Friday, August 06, 2010

a story about whiskey (whisky) fueled by gin...

o my beloved non-existent readers (which is what?!? three of you?), if you have gotten to know me at all at this sharp bit of broken bottle in the sandy beach of the world wide web, you know that when i accept something as part of my life, i also like to know at least a passing intelligent bit about it. the different aspects, where they originated from, why i like the aspect i do.

it was no different when i began drinking whiskey.

i wanted to know (at least palatially (chances are good there isn't actually a word for what i am trying to say here: palatially (which i think means "palace-like" which is totally not what i am going for!) or "palatically" (which again is dredged from my own simmering brainpan) or, probably easiest: "in relation to the palate") speaking) the differences between irish whiskey and southern american whiskies and whisky (don't be fooled my beloved droogs and only friends, the long-suffering malchiks and ptitsas!--there is a subtle difference between a whiskey and a whisky--maybe m'lady macleod can back me up on this one!) so that i might venture forth with an idea of basic differences.

before i get into the story, let's reflect a moment on why i choose the bukowski/hemingway path to literary greatness in name only: most notably, because i write like shit when i am drinking. and if only you could see the typos i am fixing right now...

when i wanted to branch forth from a simple jack daniels and/or whatever whiskey was cheap and came in a plastic squeeze bottle to something a little more nuanced, i wanted to at least have a basic understanding of said nuances. the easiest way to begin to discover this on my own was to do some simple google-fueled research (and no, google doesn't pay me shit for mentioning them here or anywhere else for that matter; but they should!) and follow that up by picking up a representative "airline" (we used to call these the ninety-nine bottles, because at some point in my formative years, these little bottles cost ninety-nine cents--oh, you've come a long way baby--or some other bullshit. but continuing our story) bottle of whatever tester whiskey i was going to probe that day along with my "tried and true" whiskey bottle.

i was wanting to move from whiskey sours to perhaps a comfortable whiskey soda or even better, a sipping whiskey. so my game plan was buy something to consume with sour mix for the week along with a small shot of something to test. i would bring it all home, and crack the tiny bottle of whiskey.

i would sip it straight with nothing on my stomach and having had nothing before. i figured, if i didn't gag outright from the test, then i could completely drink it on the rocks with club soda, and if i did gag, i could toss it in a glass and bury it under sour mix and finish it off.

the tests went like this: initially, i tried bourbons. little did i know, with the exception of jack daniels (which is a tennessee whiskey and aged for smoothness through charcoal and therefore just that minute bit different than bourbons--but don't worry, i only discovered this tonight!) i had been consuming this sort of whiskey in copious amounts already.

i picked jim beam, partly due to flavor and partly due to it's relatively lesser cost. but again, i had already been pickling my liver with this particular poison for some time.

and of course, jack daniels went without saying.

then i picked up a shot of jamesons and a shot of canadian club to knock those two whiskies out of the park.

and naturally, jamesons was the very manna from heaven. or whatever. nectar of the gods? you get the picture.

canadian club was also smooth and sippable without ice or mixer. (but a funny aside, o my droogs and only friends, little did i know i had been consuming a canadian whiskey for some time in the form of crown royale. yeah. no kidding.)

then i tackled the big ones. i bought a tiny johnny walker red label and a glenfidditch (which i already wanted to like due to the triangular nature of the bottle) and eagerly brought them home. here it is, i think, o my beloveds; i am finally going to crack into what i can only assume is some sort of secret club of whisky (aha, maybe now you catch the subtle and yet significant difference?) drinkers: the scotch. yeah, my first sip of johnny walker made me think someone had filled my sinuses with lighter fluid and struck a match. into the sour mix and down it goes (and i know you puritans are losing your shit over my abuse of said scotches, but let's remember, i was but a babe...) then the glenfidditch that i had been saving till last cause i wanted to dig it so bad...

glenfidditch was the only whisk(e)y i tried that tasted as foul in the sour mix as it did straight.

well, i think, that tears it. i am not a scotch drinker.

fast forward a year (and uncountable shots of jamesons, canadian club, beam, jack, black velvet, maker's mark, and plastic squeeze bottles of cheap whiskies) to the day when the neighbor b buys a bottle of balvenie and says i have to have a glass on ice with a splash of club soda. and i don't die.

and subsequently get offered a tester shot of dewars (on sale at my local liquor store) and boldly tell the sales lady "neat" cause i figure if i can't choke it down that way, why bother? right?

and actually enjoy it!

then a week later when an older fella explains to me that these are blended scotches and don't really count, and that i really should try a single malt.

