Enjoy whiskey. That was Dave Broom’s message – and happily taken by a crowd that gathered on a rainy Saturday afternoon to try out some whiskies in cocktail from one of the pre-eminent whisky authors.
“Ask questions,” he told us. “Otherwise it’s just one boring, long Scottish rant.” Like that’s a bad thing when it comes to whisky. I showed up for a Scottish rant.
Dave Broom – author of my ultimate whisky guide, The World Atlas of Whisky – was at Char No. 4 to tell us to mix our whisky. You heard that correctly – to put mixers and ice in our whisky.
He said forget the rules. It’s not just for men (yep – got that message!). It’s not just for people of a certain age (around 20 seems a good time to start drinking it…). It’s not just for after dinner (do people eat dinner at noon? Is that supper?) It doesn’t have to be drunken in a tumbler (whew! Because I use jars sometimes). And it can be mixed.
Also, it’s not serious. It should make you smile. Dave put forth the idea that drinking whisky and enjoying whisky are two different things. With his newest book, Whisky: The Manual, he is looking at how to enjoy whisky by mixing it up.
Whiskey was a part of Mad Men from the very first shot of the very first episode – Don Draper is doodling on a napkin in the corner booth of a bar with an empty glass.
“Do this again. Old Fashioned, please,” he tells the bartender.
Later in that episode, Joan gives secretary survival advice to Peggy (also just good workplace survival advice if you don’t happen to have a secretary):
Joan: Keep a fifth of something in your desk. Mr. Draper drinks rye. Also, invest in some aspirin, some band-aids, and a needle and thread.
Peggy: Rye is Canadian, right?
Joan: You better find out.
Whiskey goes on to make many more appearances on the show. It’s on Joan’s list of office supplies. It’s what Don pours to celebrate a new ad client, to toast a coworker, or just whenever he walks into his office or apartment.
It’s hard to watch an episode and not want a drink. So in honor of Mad Men finally returning, I am prepared with the makings for an old-fashioned and Don’s favorite whiskey brand – Canadian Club. Cue the strings for the theme music – it’s time for the ad men and their adulterous, cocktail-filled lives.
Old Fashioned Recipe (from AMC website)
2 dashes aromatic bitters
½ teaspoon sugar dissolved with water and bitters
1 ½ ounces of bourbon (or in this case, Canadian Club)
1 orange slice
1 lemon wedge
Fill glass with ice. Add cherry, orange slice, and lemon wedge. Pour in whiskey.