A good friend and fellow whisky enthusiast joined me again this year in celebrating WhiskeyFest Chicago, a gathering of nearly every major whisky brand and distillery in one spot for three hours of samples and conversation. With over 275 different spirits on hand this year and three sessions of seminars, there was a lot to take in and we adopted the pinball method of just bouncing from table to table without much plan. If my hazy memory serves me right (and it may not) we were able to smash last year’s record of about 25 pours with an astounding 34 this time around. Continue reading
Category Archives: Spirits
There was a time when it was socially acceptable to drink before noon. That time, sadly, is no more. (Look up “New York debaucherous brunch” for the exception, but I have been told on many occasions that “breakfast Scotch” is strictly off limits.) In those mornings of that more enlightened time, it was normal to have a “hair of the dog” kind of drink which, while I’m not sure helped cure your hangover, at least made it less terrible. Chief among these quaffs of yore was one of the best pre-prohibition classics passed down to today, the Corpse Reviver #2. While one glass would wake a corpse up, Harry Croddock, esteemed barman at the Savoy Hotel in London and author of The Savoy Cocktail Book, said that, “four taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.” Continue reading
I’m still fairly new to the world of spirits and mixology. As an eager amateur, I read books and peruse blogs for information, I hit the local bars and lounges for ideas and I experiment at home and at parties. Generally, I hear about the trends and then go out and find them, but I feel I’ve turned a bit of corner since I spotted one of the newest trends in the drinks world before it became big news. I’m talking about white whisky. New make. White dog. Moonshine. Unaged water of life. Continue reading
I haven’t posted my thoughts on whisky in awhile, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking. A friend and I went last Friday to WhiskyFest Chicago. The event is a celebration of all things grain and we spent 3 hours sampling tons and tons of delicious distillates. In all we tried over 20 different whiskies, a flight of cognacs and a curious, curious rum while gorging ourselves on a top notch buffet of food and deserts. We met a few master distillers along the way and generally had a great time.
In an effort to make the most of our time, we spread ourselves around and tried to hit new and strange things. Here are the highlights. Continue reading
A few nights ago, some friends and I gathered for what we hope will become a regular institution: whisky tasting. For our inaugural tasting, we decided on a comparison of Johnnie Walker blended Scotch (Black, Green, Gold and Blue Labels). It was an interesting first choice I think, playing more for safety and for name recognition than for something more exotic. The group, however, was quite diverse including known scotch lovers and haters as well as whisky newbies, and everyone (I think/hope) found something enjoyable. Continue reading
My last whisky tasting post was successful (no one wrote any angry comments which, I guess, is a pretty low barometer of success), so when I noticed that my only bottle of true Scotch was almost empty, I figured I should give it the same treatment that I gave my new Yamazaki before it disappeared.
A few days ago, growing tired of my work, I set off clicking across the internet. I don’t remember what exactly happened on this convoluted path, but I ended up researching Japanese whisky. (The path probably went something like this.) Well, after a refresher of what I knew as well as some new found information, I had firmly resolved to head out and buy a bottle of the stuff for myself and left early to do just that. I try not to make random impulse purchases like this very often, but near the start of each academic quarter that stipend money just burns a hole in my pocket. Plus, since I run a semi-regular cocktail party with friends, I can chalk this up to research.