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“You drink like my Grandpa.”
This is far and beyond one of the best compliments I’ve received during my days as a young boozehound. It is a compliment because most peoples’ grandpas know their way around a bar, and they don’t see quality spirits as an expense, but a necessity. Today, I take a page from the men who taught us how to drink by celebrating a liquor that truly defines the spirit of a Fraternity man; Whiskey.
Dark in color, its opaque caramel tones mask a bittersweet smoky taste profile that begs to be uncorked. Whiskey’s deep-rooted history spans many countries, and with that kind of diversity it easily takes the crown as America’s drink. In fact, there are so many different variations of whiskey that men of lesser merit will get into heated arguments about the actual classification of a given brand. These people obviously have nothing better to do. Save me the noise pollution at the bar and Google it when you get back to your mundane existence at home. However, I’m not here to teach you a lesson, I’m here to drink. So whether your taste is American Bourbon, American Rye, Canadian Rye, whatever the fuck people in Tennessee decide to call their whiskey (depending on the month and how the sun is shining), Irish whiskey, or Scotch, your bar will never be complete without at least 3 variations of this dark firewater. I personally prefer a nice mix of American Bourbon, Irish whiskey, and of course Scotch.
My American Bourbon of choice usually swings back and forth between Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. The iconic wax-top bottle of the Maker’s is easily one of the most identifiable objects in any fraternity house, and the taste is just as classic, complimented by both sour and sweet mixers (if you have to mix your whiskey). Woodford Reserve is another great Sour-Mash American Bourbon from Central Kentucky that, much like Maker’s, goes well in most cocktails.
Moving on to Irish whiskey, I cannot praise the name of John Jameson enough. The Irish are an esteemed group of people that helped build America. However, everyone knows the Irish stereotype of drunken belligerence, and Jameson Irish whiskey may as well be nectar from the blackout gods. One of the easiest whiskeys to pull, Jameson’s sweet taste keeps you coming back time and time again. Mix it with ginger-ale and it will keep you slurring and fighting like your last name is O’Doyle.
Normally at this point I’d say “last but not least.” However, this next Whiskey is too good for clichés. Words like quintessential, premium, pinnacle, and greatest all seem to fall short of describing just how important Scotch Whiskey is to any man’s arsenal of dark liquor. I don’t care if you drink Johnnie Walker Blue, Glennfiddich, or Chivas Regal, the only mixer that truly accompanies Scotch is frozen water, and sometimes that’s even iffy. Normally I like to keep a 12-year Macallan on deck, and the true reason for that is because that’s what my father drinks. You really can’t go wrong with Scotch. Whether you prefer the blended varieties of Johnnie Walker or the traditional single malt, one glass will have you feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. It numbs the forehead, takes away the edge, and will keep you warm in the winter. If you have an ailment, Scotch is probably the cure, and I think of it as the wonder-drug.
So, next time you find yourself on that weekly run down to the campus liquor store, keep your priorities in line. Your back to school shopping list should somewhat resemble the following: whiskey, whiskey, and more whiskey. And by the way, pick up a few back up bottles. There is nothing cool about an empty bar. Let’s face it, you’ll probably need them now that the fall is here.