The first whiskey I tasted was Early Times. I suppose it comes as no surprise that Early Times was the whiskey we had at home; it was the only whiskey I can remember my father drinking. He did not drink it straight but mixed as an Early Times Presbyterian: Early Times, ginger ale, club soda and a lemon twist served over ice. (At least this is the way I remember it.)
“Whiskey, whiskey, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Milk of mercy please be kind
Drive this feeling from my mind”
by KRIS KRISTOFFERSON
This was the drink he started me on (sometime in my late teens). Later on I found that I liked the taste of the whiskey without the other stuff better than mixed.
My mother’s favorite alcoholic drink was beer. She allowed herself one in the afternoon. Miller High Life. I remember the first time she let me taste it (and, no, I don’t remember how old I was). I almost spit it out–it tasted like soap suds (sort of like cilantro does now).
On my first solo trip across the United States and Canada (the summer of 1973) I tried Canadian whisky–the provincial liquor store in British Columbia had plenty of ryes but only two bottles of bourbon. I’ve grown to enjoy both Canadian and American ryes.
Sometime in my thirties I began drinking Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky. I started with blends (of course) and grew to also like the single malts.
Truths about Whiskey/Whisky
A particular whiskey is neither good nor bad–what matters is whether or not you like it.
Some whiskeys are best enjoyed neat; others are best served over ice–don’t worry about what the other guy (or gal) is doing, enjoy it the way you like.
Some whiskeys are best enjoyed alone; others are best when mixed as cocktails.
Whiskey is a before, during and after dinner drink. Yes, there are occasions when we’ve gone out to dinner with friends and everyone else has a cocktail and then wine with dinner, and I’ve ignored the wine and enjoyed my whiskey through and after dinner (maybe with a brandy or cognac to top off the evening).
If you ever come over to my, our, home for drinks and/or dinner, please remember the following (and this is not completely tongue-in-cheek). Yes, you may have some of my “good” whisky over ice–however, the next time you come I may be “out” of it. Yes, you may have it neat and with a splash of water or soda. NO, you may NOT mix it with ginger ale, 7-Up, Coke, Mountain Dew, etc.
Current personal preferences:
Irish: Tullamore Dew (12)
Canadian: Crown Royal Black
Tennessee: Jack Daniels Single Barrel
Bourbon: Maker’s 46
Do I enjoy other drinks? Yes. Do I have them “in stock?” Yes.
And . . . I’ll drink to that.