Category Archives: Spirits

How the Irish Saved Civilization

St Patrick’s Day is upon us and i thought it an appropriate time to educate readers on just how the Irish “make the moonshine”.  Heh, that’s a line from our new favourite family show – Moonshiners [and please, if the show is fake, i don’t wanna hear tell about it].  And yes, the title of this blog borders on being unethically misleading – or is it ethically misleading? Did you say ethically misleading?

In all simplicity, whiskey/whisky is moonshine aged in barrels.

In Canada we normally make our moonshine from rye. In Kentucky they use corn, or at least some combination of rye and corn. In Ireland and Scotland the best are usually made from malted barley.  In Scotland peat is sometimes used to dry the barley, resulting in the distinctive peat nose and taste.  In Ireland they don’t peat [except for Connemara] and they ….

You know what – I’m just complicating things.  I find it fascinating, but i don’t want to start sounding like one of those people for whom the minutia of their dream is far more interesting to them than the listener.

So suffice it to say that i added this to my whiskey cellar just in time for March 17th. Also, I’m gonna read some of Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization today.

 


SuperBowl thoughts

Wow!

Also, I saved this since my trip to the US of A this summer. Cracked it open on the kickoff.

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But man [or humans as I call them] cannot live on watery beer alone – at least in the winter.

So I went into the whiskey cellar to choose between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey – wait, this is sounding like a George Thorogood and the Destroyers song. Wait again – that couldn’t really have been the name of that band. Wait – Tom Brady did what ?

So in a very real way Bourbon won the SuperBowl.  But good season Yeungling.


Time

Time makes things better.  I know maybe a little self-serving from a man over 50 with more white in his beard than red. But it’s hard to wait isn’t it? I can’t wait to use “Come on man, it’s 2017” [truthfully i’ve been using it all year].

Sometimes when i’m impatient i feel like Futurama’s Fry, from Futurama, on the tour of the Slurm factory…

Fry: Can we have some Slurm now?

Glurmo: No food or drink on the boat. You’ll have plenty of Slurm at the end of the tour, where you will party with Slurms McKenzie.

Fry: When will that be?

Glurmo: Soon enough.

Fry: That’s not soon enough!

“That’s not soon enough” indeed! This is what i’m waiting for now – For Royal City Brewery’s Sour with red currant. It taunts me every time i visit. Sitting there smugly at the front door in its large barrels,with the patience of Job [bible Job] souring in its own sweet time. Doesn’t it know that i love it and can’t wait to meet it?

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Speaking of 1964, look what i discovered this week. I don’t know where to order it from yet but i want it. Actually i’m not sure how to pay for it either. I wish i had thought of that earlier. In 1964 this nectar was filled into ex-sherry casks [6 weeks after i was born]. When this cask was bottled in 1993 and released as a 29 yr old the price of a bottle was 100 British pounds. In 2007, as a 42-year-old the price was 4, 000.  This last barrel, the bottles, if there are any left, go for almost 20,000 pounds.  I hope i get to meet it someday.  Hey, maybe i’m not getting older, i’m getting more expensive. Or something.

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Social Lite

I love the format dictionaries use for pronunciation. Like “Skeptical [skep-ti-kuh l]- inclined to scepticism; having an attitude of doubt.”  skep-ti-kuh l.  Amusing.

This past week i was contacted by a small company that makes premium vodka soda. SoCIAL LITE.  I admit that my first thought was “I don’t want to drink Fresca and vodka”.  However, i am willing to be wrong about stuff.  Also, their story is a good one. The drink was developed while entertaining friends in their kitchen.   While i like soda and i like vodka, what I don’t like is sweet “made for frosh events” drinks.  I was skep-ti-kuh l.

There are two flavours of SoCIAL LITE vodka, Lime-Ginger and  Lemon-Cucumber-Mint.  I was a little ascared, as it poured like Fresca [i don’t know why i keep saying that because i actually like Fresca], but it was delicious, refreshing, not sweet at all, and subtle in it’s flavours. It is a perfect drink for an afternoon on the patio. The Lime-Ginger is available at the LCBO at $10 for four 355 mL cans [kans].

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Irish research

I have some Irish in me – not enough to want a “kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirt – but I do look Irish and I can imitate a leprechaun’s voice if necessary. So before St. Patrick’s day I may find the time to reread Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Saved Civilization” but I will certainly find time to get my drinks in order.

Breaking from tradition I’m going to pair ale with whiskey to celebrate – no wait, that is tradition.

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Tullamore and Smithwick’s.

Here’s what you need to know

  1. Smithwick’s is pronounced “Smith-icks” or “Smitt-icks”
  2. You can also pronounce it /ˈsmɪðᵻks/ – but I don’t know how to read that
  3. /ˈsmɪðᵻks/ is a red ale – clear and dark red in colour, less sweet than a brown ale
  4. Tullamore dew is a well priced Irish whiskey [$32]
  5. Irish whiskey always ends “ey” unlike scotch whisky “y”
  6. The two are produced a short 1 hr drive from each other in the heart of Ireland
  7. Limerick always makes me giggle

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Elusive

Who’s more elusive in your opinion – The Polka Dot Door’s Polkaroo, Sesame Street’s Snuffleupagus, or Baroness Orczy’s Scarlett Pimpernel?  Or as i like to swear-quote in my house “that damned elusive Pimpernel”.  Yes, I know, this started off all cute and kid friendly and has gone south fast.

What is elusive is the best whisky in the world – despite it being from Canada – where i’m.

If you haven’t heard … the Whisky of the Year, as declared by whisky connoisseur Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible [no relation to the real bible]  is Crown Royal Northern Harvest which retails at $33 at the LCBO.

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Good news! We won an international contest.  Bad news! Due to it’s international demand it’s proved itself to be “damned” elusive.  Or in the words of the Baroness, “They seek him here, they seek him there, those Frenchies [and Anglos and everyone else] seek him everywhere. Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell ?[sorry again for the quotefanitiy] That damned elusive (Northern Harvest)“.

There’s a happy ending. My daughter M came through for me and found me two bottles in a remote northern outpost called Barrie, Ontario.

I’d go into the tasting notes but honestly i’m just too pleased to have found something so elusive – and by me i mean someone else.
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*most joke swears ever in the history of this blog – sorry to the offended – but they made me giggle – that is all.


Gin Season

When I make my own gin I feel like a Renaissance man. And calling myself a Renaissance man means only one thing – that i’m pretty pleased with myself.  Leonardo Da Vinci, considered the archetypical Renaissance man, and i have a lot in common. We’re both left handed, we both have long hair … maybe that’s all we have in common. But maybe he made gin.  I’m going to add that as a new chapter to his Wikipedia page and see how long it stays up there.

Beautiful isn’t it?  Juniper, citrus, coriander, cardamom in a triple filtered vodka.

So i was making this as a surprise for my daughter M’s next visit. Then i was so pleased with this gin recipe that i  posted a video of it on Facebook – completely overlooking the face that M and I are friends on Facebook.  Tben i get a text from M – “making gin”. Then i put it all together – you can’t surprise somebody with an invention if you post it all over the internet.  I bet DaVinci never had this problem with his daughter. Maybe he wasn’t facebook friends with her. That’s sad.