Note: This is one of a series of guest posts I’ll be hosting over the next few weeks to spice up Cocktail Thursday. Today’s guest is my all-time favorite, for obvious reasons. Besides being a great husband and father, the hubby (aka Gourmet Omnivore Husband) is now “drinking for two” — what with my diminished boozing capacity. So, I’m letting him take up some of the slack this week. Thanks, honey!
I like scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch.
Not really, at least not yet.
When I was a freshman in high school, I decided it was time to start drinking coffee. I had a good friend who worked at a coffee shop at the time, and when we went together on a theater class trip to an International Thespian Society conference at Abilene Christian University, I decided I would drink as much coffee with her as I could. I don’t recall what I had at the time — almost certainly something in the frappuccino family — but I know that there was no looking back. I drank plenty of coffee from then on.
I recently decided that it was time to drink scotch. My father is an Irish whiskey drinker (sadly, he prefers Bushmills, the Protestant whiskey). I have never been a huge fan. I’ve long preferred that my whisky be made in the New World, starting off as a wee college lad enjoying Crown Royal and moving on to Makers Mark a number of years ago (stay tuned for an update on that front!). However, I’ve always known that to be a true one-percenter, I’d need to develop an appreciation for single-barrel scotch. A perfect opportunity recently appeared when I was invited to an after-work get-together with coworkers. They call this gathering “water of life”, and folks are supposed to bring a bottle of scotch to share around the conference table.
I did not have a bottle the first time because I got the invite late in the day. Since then, however, I have bought two bottles, and found that, for scotch at least, quality seems to go up significantly with price. My first bottle was a Tomatin 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch, and I got it for about $30 at Twin Liquors. It was a choice of a coworker who thought it was a good, inexpensive bottle. I enjoyed it but felt like I couldn’t quite handle the heat – scotches seem to blast you in the upper palate like a flame. My work event is compromised of seasoned scotch drinkers, which means that adding ice would ensure I am never invited again. A few of them add a couple drops of room temperature water to particularly high alcohol selections, but never ice. So I fought through it, but when I got a bottle of my own, I found myself putting a couple ice cubes in this one.
My second bottle was a success. It was an Alexander Murray Mortlach Distillery Single Malt 16 years, this one coming in at a $40 price point. This one was a pretty big hit at work. It has what I am assured is a “delicious peaty flavor”, and went down much smoother than the Tomatin. It was much more of a lower-palate scotch, and smoother than most of the single malts I’ve had. I did not feel the need to add ice to this one!
Forcing yourself to develop a taste can be treacherous business. I mentioned coffee earlier, but I recently called off my 15-year effort to enjoy a cigar. I smoked cigars occasionally during special events or on the golf course from the time I was about 16, but finally put a stop to it at my brothers wedding last year as I had never had an enjoyable time with them. I think I’ve found at least one scotch I like, but until I can enjoy the sometimes-harsh tastes that are sure to come of single malt whiskys, I don’t think I can declare victory.