The common myth is that there used to be ceramic beer steins with a whistle embedded into the handle. When the patron at the bar would run dry, they would give a toot on the whistle, and whoever was tending bar would hop on over and give them a refill. Sounds like good service, but who in the hell could spend more than twenty minutes in a bar like that? Whistles going off, drunks blowing louder and louder as they got further into their cups. No thanks!
Sorry to all you whistle-cup believers, but as far as I can tell, that never happened. What odds and ends I could find point to a different scenario.
As one story goes, people used to refer to someone’s mouth as their whistle. When someone was thirsty, they would wet their whistle. Sounds nice. It has some alliteration. Still though, I’m not necessarily convinced here either.
There’s another tale, that sounds more plausible. It’s not much of a tale either. Have you ever tried to whistle with a dry mouth? It doesn’t work very well. Most people who whistle have to wet their lips before they really get into it. And, if someone back in the day happened to have a dry mouth, a likely drink to wet their mouth with would be an alcoholic beverage. You see, this was way before pasteurization. It was before people even knew what bacteria was! And, the process by which alcohol is made seemed to create a drink that didn’t give folks tummy aches and diarrhea that could come from drinking the well water!
Wet your whistle wisely!
As always, thanks for reading!