To many local families, boilo is as traditional during the holidays as eggnog, a combination of cider and whiskey that dates back to the coal mining days.
And the bragging rights to the best batch took place today in Schuylkill County. Eyewitness n\Pews reporter Rachael Espaillat was there as the winner was crowned.
Boilo. They say its the champagne of schuylkill county with homemade recipes deeply rooted in some families.
“My great aunt used to make it in her basement. Actually made her own alcohol to go into the boilo mix,” Stephanie Strouse, a crowd tester said.
While contest winner, Tammy Allvord is a first generation boilo maker.
“I had a friend introduce me to boilo maybe 20 years ago. And he actually got me hooked on it. He gave me his recipe and then i started making my own,” Allvord said.
People who know the history of boilo say you can tell the difference between the traditional and the newer concoctions.
“The people that make boilo, they are very secretive on their recipes. Everyone has a little way of doing and some of these recipes are passed down from generation to generation so which makes it even much cooler. The history behind it is what’s really neat about it,” John Seasock, two time monster racing champion and celebrity judge said.
“The younger generation, is a little bit more fun. We kind of change up the recipes a little bit. We aren’t afraid to try something different,” Malcolm, Johnston, contest organizer said.
Adapting recipes to have more modern twists on the original flavors.
“Iwent off my original recipe and i just started changing things up. And five of my seven boilos, I drink cold,” Allvord said.
But at this competition both crowds put their best shots forward to battle it out.
With about a dozen entries, people were trying everything from traditional flavors to peach.
The judges weren’t the only ones to get a taste. Free samples were given to everyone to vote for a fan favorite.
“I’m kind of an old heart. I like the old traditional taste but I’m also looking for something different. Sounds like there are some good flavors that they have in the line up,” Strouse said.
And the winner of that was the apple pie flavor by Bevin Mauer.