"Nice Game Pretty Boy!"

Monday, May 01, 2006

"That is Damn Good Scotch. I Could do a Commercial for this Stuff. Mmmmm, Boy that Hennigans Goes Down Smooth. And Afterwards You Don't Even Smell."

On Wednesday night, I will be attending The Thirteenth Annual Single Malt & Scotch Whiskey Extravaganza, presented by The Scotch Malt Whiskey Society and Robb Report magazine. The Single Malt Whiskey Society is a self-described "private membership club dedicated to the discerning appreciation and consumption of the most rare and unique of single malt whiskies; unfiltered, single cask, single malt Scotch whisky." The Robb Report is a magazine, which retails for $12 per issue and is devoted to all things luxury, from yachts, to private planes, to Italian sports cars. Drinking expensive scotch with members of Society (or, members of the "Society") is one way to enjoy alcohol consumption, but there are, of course, many, many others. As the son of a liquor lawyer, a University of Florida graduate, former frat boy and a veteran of 6 Mardi Gras, several spring breaks, a Key West FantasyFest, the Kentucky Derby, countless St. Patrick's Day celebrations and many, many other festivals, luau's, soirees, clam-bakes, fiestas and other assorted ragers, I consider myself a bit of an expert on the sauce. I therefore have devoted today's post to alcohol, and its many varieties for consumption, my favorite brands and my favorite settings for each. You see, I believe one should not limit his alcohol consumption to one particular type. Sure, you enjoy your Grey Goose & Tonic at the swank NYC lounge, but is it really appropriate for a backyard bar-b-q or an afternoon at Shea? No! Because the sauce comes in so many delicious varieties, one must have broad horizons and recognize that there is a drink for every setting and, yes, always a time too (as the saying goes, "it's 5 o'clock somewhere.")

Before I begin, please note that this post is limited to alcohol consumed in the basic drink format (as opposed to shots, funnels, shotguns, etc.). To learn more about shots, you should visit the Barcelona Bar on 8th Avenue. To learn more about funnels and shotguns, you should visit your local College or University. Also, this is not intended to be an expose on the world's finest spirits. I understand that the brands I am listing are not considered among the top of the craft. These are simply the ones I drink, given my taste and limited means. On with the fun:

SCOTCH/IRISH WHISKEY: This used to only be about scotch, but lately, I have been learning (and loving) to drink Irish whiskey. My parents, enablers that they are, also facilitated this, by bringing home a bottle of Jameson's, personally labeled for my wife and me. Now I enjoy the Irish Whiskeys right along side my favorite scotches (sometimes literally).

Favorite Brands:
The MacAllan 18 Year-Old (though I would accept 25, I actually prefer 18)
The Balvini
BushMills (The Single-Malt 16-Year Old Variety)
Jameson (the good stuff for sipping, the low-rent stuff for Irish Car Bombs)

Perfect For:
Steakhouses (after the meal), cigar bars, NYC Lounges, sipping at home after a hard day at work

GIN: I don't notice very many people my age drinking gin anymore, but there is a certain retro-sophistication about the straight-up martini (gin, of course). Being a martini snob, I don't have much regard for the vodka martinis, favored by many these days. To me, the classic martini is gin, straight-up with very little dry vermouth (if any). The olive or lemon twist are classic, but since I dislike both, I go with a lime (I call it the "Bookitini"). While I'm being a snob, two other points: (1) I don't care what it says on the menu, those sour apple and fruit punch-flavored confections are not martinis, they are sex on the beach served in a long-stemmed cocktail glass (any place claiming to specialize in such drinks usually cannot make a real martini to save its life) and (2) martinis should be mixed by stirring, and not shaking, because shaking causes the ice to melt more quickly and dilutes the alcohol; to quote President Bartlet on The West Wing, "James Bond was ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it."

Favorite Brands:
Bombay Saphire

Perfect For:
Steak Houses (before the meal); cabaret lounges, The Dresden Room in LA

TEQUILA: I am not the fan of tequila that some of my friends are (particularly those who went to Ohio State), but any discussion of liquor necessitates a mention of Mexico's contribution to world spirits. Tequila is coming on strong as a high-end liquor and, in my opinion, could be the "new scotch."

Favorite Brands:
Patron (for drinking)
Jose Cuervo (for margaritas & shots)

Perfect For: Cinco de Mayo, a Table at PM or Lotus for $300 per bottle

BOURBON: Over the past 3-4 years, I have become a HUGE bourbon fan. Yes, we all dabbled with Jack and Jim Beam in college, but I am talking about stuff just a little better and more palatable. Because so many Scotches tend to have that smokey flavor, I favor bourbon as my rocks drink of choice in the warmer months. Also, bourbon is the All American spirit, made without assistance from our friends across the pond in Scotland & Ireland, so drinking it is Patriotic (or, at least, that's what I tell myself).

