I haven’t met many varieties of alcohol I didn’t like, but whiskey is my favourite. It will get you plastered, certainly, if that’s what you’re looking for, but drinking it solely to get drunk is really quite a waste; it is best when savoured slowly, and well worth the time and patience to learn the distinct qualities of the different brands and types, be it American, Canadian, Scottish, Irish, or Japanese, single malt or blended, rye, Kentucky bourbon, etc. (If you want to know what decent whiskey tastes like, avoid the aberration that is Fireball at all costs.)
It still has a reputation for being a man’s drink, which is a pity; happily, this seems to be changing. (There is an organization dedicated to introducing more women to whiskey in its many forms, and cocktails made therefrom, called Women Who Whiskey. If you’re interested and over 21, do join up.) If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you’ll know what an old fashioned is, but there are many, many more whiskey cocktails to enjoy. It also makes a good digestif and is awesome in Irish coffee, although I strongly recommend not trying this if you have anything you need to focus on in the following hour or two, and workplaces generally frown on the practice. With good reason. I personally believe that it’s demented to spend more than two or three hundred dollars on anything meant to be eaten or drunk, unless doing so for charity, but when it comes to whiskey I do at least understand the pricing given the aging process, the rarity of older whiskeys, and the fabulous decanters used for some of them. Happily a good quality bottle of scotch can be had for $40 or so.
So if you haven’t tried a good whiskey before (and you’re old enough to do so and not driving afterwards–seriously, I can get tipsy on a couple of mouthfuls on an empty stomach, and I drink often enough to have a moderate tolerance), make this your week to ask a trusted bartender or knowledgeable friend to recommend you one. My current personal favourites that are commonly available are Glenmorangie, Highland Park, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, and Redbreast; everyone has their own. On Tuesday evening we might all need one.
2 thoughts on “Friday Fave: Whiskey”
Ah, my favorite too! I have different picks for different applications. For instance, I am a firm believer in a rye-only Manhattan, though a certain 100-proof bourbon recently made my list. For Rusty Nails (my winter dessert drink of choice), I prefer an edgeless blended Scotch like Dewar’s, but if I’m sipping neat I will 80% of the time go for an Islay malt. Lagavulin is gorgeous, of course, but there are lots of nice cheaper options–recently I’ve been drinking Bowmore’s Small Cask (bourbon barrel aged) single malt, which is priced well under their other offerings at around $35 but really fun. The other 20% of the time I waffle between Highland malts with strong character, like Macallan, and either bourbon or Irish whisky for nights when I’m more interested in cozying up to my drink rather than courting it.
Have you ever seen any Cadenhead’s products on this side of the pond? I can get their Old Raj gin here in Atl, but I’ve never seen any of their whiskies.