SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. -- The maker of a certain type of whiskey has its biggest sales in the country in Schuylkill County, especially during the holidays.
Four Queens whiskey has been flying off the shelves at liquor stores for years in that part of Pennsylvania, all because it's considered to be the go-to choice for boilo.
When it's the holiday season and it's chilly outside, many people in Schuylkill County say there's nothing better than a warm serving of boilo.
"It's a sense of community and a sense of home. You're not going to have it anywhere else except when you come back to Schuylkill County at Christmastime," Stephanie Premich said.
"It's really good for parties and doing things with other people, and it just tastes great!" Jane Barrett said.
The alcoholic drink has been served hot in the coal region for more than a century. Traditionally, it's made with citrus, spices, honey, and a certain brand of whiskey that's become synonymous here in Schuylkill County.
Four Queens -- it's a whiskey brand owned by New Jersey-based Laird and Company, which has been around since Prohibition. A spokesperson with the company tells Newswatch 16, more than 30 percent of Four Queens sales come from Schuylkill County, and during the holidays, that figure bumps up to about 43 percent.
Helen Miernicki has been making boilo for decades. Her son sells Jabberwocky boilo candles.
"When I saw how much they sell, I was a little amazed because I didn't think we made that much boilo, but obviously we do," Miernicki said.
Why is Four Queens the whiskey of choice for boilo? Not only is it more affordable than traditional whiskeys, but it's also stronger and has a higher alcohol content. The Old No. 7 from Jack Daniels is 80 proof, whereas Four Queens is 101 proof.
"Everyone I know makes a version of boilo. They're all going to have their own recipe, and they're all going to tell you what their recipe is. They might keep it a secret, but everyone is definitely going to be using Four Queens as their base."
Boilo recipes may differ, but Four Queens whiskey seems to be the go-to brand.