Favorite Brands:
Knob Creek
Maker's Mark (when I was in Louisville for the Derby back in 2001, everyone was drinking Maker's. That's enough of an endorsement for me)

Perfect For: A warm summer's evening, The Kentucky Derby (by itself or in a mint julep); NYC Clubs & Lounges (at least, for me).

VODKA: I am not a big vodka drinker, but vodka is extremely popular among people of my generation (and younger). Personally, I think it's because the taste is so bland that vodka blends with a variety of mixers so easily and smoothly. Further undercutting any claim of vodka as a quality spirit is this blind taste test by the New York Times, in which participants chose lower-shelf resident Smirnoff as their overwhelming favorite.

Favorite Brands:
Grey Goose
Kettle One

Perfect For: Any time you want a mixed drink that tastes like something else.

CHAMPAGNE: My wife and I are big fans of champagne, notwithstanding the wicked hangover it causes. The taste is good, the carbonation gives it a little kick, and you just feel so damn classy drinking it out of those skinny flutes (it also tastes good straight out of the bottle). While most rappers and sons of North Jersey Crime Bosses prefer Cristal and Dom, there are some moderately-priced bubblies that are quite good as well:

Favorite Brands:
Piper Heitseick
California's Korbel
New Mexico's (yes, New Mexico's) Gruet--Try this, it's good.
There is also, Andre, the preferred champagne for pouring over your teammates head when you win a championship (but never, ever, consume orally).

WINE: I am not a connoisseur of wine, but I do like to drink it. My wife and I are big fans of the table wines that can be purchased at the local vintners for under $12.00, which we consume with the delicious homecooked meals she prepares during the week. Since I know so little about actual brands, I will just throw out a few types of wines and with what or where I like to consume them:

Favorite Types:
Shiraz (with steak or for watching Lost)
Cabernet (with meat, chicken or at PJ Clarkes)
Chianti (with Italian food)
Pino Noir (giant bottles are good for bar-b-q's)
Gruner Veltiner (great outdoor summer wine)
Pino Griz (not to be confused with Pino Grigio

SPECIALTY DRINKS & COCKTAILS: There are, of course, thousands upon thousands of varieties of mixed drinks. Generally, I don't like mixing fine-tasting liquor with beverages as pedestrian as juices, sodas and creams. However, the mixed cocktail is appropriate for certain special occasions:

Frozen Margaritas, Daquiris & Pina Coladas--Normally I would never advocate consumption of such feminine libations, but there are key exceptions for sunning by the pool or beach or at beach bars specializing in such concoctions (eg, the Banana Bailey's Colada at Cyrill's Fish House in Amagansett).

The Hurricane--Rum & juice blend, the Specialty of Pat O'Briens in New Orleans. Also, enjoyable is the Hand Grenade, specialty of Pat O's Bourbon Street neighbor Tropical Isle.

Long Island Ice Tea--Most appropriate at the Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, Indiana Notre Dame during game weekends.

BEER: No discussion of alcohol is complete without beer. If beer commercials have taught me anything, it's that people drinking beer are always having a good time. Yes, there are many, many, many varieties of beer, some of which are very sophisticated and quite good. However, frat-boy that I am (or was), my beer palette is not quite that discerning, so I'm not going to write about those "fancy" beers. (For some excellent perspectives on gourmet beer, you should check out the Friday Beer Blogging at Balloon-Juice.com.) As for me, and my ordinary tastes, here are my preferences, by location (unlike the other categories here, my taste in beer is dependent upon the setting in which I am consuming it):

Perfect for/Favorite Brands:

Cold Winter Afternoon at the Pub: Guinness, or Black & Tan (on Draught, of course--love the traditional spelling)
Spring/Fall Weekday Afternoons Inside the Bar: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stella Artois, Brooklyn Lager (on Draught)
Indoor Drinking Games & Watching Sports at Blondies or Down the Hatch: Coors Light Pitchers (Miller and Bud are acceptable, but I want pitchers)
Outdoor Beach Parties and Bars: Corona Extra (and the "Crazy Corona" which is made by sipping the beer out of the neck of the bottle, puring in a shot (I choose rum, but I have seen vodka), "rolling" the bottle to mix it up, and then enjoying a beer/liquor hybrid. Mmmmm Good.
Bar-b-q's: Any of the aforementioned brands, but in bottles (or a keg).
Outdoor Ballgames, Tailgates and when Too Drunk to Consume Anything Else: Bud Light, Miller Light (or Bud & Miller, for skinnier people) all in bottles

I'm sure I have more to say about this topic, but I guess those opinions are tucked away in the brain cells I've murdered through my past consumption of all the aforementioned libations, never to be heard from again.


