XXX on Whiskey Jugs Means Something…

XXX on Whiskey Jugs Means Something…

Did you know that the XXX on old whiskey jugs actually means something?

We’re all familiar with these jugs from cartoons and from American mythology. It was a common marking on illegal jugs of moonshine before the Mason jar was patented in 1858. (Since then, moonshine has more commonly been put into jars.) It showed the buyer that the hooch in the jar had been distilled three times.

Any illegal, back woods “white lightning” was being distilled in simple pot stills. One run through the still and the moonshiner’s spirit was only about 30% alcohol. The “singlings”, as it was known (commonly called “low wines “), was then run through the same still twice more to raise the alcohol level and strip the distillate of much of its flavor. This is the stuff that curls the hair at close to 97% alcohol by volume. It wasn’t always brought to that level, but it came close! Triple X= triple distilled.

The three exes have become American slang. How did XXX come to symbolize pornography? Maybe the forbidden nature of the marking on jugs contributed to that slang. And three kisses? No idea. Its application to the hard core, straight edge life style might be a repurposing or reclaiming of the connection that three exes had to illegal substances, namely alcohol.