Thursday, December 31, 2009

Becoming a Scotch whisky drinker in thirty days, an eight step program

The New Year started early with a thumb-high measure of Famous Grouse topped off with ice cubes and distilled water.  (It is important to note that I used distilled water for my friends and family’s peace of mind since I have the highest iron count water in the county coming out of my well, and I shut down the filtration system that wasn’t working months ago.  Although… rusty water mixed with whisky , who would know?)

Famous Grouse is a blended Scotch whisky.  And according to the clerk at the store, a favourite of the English military.  A Scotch of the Southern Highland or Midland region, “Their spirit tends to be fruity, nutty and medium sweet.”

That review was spot on, what a lovely, mild Scotch.  Thumb-high?  I could have done more.  I need a second glass.  This thirty day program may get fast tracked.  My first cocktail of the year will be the Speyside Sling.  Cherries and cherry brandy tempt me.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

     Scotch and whisky.  I never realized that they were the same thing.  It sounds more sophisticated to order Scotch.  Scotch makes me think of musty old English libraries and Sherlock Holmes.  Whisky was something the cowboys shouted to the bartenders in old west movies. Scotch is whisky, but whisky is not always Scotch. 

      The Scotch take their whisky seriously.  To be a true Scotch Whisky it must be labeled as such.  The Whisky can be capitalized, or not.  The word whiskey or Scottish on the label means that you are not buying a real Scotch Whisky.  This is a drink that many reserve for the winter, sitting by a warm fire.  Images of Scotland fit in well with winter; the cold and damp weather, the desolate landscape, and the remnants of times long past scattered throughout her hills . 

     Learning to appreciate Scotch Whisky is an art in its self.  This will not be the easiest liquor to start with, but it may provide an interesting challenge.  I was reminded in one blog that rarely will someone in their twenties drink Scotch and this is a drink that reminds you of the breath of old grandpas.  Also, there are few women who enjoy its offerings.

     The art of learning to enjoy this drink is to work up to it.  There is an eight step program on how to become a Scotch drinker in thirty days. Single malt Scotch is for professionals.  Amateurs drink a blended whisky.   The recommended starters are JB, Dewars, Famous Grouse, and Johnnie Walker.  I grabbed the Famous Grouse because of the bird label.  "An excellent choice," the man behind the counter commented.  "The drink of the English military since...forever.  The drink of the man who drafted the creation of the CIA."  It has proved to be an entertaining choice.  I will have to visit that clerk again. There seems to be a cult following on the Internet for this Scotch.  If you go on YouTube, you can watch Famous Grouse commercials.

(Sources: , wikipedia)
     Movie goers know that when James Bond orders a martini it is "Shaken, not stirred."  Shaken, but not stirred is my pun about James Bond's famous line.  I am into my second year of unemployment and have found little to motivate me.  Chores I thought would be fun to accomplish in my free time remain undone.  Books I want to read don't hold my interest beyond the first chapters.  Clinical depression and I have been friends and what I have now is not that.  Something to focus on and learn about for the coming year could be very interesting.  My life seems shaken. I do not know what the difference would be in a martini that is shaken compared to stirred.
    I was enlightened the other day watching a bartender contest on the food network.  It was like watching an artist paint.  Mixing drinks is an art, but it also is reminiscent of an alchemist at work. One bartender demonstrated that bartenders don't measure because a proper count of four using a bottle with an attached nozzle yields exactly one ounce.  He measured it with a scientist's beaker to show his skill.
   The art of bartending for a living is for the young.  It can be very demanding.  However, there is the art of mixing drinks for fun and friends.  My New Year's resolution will be to learn about alcohol.  I have never mixed a drink. While others were experimenting in their youth, I was surrounded by alcoholics and I was determined to be the sober one.  At least there was always someone to explain to my ex-husband why he was lying under the canopy that was over our tent in the morning during our camping trip.  A story about a coming storm combined with the high winds that were kicking up and about how dangerous it was to be passed out cold on a bucking dock didn't seem to interest him.  I did drag him as far as I could.  Perhaps I should have joined the partiers.  I continue to abstain, not for religious reasons, but to be the sane one in the crowd. 
   Beer bottles sit for months in my refrigerator. Wine gets poured down the drain long before it is finished.  It would be easier if I knew more about what I was buying.  When I turned 21, I was pregnant and didn’t get to participate in the usual rite of passage.  When I was able to show my identification card and order a drink, I left it to the bartender.  He brought me a White Russian.  Until I began going on business trips to the south, that is what I ordered.  White Russians are too thick and sweet for the hot humid south.  Screwdrivers work.  I remembered a movie where the housewives sitting around the pool ordered Long Island Iced Tea, I tried it and that became my occasional southern comfort. 
   Alcohol and its history could be fun to explore. 

About Me

Boomer, hippie, yuppie, none of these are me. Born in the 50's, graduated from high school in the 60's, married & had children in the 70's, graduated from college in the 80's, joined corporate America & divorced in the 90's, was an early casualty of the recession in 00's,08, still unemployed in 09.