Five Letters Re: Storing Whiskey For Barter

Howdy Captain,
Reading the other remarks about storing whiskey for barter made me chuckle, I’ve got a different take on this subject.

We’re a dry household, always have been, just no need for that stuff. Life is pretty amazing when you’re sober, why miss a minute of it under the influence of anything.

But, I’ve kept two bottles of Jack Daniels stored very prominently in our pantry for many years, and they’re located in a place that makes them impossible to overlook.

We live in out in the sticks, and the idea is that if anyone breaks into the house while we are out, I want them to find the whiskey right away, and drink up. When I come home later that just might give me the edge I need!

Even when our kids were little they never touched that decoy whiskey, they knew what it was for!

Shoot straight, – Pistol Pedro in Colorado

If we are at a point in our lives where we are bartering, then supplies will have bottomed out. Alcohol withdrawal is not pretty and will lead it’s sufferer to really unwanted behaviors.
Being the neighborhood alcohol guy will be the same as a drug dealer on the corner today. While I see nothing wrong with trading with  uncle buck who has run out of his Saturday nightcap. Dealing with the public in general will lead to disaster.
Hope this finds you well. – G.B.


Captain. Rawles,
I gave up drinking decades ago but decided to keep a few cases of hootch in the preps for a number of reasons. I have a couple of cases of decent bourbon and scotch just in case it might help grease the wheels with someone I’m not on handshake terms with. I keep a case of Everclear which I can cut with water down to vodka strength, can use as a disinfectant and/or painkiller, burn for light, and which we started buying because my wife uses it in soap making.

I wouldn’t offer a drunk a drink, but if others already have all the food, shelter, and security they think they need, my bottle might just be the thing they still want that will get me what I need. – Kevin in the Redoubt

Dear JWR;
I think it unnecessary to dip bottles of whiskey in paraffin or to worry about  the shelf life of unopened bottles.  My uncle, a career Air Force officer who was stationed at a USAF radar base in Canada in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when we maintained radar bases in the far north to give early warning of Soviet missile attack, brought back a large quantity of Canadian whiskey.  He gives me a bottle every Christmas.  The brand he has been giving me the last few years has a cork stopper rather than a screw top.  The tax stamp is dated 1952.  Even with the rather loose cork stopper there is no visible loss to evaporation and the whiskey is excellent after 61 years.  I think that with modern, hermetic screw tops, whiskey will last for hundreds of years with no deterioration.
Cordially, – Doug in Wisconsin


Okay, I read the letters on the whiskey for barter subject, and the one about vodka. Forget that. Buy grain alcohol. [JWR Adds: It is sold under the brand name Everclear, in two different proof grades– 151 Proof and 190 Proof. The latter (95% alcohol by volume) is more difficult to find and may have to be special-ordered.] It will do anything vodka will do. It is 190 proof so it will work as booze, as a sterilizer in your first aid kit, a pain killer, and will start fires or burn by itself too. I buy stainless steel half-liter water bottles at the thrift store for about $2 each and use them to store the stuff – they won’t break if they fall and won’t leak unless somebody shoots a hole in them. Best part is it is price competitive to even cheap vodka or whisky, but more potent and more ‘flexible’. – Rev. Dave   

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