When I stepped into the whiskey bar, a row of men were seated at the counter. An hour later, they were replaced by a row of women. I liked the change. They also brought some great conversation with them. Overheard: “A whole year! I thought I was 29 and I was 28. Maybe this year, I will be 28 for the whole year instead of 29.” Amen to that. Unless your age is 10, 12, 15, or 18 and stamped on the side of a Scotch bottle, how much does it really matter?
My other companions at the bar were a pretty motley crew. There was George Dickel, a rye but charcoal mellowed, a process made famous by Tennessee whiskey (although this rye is from Indiana), Dead Guy Whiskey out of Oregon, and Fighting Cock bourbon from Kentucky.
I’m not normally a fan of Valentine’s Day – the sappy cards and awkward couples filling restaurants. I’ve worked the front counter at enough bakeries to know that the holiday is fraught with last-minute desperate attempts, usually by men, to find something – anything – chocolate and heart-shaped so their relationship will survive another day. Stand back when two men are in line are both eyeing the last red velvet cupcake. It’s about to get ugly.
And don’t get me started on the couples locked at the cheek calling each other pookie. “Which cupcake do you want to share?” “I know you love the vanilla with the chocolate frosting. And I love you.” “I love you more.” Smooch smooch. Blech blech.
But what’s that rule again? Just add whiskey? I may not love contrived romance, but I am a total sucker for whiskey. Coming home to find my Four Roses vase filled with red roses? Swoon. Skipping the obligatory table-for-two night at a restaurant and heading to a whiskey tasting instead? Pure romance. And I’m not saying I will turn away chocolate. But wouldn’t that chocolate be better with some whiskey in it?
My advice for getting through the day with or without a date? Whiskey. Love's truest form.
It's no secret that chocolate and whiskey go together, but a friend actually came across a dark chocolate bar made with whiskey. Yes, please. It’s by Butlers with a tag line that says “Purveyors of Happiness.” Not going to argue with that.
So, on the nose, the package gives off a definite whiff of whiskey.
On the tongue, it is actually quite well balanced. Like spiked chocolate frosting – deep, rich chocolate with notes of whiskey around the edges. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, with just a hint of orange. It has a long finish – the taste definitely lingers on the tongue.
I wouldn’t say it replaces having chocolate in one hand and whiskey in the other, but it’s a good mid-day, work-appropriate alternative. And it takes care of two cravings at once…although I have to admit, it still makes me want a little dram on the side.
It being Super Bowl Sunday, I headed to the nearest bar without a TV, but with an exceptional view: a wall o' whiskey.
Because this is it, folks. Final showdown in my 30-day challenge to drink 33 whiskies. And it all came down to Jim Beam soft red wheat bourbon against Jim Beam brown rice bourbon.
The match up seemed pretty even. Both 11 years. Both 90 proof. I can tell you right now this is not the Jim Beam you tipped back (quickly) during college, which I think is the last time I tried Jim Beam. These are more well-aged, refined, post graduate bourbons.
Everybody needs their escape sometime – whether it’s avoiding that final paper or avoiding football. And I would say that Jim Beam seems to be able to deliver in both categories.