Monday, January 19, 2009
Whiskey and I didn't always get along. We first hooked up when I was too young to appreciate and handle her. A few feverish encounters spelled bad news, both in the short term and over the long haul. Even the smell of her perfume would upset my stomach. But time changes things. We get older and wiser and our needs change. I needed to feel the effects of alcohol without consuming 1000 calories of suds. And I needed to avoid the slip 'n slide that gin, tonic and lime create. Typically leaving me wet, bruised and face down in the yard. Wine is fine, but it's impractical. Plus it often causes more yawning and more hangover than I'd prefer. The logical solution was to dig up whiskey's phone number and give it one more try. If it was going to work this time, the terms had to be just right. I needed to find out where she was coming from and bring out the best in her. I'd also have to man up and muscle through the initial awkwardness.
First my friend Sam the bartender clued me in on how to approach her. A heap of ice, a splash of water, pour and let it soak in. Another sage, Rob, provided me with info on regional distinctions and shared his preferences. First we toured Canada. It had it's ups and downs. I enjoyed Mist and V.O. but wasn't too keen on Crown Royal or Windsor. Scotland was a frightening endeavor. Beyond being overwhelmed by all the ins and outs, my first couple samples were considerably less than enjoyable. They ranged from kerosene to butane. On the other hand, the tastes of Ireland were a pure joy. And I'm sure I'll pay some further visits. Jameson, Bushmills, Clontarf: all enjoyable. But despite my Irish heritage, I thought to myself, buy American. Unfortunately, the land of Dixie was worse than the land of Scotts. Every encounter with bourbon tasted like Jefferson Davis' revenge.
Then we found eachother. It was the bar in my in-law's basement. An opened, but barely touched bottle of Seagram's Seven Crown Blended American Whiskey suddenly called out to me. Naturally, I'd seen one before, but truthfully, I was never sure that the first 7 in a 7&7 was even whiskey. I thought it might have been Gin or Vodka. I haven't had occasion to mix it with 7-up, then again I don't think I've seen a 7-up in forever. But with a little water and a lot of ice it's smooth and flavorful. And for the price, I don't know if you can beat it. I think I'll put it up there with Tanqueray as my stock choice. I find comfort in the fact that it's considered simply whiskey. It's not Kentucky this or double malted, aged, Russian, what-have-you. Just blended American whiskey. Like rock and roll as opposed to death metal, emo-core, synth-pop, or art punk. Seagrams Seven is the Jimi Hendrix of whiskey.