For more than 200 years, American bourbon has spread from its birthplace in the mountains of Kentucky throughout the country and beyond. Though the details of this liquor’s origin story are often conflicting, original bourbon distillers were likely Scottish and Irish settlers who craved their familiar, Old World whiskey and adapted their ancient recipes to New World ingredients such as corn. People have (and still do) make their living by creating this fine beverage, but can bourbon actually be used for more than just having a drink with your buddies? Can it be a lifesaving survival supply? The answer is yes. Here’s how.
1. Light A Fire
Most bourbon brands are around 80 proof (40 percent alcohol by volume), and while this mixture contains more water than ethanol, it’s still flammable. The only trick when using liquor to kindle a fire is to be ready for the water. Liquor will light quickly but, as soon as the alcohol is gone, all that’s left is water. This means that if you dump this booze onto a pile of damp sticks, the alcohol will burn off quickly—leaving the sticks wetter than they were before. Plan ahead by lighting a rag or a bundle of tinder that has been doused with bourbon, and placing it under the sticks until they catch (rather than wetting the sticks themselves).