- What were cowboys drinking?
- What kind of whiskey did the cowboys drink?
- Did people drink tea in the Old West?
- How did Old West saloons keep beer cold?
- How did they keep beer cold in saloons?
- How did cowboys drink their coffee?
The simple ingredients included raw alcohol, sugar burnt, and a little pouch chewing tobacco. Whiskey with terrible names like “Coffin Varnish,” “Tarantula Juice,” “Red Eye,” and others was common among the early saloons. Later the word “Firewater” would be used to describe Whiskey.
Rye Whiskey. Most cowboy towns were far from places alcohol was made. Beer is heavy and bulky, whiskey is the most profit per unit weight. Rye was the cheapest grain and made the cheapest whiskey.
In addition, Americans saw tea as unpatriotic and avoided drinking it. In the early 19th century, settlers began further exploring the American frontier and headed West in hopes of purchasing land or finding gold. Many of those settlers were what we call now, cowboys.
Down in Arizona, you’d see signs in front of saloons saying “Cool Beer,” not “Cold Beer.” Wet gunny sacks and sawdust would keep the beer fairly cool. Outside of Flagstaff were some ice caves, and saloonkeepers would harvest ice from the caves during the summer.
Beer. Beer was often served at room temperature since refrigeration was mostly unavailable. Adolphus Busch introduced refrigeration and pasteurization of beer in 1880 with his Budweiser brand. Some saloons kept the beer in kegs stored on racks inside the saloon.
Cowboys were undoubtedly the most devoted group of coffee drinkers in the West. As a rule, they liked it strong, scalding hot, and barefooted (black). They derided weak coffee as dehorned bellywash or brown gargle. A pot of coffee steaming over an open fire or on a bed of hot coals was a fixture on cattle drives.