Grandma Pepper’s Boilo Recipe

orangesBoilo is a hot toddy-esque concoction popular in Pennsylvania’s North Eastern Coal Region.

You can order a mix at Boilo.Net or make your own from scratch. My grandmother lived on the opposite side of the state, near Pittsburgh, but apparently it was popular among PPG employees and steelworkers too.

I mentioned it on Twitter this afternoon and Chris from Papergreat (a fantastic ephemera blog) asked about a non-alcholic version. As it happens, I have a copy of Grandma Pepper’s recipes for both regular Boilo and her “virgin” version.

I’m sure that there are dozens of variations floating around on the ‘Net. Cruise around and see what works for you or try one of these.

edit: Though she doesn’t mention it in her recipe … Crock-Pot setting is “high”. If you do the stove-top version; just keep it at a simmer. Though it’s called Boilo … don’t “boil” it 🙂

No Alcohol “Mock” Boilo

Looking over her recipe … it is essentially the same as her regular Boilo recipe below — with the following exceptions:

4 oranges

3 lemons

1 gallon hot brewed lemon tea

Preparation is the same except tea is added at the end instead of whiskey.

Boilo (Slow Cooker or stove top)
This recipe makes a big batch – 12 to 16 servings. I cut the ingredients in half when I made it a few years ago and it worked pretty well. Be careful when adjusting the amount of cloves up or down because it can make or break your Boilo.

1 cup water

3 large oranges

2 lemons

1 cup raisins

8 or 12 ozs honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 – 2 teaspoons aniseed

1 – 2 teaspoons cloves

1 teaspoon carraway seed (note: I didn’t add carraway seed when I made it and I didn’t notice any difference in taste compared to Grandma’s)

1/2 gallon whiskey or moonshine (more or less to taste)

Peel and slice the oranges and lemons. Squeeze the juice straight into the crock-pot or into a large stew pot on your range. (I love that Grandma still called it a “range”). Add the pulp to the pot.

Add raisins, spices, and honey to the fruit. Stir well. Cook on range (covered) or in crock-pot for 2 – 3 hours. Stir every 20  minutes.

Use a strainer to remove any remaining pulp.  Pour into very large glass container or punchbowl. Add whiskey or moonshine slowly. Stir and serve hot.


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