VIDEO: How to make bolio, a Pennsylvania holiday tradition

By Graham Harrington

December 11, 2023
@keystonenewsroom

It’s a perfect time of year for boilo, a spiced whiskey concoction the coal miners in NEPA liked to drink to keep warm back in the day. A variation of the Lithuanian drink “Krupnik” or “Krupnikas,” boilo is one of the many traditions that Europeans brought to Pennsylvania when they immigrated here to work in the coal mines. The Pennsylvania Dutch made boilo as a Christmas tradition, and people often had some on the stove for guests at their tree-trimming parties. These days, the Schuylkill County area keeps the tradition alive with boilo-making competitions at bars and firehouses, and it’s still common for jars of boilo to be given out as Christmas gifts in the coal region. The recipe can vary from family to family, but the one ingredient coalcrackers all seem to agree on is Four Queens whiskey, due its high alcohol content and low price. Is your family a boilo family around the holidays? Let us know in the comments! ✏️🎥@haley_obrien_ #pennsylvanian #boilo #holiday #xmastradition #christmastradition #pennsylvania_lovers #pennsylvanialife

♬ Working in the Coal Mine – Devo

It’s a perfect time of year for boilo, a spiced whiskey concoction the coal miners in NEPA liked to drink to keep warm back in the day.

A variation of the Lithuanian drink “Krupnik” or “Krupnikas,” boilo is one of the many traditions that Europeans brought to Pennsylvania when they immigrated here to work in the coal mines.

The Pennsylvania Dutch made boilo as a Christmas tradition, and people often had some on the stove for guests at their tree-trimming parties. These days, the Schuylkill County area keeps the tradition alive with boilo-making competitions at bars and firehouses, and it’s still common for jars of boilo to be given out as Christmas gifts in the coal region.

Author

  • Graham Harrington

    Graham Harrington is The Keystone's social media manager. As a multimedia journalist, he has written for the Denisonian, PAC News, and Today’s Patient. Graham lives in Delaware County and is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

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