Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blog for responsible folks 21 and up. (Re: Scotch!)

Category: Food and Restaurants
I love whisky. I don't love drunk. I hate drunk, actually. I just honestly love the taste, smell, and follow-through of a good whisky. (Or even the occasional whiskey, if you prefer.)

It started with my mom, she'll be sad to know. She drank Maker's and Diets. The smell of bourbon reminded me of home. She doesn't drink a lot of them, mind you. Actually, these days she seems to drink white wine instead.

I was not one of those teenagers who snuck alcohol on the weekends. I didn't even drink in college. I think one time some friends and I bought a bottle of Heaven Hill and drank two shots, wondering what all the fuss was about.

I do remember that my 21st birthday was the summer after I graduated from NYU. It was a Sunday, and the liquor stores were closed in Manhattan. This annoyed me because I am someone who enjoys exercising my personal freedoms. I needed to legally purchase some alcohol, and said alcohol needed to be Kentucky bourbon because I was spending my first birthday away from home.

I took the PATH train to New Jersey for the sole purpose of buying a bottle of bourbon, just because I could. I also remember the guy didn't card me, and I made a big stink about how it was my birthday and he really needed to card me. I also remember I bought Jim Beam because it was all I could afford. I took it back to the roof of the building I was living in that summer, and I drank two Beam and Cokes before I realized I didn't really like Jim Beam.

That became a life-long quest to find whisky I enjoyed. And it's all because I was homesick that summer, living in New York, unable to afford my new passion: Kentucky Bourbon. Sipping bourbon. Bourbon that tasted like home sweet home.

Since then, I've become quite the bourbon lover, as anyone who knows me can attest to. I've visited every major distillery in Kentucky multiple times, and I have my own strong preferences as to how I like to drink a particular bourbon.

You may know my song, "Whisky in the Faucet." Noticed the lack of "e" in the word "whisky." That is because I was referencing Maker's Mark, a bourbon that was created by Scottish descendants. And Scotch whisky has no "e." Look at a bottle of Scotch or Maker's if you don't believe me. (And please stop emailing me to tell me I spelled "whiskey" wrong in my album -- don't you know me enough by now to know that I am completely OCD when it comes to spelling and punctuation?)

Two years ago, I made a New Year's Resolution to really get into Scotch. It didn't go so well. I tried both kinds of Scotch -- Johnnie Walker Red and Johnnie Walker Black -- but just didn't really dig them. Even with soda water, the drinks were bland.

In the UK, I had trouble finding bourbon. Every place had Jack Daniels (not bourbon, as we all know), and about half of the places had Jim Beam. When asked about bourbons, the bartenders were less-than-excited.

It occurred to me then. that it must be similar to our interest in Scotch. If all they have is Jim Beam White, then how can they get really stoked about bourbon? And, likewise, if all we have is Johnnie Walker and Glenfidditch, then how can we get interested in single malts?

The fine folks at were the first to really give me a Scotch primer.

It was great. I do this lovely press interview with one of their writers, who introduces me to his editor, and suddenly we're all trying various degrees of Scotch. The editor of the magazine was impressed, to say the least, with my whisky-tasting abilities. "That's a man's whisky! No woman I know can drink that," he said, as I downed my second Lagavulin.

Lagavulin and Laphroaig were by far my favorites. Apparently, I enjoy the smoky-peaty whiskies, generally from the Islay region -- "not beginner's whiskies, by any means," according to my cohorts. I got some sort of smug satisfaction, knowing that girls can drink boys' whisky and like it.

It took me a few years to accomplish that New Year's Resolution, but I really think I understand Scotch now. It's too bad I still can't get any of the good stuff at any of the bars I frequent. Yes, I'm a whisky-snob.

Read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment