral atrophy, acute irritability, tremors, ataxia, confusion, loss of peripheral vision and slurred speech.
7. Helping to cement Mountain Dew’s redneck status was Willy “Gran’Pappy”, the Hillbilly figure used from the 1950’s to the early 70’s that’s now making a comeback with DEWShine, is a label featuring him shooting at a man running out of an outhouse.
Dedicated to: J.E.B.