Nothing like a storm with the same name as a cartoon clownfish to allow your boss to send you an email titled “Finding Nemo” and be serious. Pardon me, I need a drink.
By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer)
Forecasters are predicting that Winter Storm Nemo will dump six to twenty-four inches of snow, rain, and wintry mix (which sounds like it should be sugarplum fairies and hot chocolate, but is actually terrible) on the northeast this weekend. And while I will be working (isn’t life in the theatre glamorous?), many of you will probably be safe and warm at home. Maybe you’ll go out and build some non gender specific snowperson. Maybe you’ll stay in and watch all of House of Cards in one sitting (and see if it’s as good as the original). But regardless of what you’re up to, you’ll need a drink afterwards. And may I recommend to you my favorite drink of all?
Sadly, I'm allergic to cats. Photo from Autostraddle.
Now, while Greg is our resident mixology expert, I usually don’t like to mix my whisk(e)y with much - maybe a splash of soda or some ice. Occasionally I’ll enjoy an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. But otherwise I enjoy the scent, texture and flavor of a neat whisk(e)y too much.
So here, for your perusal, are four of my favorite whiskies broken down by category: Blended, Bourbon, Scotch, and Pure Pot Still. Perhaps you'll try some to warm you up this weekend.
Blended Whiskey: Jameson
When I go out to a bar, my usual go-to drink is a Jameson on the rocks. I first learned this from my dear friend, Akilah (a.k.a. my whisk(e)y guru). It’s just such a lovely, strong taste with a smooth finish. The ice gives it just the right amount of water to bring out the flavors without overpowering it. A great, simple standard for the beginning whisk(e)y drinker.
Bourbon Whiskey: Hudson Baby Bourbon
Doesn’t baby bourbon sound so adorable? Now I’m sure you were thinking I’d put something down like Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, or Jack Daniel’s. But my favorite bourbon is from a small local distillery here in New York state. It’s made in the Hudson Valley, about two hours north of the City, and is absolutely delicious. Again, this is a brand that Akilah introduced me to. We went to visit the distillery last autumn, and it was fascinating to see how some grain, malt, water, heat and time can make something so yummy. If I had learned chemistry like this, I might’ve done better in science growing up!
Contrary to popular opinion, bourbon is not exclusive to the American South. All that’s required of a whiskey to be labelled “bourbon” is that it is made in the United States from a grain mixture with at least 51% corn and aged in a single use charred-oak barrel. Hudson Baby Bourbon is the first bourbon to be made in New York since prohibition. Nothing like supporting local booze!
Scotch Whisky: Glenfiddich
I used to not like Scotch. I always thought it was too smoky and not smooth enough. But last year for my birthday, Akilah took me to a Glenfiddich tasting party. And through the course of the evening tasting a 12-year, a 15-year and an 18-year, I became a convert. The strong scent, the smoky taste that suddenly seemed spot on, and the surprisingly smooth finish made me fall in love. And gave me an expensive new habit.
In order for a whisky to be called a Scotch whisky, it must be made in Scotland and aged in an oak barrel for at least 3 years (among other things). Since they take so long to make, that’s usually why they are so expensive. And why I only get it on special occasions. Maybe this weekend will be a special occasion!
Pure Pot Still Whiskey: Writers Tears
Full disclosure: I haven’t actually tasted this. And since it’s currently only sold in Ireland, Germany, Holland, France, and Switzerland, I probably won’t be having it anytime soon. But if you’re in any of those place, grab a bottle (and send me one, please?). If there were ever a liquor that was found equally in writers’ genius and madness, it is Irish Whiskey. Therefore, I must support a company that will name their whiskey Writers Tears.
I don’t know where the apostrophe went either.
Pure Pot Still Irish whiskey actually came out of trying to avoid extra taxes by the British on Irish Malt whiskey. Distillers started mixing malted barley with unmalted barley in a single pot still. Thus creating what is now referred to as the champagne of Irish whiskey. If ever there was a selling point, that is it!
Hopefully this gave you some ideas for heating up this cold weekend. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to pour myself a drink.
is a native New Yorker and theatre baby. Her plays have been produced by The 52nd Street Project and Starfish Theatreworks. She currently makes a living as a Broadway treasurer.
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