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.
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.
Tullamore and Smithwick’s.
Here’s what you need to know
- Smithwick’s is pronounced “Smith-icks” or “Smitt-icks”
- You can also pronounce it /ˈsmɪðᵻks/ – but I don’t know how to read that
- /ˈsmɪðᵻks/ is a red ale – clear and dark red in colour, less sweet than a brown ale
- Tullamore dew is a well priced Irish whiskey [$32]
- Irish whiskey always ends “ey” unlike scotch whisky “y”
- The two are produced a short 1 hr drive from each other in the heart of Ireland
- Limerick always makes me giggle
“Here’s to your health” is a good traditional toast while raising a glass amongst friends and family. Recently i have been drawn to such a toast with either a whiskey or a whisky. “What’s the difference” you say? “Did you misspell that?”. People new to partaking in a “dram” of the spirit made from mashed grains may not even know that the Irish version is called Whiskey [with an e] and the Scottish version, more commonly known as Scotch, is Whisky [no e].
More importantly to the point. A friend of mine, Professor R we can call him [University prof] recently found this article. 10 Health Benefits of Whiskey.
I have at home the very good BushMills Black Bush [$37 LCBO#: 61374] and the delightfully smooth Auchentoshan Three Wood Scotch Whisky [$80 LCBO#: 720532] – which is only opened when my daughter M is in town. Maybe it’s the DNA speaking, or maybe it’s just a freakin’ good scotch, but we both love it. I think I like it because it’s aged initially in bourbon casks and then finished in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. Bourbon and then Spanish Sherry – I like both those things.
Back to Professor R. Now I call him “Professor R, the Enabler”. Thanks for the encouragement. Here’s to my health.