You can't always believe what you read online, but rest assured, I try to spread only facts.

My wife and I discussed interesting theories we've encountered, including the theory behind taking a shot of whiskey. A story floating around social media has been fact-checked and debunked, but the story actually sounds like something that could be true...

Here's the theory or the legend of why we take a SHOT of whiskey.

In the Old West, a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost $.12, and so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash, he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink, which became known as a shot of whiskey.


Really Odd Theory Why We Take Whiskey Shots In Wyoming
loading... is usually reliable for determining whether something you read online is true.

The site researched 'shot of whiskey' and found interesting facts proving that theory wrong.

 The 1891 edition of Chicago hardware dealer Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co.'s General Catalog lists Smith & Wesson .45 cartridges at a price of $25 per thousand, or 2-1/2 cents per cartridge.


For the price of a shot of whiskey, we consulted Kelly J. Dixon's 2005 book Boomtown Saloons: Archaeology and History in Virginia City, which notes that the average cost of a measure of any drink was around two bits, or 25 cents


Using those figures as our base prices, one shot of whiskey would have cost the equivalent of 10 cartridges. Even allowing for price variations according to time and place, it appears highly doubtful a one-to-one correspondence between the price of a cartridge and the cost of a drink ever existed in the Old West.


The earliest known usage of "shot" in the sense of "a measure of liquor" appeared in the autobiography of the Rev. Oliver Heywood (1630-1702), in which we find the phrase "their vain way of drinking shots."


Unfortunately for the trading-cartridges-for-shots theory, the usage predates the time period of the Old West (which, by convention, was roughly 1850 to 1900) by some 150 years.


Interestingly enough, the term "shot" was also at one time synonymous with "a charge to be paid" (and, in a more specific usage, "a bill or one's share of it, especially in a pub or bar"), according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Again, however, those meanings predate the Old West era, in this case going all the way back to 15th-century England, hundreds of years before saloons and cowpokes dotted the western frontier of the United States.

After ensuring I was passing on proper information, my wife sent me this...made me chuckle. Good ol honest Abe.

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