"like what?" i ask, already dreading the answer.

"like glenfidditch."

well, o beloved non-existent reader, would i be myself if i didn't run out that same day and buy another ninety-nine bottle of 12-year glenfidditch and bring it home? no. no, i would not. and actually thought, hell, i could drink this. i finished the shot bottle. without food. without prior alcohol (an aside; and those of you as drink with any seriousness whatsoever will back me up on this: there are some beverages that you cannot start the night off with. you can have several of your standard drink; of your favorite, and then follow it up with, say, jagermiester shots and be just fine. but if someone hands you a shot of jager as you walk through the door, you know you will be ill and making "the face" and trying not to die within five minutes! for me, jager shots are the "dessert" drink. i already need to be on the road to der unk to even try them.) without making "the face."

then s, my guitarist, brings over a bottle of 15-year glenfidditch one night and the two of us drunk lushes polish it off before heading to bed.

tonight, there is a special on some channel about breweries and how whisk(e)y is made. well, my beloveds, my tried and trues, o thou stalwarts and strongs, who return here week after week (or month after month though i am guessing this particular post will drive all three of you away as surely as garlic makes the vampire pick another neck), i discovered one aspect of whiskey that i have yet to explore, and will most certainly rectify as quickly as it takes for me to hit my local purveyor of imbibed spirits:


i am the sort of fella who has fallen here from some other time. though i recently updated my facebook status to "if i had actually lived in the '50's, i would've been put in an institution" (and is it ok to have paraphrased oneself? i sure hope so.) because i realize that while the '30's, '40's, '50's, and '60's have some odd kind of interstellar hold on me, i would have been ill-fitted into those eras, i also realize that forgotten items from these glamorous ages draw me in. and rye is, without question, one of these things.

while george washington himself was said to have distilled rye whiskey back in the day, prohibition pretty much demolished whatever corner of the market rye might have ever had. however, it is slowly making a comeback.

and i know that if someone says, "pick an irish whiskey right now" i would quickly reply, "jamesons, in whatever way you want to mainline it to my liver" or, "in five seconds, your favorite single malt scotch!" (hands down that 15-year glenfidditch, o my beloveds), if someone asked me about a rye, while i would've wanted to know; would've wanted to have already been sipping it at my house on my own and in the know: i have not. i don't know.

so tomorrow, when i pick up my triangular bottle of glenfidditch, i am going to do my damnedest to also pick up a bottle of rye (shouldn't be too hard, my favorite cheap bourbon, mr. beam, actually makes one) and begin test driving it. and hopefully liking it.

cause i feel i must've at least given it the ole college try. (which is also a relic from another time, not too dissimilar from myself.)

darth sardonic

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Blogger Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Lol you're too knowledgeble for me! All I know is that at the convinience store 6 houses down I can get a pint of vodka for 3 dollars and it has no carbs. :D I don't get a headache so it can't be that bad right????? ;D

2:55 AM  
Blogger darth sardonic said...

lmao gringa, sounds perfect to me

4:36 AM  
Blogger twirl unabashedly said...

can you believe i've never drank jack, or crown, or even jim beam?

i'm a tequila girl... but, agreed, not to start the night off with. "the face" ceases to happen after about 2 shots and 2 beers, but usually after that, bring on the patron!

my fiancee watched a movie recently that made him want to be cool enough to sip an occasional whiskey. i'll probably have him read your altho- if i end up with nasty ass scotch in my house, i'm coming after you.

side note- do you know who drinks scotch, and likes it? my mother.
it was the first hijacked alcohol i ever consumed. joke was on me. ::shudder::

6:02 AM  
Blogger zirelda said...

Oh my. I can already feel my stomach turning.

So at what point does your tongue go numb?

I gotta stick to wine coolers these days. Just can't stomach the strong stuff anymore.

6:51 AM  
Blogger darth sardonic said...

lol twirl, i like tequila as well, and can actually start off with shots of that. however, patron is too smooth. i like 1800 or cuervo. and tell your fiance any canadian whiskey or jamesons. and if he starts drinking scotch, good for him! but yeah, totally get that scotch is a bad way to get into alcohol.

z, i can't really drink things like wine coolers anymore. way too sweet. and i actually get less drunk off scotch or gin than i do fruity drinks.

5:34 PM  

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