Distilleries are the new microbreweries, cropping up all over the West and producing brands that emulate the predecessors that were made in copper stills by emigrants and served in saloons and dance halls. This history of the spirit and its origins and migration across the country—and its place in shaping the West—celebrates the story of the golden elixir through first-hand accounts, evocative photographs, and historic cocktail recipes. Whiskey was the golden elixir of the West and king of the distilled spirits. It was an integral part of the great western expansion and has strong ties to early explorers, pioneers, the railroads, and the cattle era. It was sold as medicine, used to barter with, and often gave courage where there was none. Whiskey’s role in shaping the West, and its rise to prominence over rum or vodka, has its roots in the early days of the United States. It’s a story of taxes, availability, and profits.