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The Session #59: I Almost Always Drink Beer, But When I Don’t…

Jeremy Short · Jan. 6


The Session is a monthly beer blogging topic. This is my first time participating and oddly enough the topic isn’t about beer.

I almost always drink beer, but when I don’t I drink… I drink. Well, I mean, I guess… this is a harder question than it seems. Water. Water is nice. But that seems a bit boring. What about coffee? I do drink a lot of coffee when I am not drinking beer.  And coffee is brewed. Brewed, hey, that’s kind of beer connection. Nah, I only drink coffee because it contains caffeine and gives me an excuse to leave my desk and avoid doing work for a moment. That’s hardly worth an entire post. Wine? I do drink enjoy wine so maybe that would be worth talking about? Hmmm. No. I am worried if I write about wine all get all cliché and talk about rolling vineyards and sun-kissed Tuscany. I already hate that post. Okay, what does that leave me with? What else do I drink when not drinking beer. Sake? Tequila?. Orange Juice? All fine drinks. What about whisky? Oh god, of course, it comes to whisky. I want to avoid it, but I can’t. The answer to the question is whisky. I almost always drink beer, but when I don’t I drink whisky.

Why don’t I want admit that whisky is the answer? Like wine it seems cliché. Of course some dude who likes beer also likes whisky. The two drink are basically brothers. I mean, this really isn’t much of a reach to talk about whisky the same way I talk about beer. But there it is. Whisky. The other beverage that makes me think and consider the world instead of simply satisfying a thirst. And I say “whisky” (minus the “e”) because what I am really saying is Scotch. I don’t drink Scotch Whisky often, but when I do I always consider it a privilege. It’s a moment to be savored and enjoyed. Oh wait, starting to get a little sentimental there. I’ll need to tap on the breaks a little bit.

My first meeting with whiskey (in this case with the “e”) was a bottle of Southern Comfort and a skull shaped mug. And yes, it went as poorly as you can imagine. I am not sure how my friends and I procured a bottle of this fine whiskey, but we did. If you haven’t had SoCo before, it’s a sweet easy drinking awful beverage that is perfectly suited to teenagers wanting to get drunk. Being teenagers we decided to drink the whiskey from a collection of skull shaped coffee mug-- now that I am thinking about this I would very much like to find those mugs. The opaque skulls discreetly hid how quickly and how much we were drinking. To celebrate and enjoy our alcohol we did what any group of anti-social young dorky teenage boys would do, we watched Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. At first this was a brilliant idea. We laughed and acted like experts in the art of whiskey consumption. We even branded ourselves the “Whiskey Bandits” and downed another skull of Southern Comfort. Then came Mr. Creosote. Who is that you ask? Exemplifying our own self-indulgence, Mr. Creosote is a character from The Meaning of Life who makes room to eat more and more by vomiting into a bucket. You can watch it here.This is not a good idea to watch when you are very drunk. DON’T watch it if you are very drunk. A few moments into this clip I knew I had made a terrible mistake. And soon I treated the floor not much different than Mr. Creosote treated that bucket. And I did that for much of the night. I mean all of the night.

Imperial 28After that experience I was quite sure me and whiskey would never cross paths again. And I did quite well at staying away. It was not until a decade and a couple of years passed before I got the crazy idea to try drink whiskey again. My wife had been out with her sister and brother-in-law when he opened a bottle of The Macallan 18. I wasn’t there. When my wife told described the experience to me I was immediately interested, but I was still a bit hesitant about going down that dark skull littered road. For the dumbest reason in the world I change my mind and decided to buy my first bottle of Scotch. That reason? The HBO television show Deadwood. Yes, a TV show. I loved that show at the time and was particularly enthralled with the way they tossed back a shot of whiskey in almost every scene. The way they enjoyed each shot, the look of satisfaction each actor portrayed and the fantasy of it all finally drove me to go and buy a bottle. I figured I would by a Scotch instead of the American whiskey I assumed they drank on the show. Wandering the liquor store aisle I blindly picked a bottle of Talisker. I went straight home turned on an episode of Deadwood and poured a small glass. I hated it. And I was quite perplexed about this. How could I hate something that people clearly enjoyed? I took another sip. Well maybe it’s not that bad. It kind of tastes like a leather glove thrown into the ocean then cover in gasoline and lit ablaze. Seriously, I still think it taste like that. Over a couple of month I kept going back to the bottle looking for a clue to what people enjoyed about it. With each tasting I liked it a bit more and a bit more. Slowly I started to realized that burning leather glove flavor had something to say. I had to slow down a pay attention to the Scotch. I had to let the Scotch tell me what was good about it. And there was something. Something about that burning leather glove that isn’t thirst quenching, that isn’t drinkable per se, that demands that you slow down pay attention.

And then I was hooked.

If I am not trying to get someone to try this beer or that beer I am probably trying to get them to drink a good Scotch. Writing this makes me want to go buy a good bottle on the way home. Have a favorite whisky that you think I should try? Please let me know! 


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