The time is here and it is now! My first blog of 2013. A little late I know, but I am still wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Sitting here listening to one of my current favorite songs (“Deadman’s Gun” by Ashtar Command) I think of nothing but how well this song goes with whiskey! Now, where to start this first entry into my journey of whiskey in the New Year? I have struggled to find a beginning. I have a number of whiskey samples to report about and the list keeps getting longer, but I just was not ready to start pouring on about these whiskeys until I acknowledge the wonderful end of a year I had with the holidays and my birthday!
The time leading up to Christmas saw a trip to Chicago for whiskey and music! One of the music groups I play with held a concert and clinic at the Midwest Clinic, an event held every year for the betterment of local to international bands and orchestras. While there I was also tasked with sampling some whiskey and visiting one of the local gems in the heart of Chicago. Warehouse Liquors, which is located deep in the heart of Chicago, offers the consumer a huge selection of whiskey from around the world! Bookcase upon bookcase is filled with whiskey and other spirits and should be a destination stop for picking out a bottle while in town. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly offering opinions and knowledge about all of the products! They report the staff has sampled almost everything on the shelves which allows for a better and more informed ability to describe whatever you may pick off the shelf. My sampling while in Chicago entailed products from Nikka, Amrut (I get a kick out of the opening page every time I use it…check it out!), and Chicago’s local distillery Lion’s Pride. Tasting notes will not be available for a while, sorry about that!
Getting back home two days before Christmas, we really needed a break but there were still preparations to make. Shopping for the Christmas meal was done and final presents were bought. I’m happy to say I successfully sent all of my family and friends presents before we left with enough time to get to their destinations and at last, I could relax and enjoy time with my wife, some good food, and whiskey!
A few days later my birthday happened and it could not have gone any better. We saw a movie (Lincoln, which was great, go see it) and was overjoyed to have one of my best-friends surprise me from out-of-town! Nothing better than to have a great surprise like that, and what did we do, broke out some whiskey…after we got some from the store that is, let me explain. Andy and I have a twisted tradition whenever we see each other for the first time in a while. He and I go out and find the cheapest, nastiest beer we can find and start the evening at as low a point as possible so no matter what we drink next it will always be better! This time we went with the cheapest and what we thought would be the nastiest whiskey we could find! We went to the closest military Package Store. The cheapest one we could find was a handle of Military Special Fine Blended Canadian Whiskey. I am happy to say it was a lot better than we were expecting, mind you it was not good, just a lot better than what we expected. We moved up from there with a bottle of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Batch 91 and some Lagavulin 16 yo.
We weren’t finished there, dinner still was coming! Since moving to Virginia I have found an amazing whiskey bar both in food and selection of spirits. Still-Worldy Eclectic Tapas is a fantastic destination to go for a special occasion or to have a well balanced and eventful meal! The establishment serves their meals Tapas style and offers a diverse drink menu with a heavy emphasis on whisk(e)ys. Their “well” whiskey is Woodford Reserve at $6.50/shot and the most expensive is the Rittenhouse Rye 21 yo at $35/shot. While the menu is heavy with American whiskey, Irish, Canadian, and Scotch (single malt and blends) can also be found.
With such a good selection of whiskey I went against the grain and had nothing but mixed drinks. While I have sampled many whiskeys neat or with a dash of water, my experience with mixed whiskey drinks is extremely lacking. That being said, I went for the classics. I started with a Sazerac. Their recipe calls for a Sazerac to be served with bourbon, but knowing my history I requested it be served with rye whiskey which is what was used when the drink was first created…and it was delicious! The rest of my drinks consisted of an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, and a Rob Roy. So yes, I kept it traditional since I had never before tried these drinks. My favorite was the Sazerac and highly recommend it! Food varied and since the portions were small we were able to sample many different things. To give you a taste of some of the awesomeness we had… Mixed Game Sausage Trilogy (made from turkey, boar, and duck), Fried Green Pickled Tomatoes, Blackened Tuna (which was the best thing that night and possibly the best Blackened Tuna I’ve ever had), Carolina Bison Short Ribs, Fall Squash Gratin, and Oysters Rock-A-Fella. This was about half of what we had and it was all amazing!
My next entry will continue this blog and review some whiskey related gifts I received!
All in all, it was an amazing birthday and Christmas and I’m thankful to have spent it with family and friends. I wish you the warmest New Year and I look forward to writing more about the passion I have about whiskey and sharing with you my experiences.