I have been fortunate enough enjoy boilo - by the glassful from what I remember! For the boilo virgins it tastes like a mulled wine on steroids - and you're supposed to sip it and it warms you all the way through. Many bars in the region hold contests to see who makes the best and then spectators can sample - homemade liquor given away in bars and clubs-what could be better! If you visit in this area this time of year seek out a contest - well worth the experiance and taste
My neighbors just got together a month ago to make another batch of Boilo. We previously made a batch 3 years ago and our wives still talk about how bad we were that night. We even used some of the original batch as a "starter" so there would be some continuity to the original. One of the neighbors even had a tee shirt that said something to the effect "Boilo - the Champagne of the Pennsylvania Coal Region". Our local store said PA Wine & Spirits is no longer going to sell Four Queens so in a couple years we will have to find some other cheap lighter fluid.
OMG, This is soo FANTASTIC! My Grandpa who was a Polak from Pottsville, PA (and proud of it) married my Lithuanian Granny and he gave me his "secret" recipe for Boilo the Christmas before he died. I am the only one in the family with it. The next Christmas, I made each family member a bottle with a personalized family label. It was only then, that I discovered I was the only one besides Grandpa who loved it. Everyine else just drank it to entertain him.
I made a few extra bottles that year as a stash for myself and just used up the last of it this past February. It is great for a head cold. For some that I have shared it with, a little glammed up serveed in espresso cups with a lemon wheel, the common reaction is "it must be an acquired taste". For me though, it is comfort and warm love. Thanks for starting this thread. And, folprivate. I found the short on line and am ordering one today.