  • I must add that as far as Scotch goes, discounting the obvious Johnny Walker Blue bias, the tastiest Scotch I have ever enjoyed (especially one under $100) is the Glenfiddich 15 year Solera Reserve. Link can be found here:

    By Blogger Count Choculitis, at 9:43 AM  

  • "I love scotch...scotchy scotch scotch." Actually, no I don't. Not a huge scotch fan, so I can't rightly comment on that. And I despise gin. But I do have an opinion on beer. My additional thoughts for your categories:

    Cold Winter Afternoon at the Pub: How about a little love for Boddington's here?

    Spring/Fall Weekday Afternoons Inside the Bar: Harp is a fine choice here too.

    Indoor Drinking Games & Watching Sports at Blondies or Down the Hatch: Since I hate Coors Light, I have to go with Bud or Bud Light pitchers only.

    Outdoor Beach Parties and Bars:
    Red Stripe! Hooray beer!

    Bar-b-q's: I used to drinking something called Blackened Voodoo with my BBQ at Jimmy's. Good stuff. I haven't had that in a while.

    Outdoor Ballgames, Tailgates and when Too Drunk to Consume Anything Else: No problem with your choices.

    By Blogger Toasty Joe, at 10:46 AM  

  • "That is Damn Good Scotch. I Could do a Commercial for this Stuff. Mmmmm, Boy that Hennigans Goes Down Smooth. And Afterwards You Don't Even Smell."

    That title killed me. That was just on the other day.

    Scotch and water is nicey nice. Throw in a cigar and loose sluts and you have yourself a night.

    By Blogger michael o., at 1:48 PM  

  • I knew I would leave some things out.

    Choculitis is right about the Blue, even though I'm not a huge fan of the blended scotches. I have not tried that particular Glennfiddich, but I will look for it at the scotch tasting tonight.

    Toasty Joe is correct about Red Stripe. That is great warm-weather beer (and, as a bonus, it reminds you of Jamaica). I used to drink blackened-voodoo (a product of the Dixie brewing company, by the way) a lot when I was younger, but I've lately found it too dark to enjoy on a warm day.

    Re: the Title--I chuckle every time I read that. Space prevented me from including the rest of the quote, but I'll run it here:

    "That is damn good scotch. I could do a commercial for this stuff. Mmmmm, boy that Hennigans goes down smooth. And afterwords you don't even smell. That's right folks. I just had three shots of Hennigans and I don't smell. Imagine, you can walk around drunk all day. That's Hennigans, the no-smell, no-tell, scotch."

    By Blogger BookieD, at 2:00 PM  

  • Isn't that the episode with TV's Michael Chiklis (of "The Shield" fame)?

    By Blogger Toasty Joe, at 2:07 PM  

  • No--This quote came from "The Red Dot" (which did feature David Naughton, who starred in American Werewolf in London & Hot Dog: The Movie) You're thinking of "The Stranded" in which Jerry and Elain end up stranded at a party on Long Island.

    By Blogger BookieD, at 2:59 PM  

  • Ah...maybe I got confused because I remember a scene in which Kramer is getting drunk on Jerry's couch with Michael Chiklis in The Stranded. I thought the Hannigan's quote tied in somehow.

    p.s. American Werewolf is one of my favorite movies of all time. The one with David Naughton, that is, not the one that was made in the late '90s starring That Guy From "That Thing You Do!"

    By Blogger Toasty Joe, at 3:38 PM  

  • Ah...maybe I got confused because I remember a scene in which Kramer is getting drunk on Jerry's couch with Michael Chiklis in The Stranded. I thought the Hannigan's quote tied in somehow.

    He did. They got drunk and got hookers, but different episode than the quote.

    By Blogger michael o., at 3:56 PM  

  • He did. They got drunk and got hookers, but different episode than the quote.

    Let me change that. They got drunk and Chiklis got a hooker, which Jerry than got arrested for paying for (I think) or got caught by someone.

    By Blogger michael o., at 3:56 PM  

  • By the way, here's some trivia for you seinfeld-philes. Tonight's pitcher for the pirates is SUCK ME candidate Ian Snell. In which episode of Seinfeld did we hear the last name "Snell"?

    By Blogger Toasty Joe, at 4:24 PM  

  • Snell...Stephen Snell? Did Kramer use that as a fake name?

    By Blogger michael o., at 4:53 PM  

  • Close - when he made an appearance on "Murphy Brown," he played a typist named Stephen Snell.

    By Blogger Toasty Joe, at 5:00 PM  

  • Ah, I love that episode. Him fake typing on the key board was hysterical.

    I'm out. Need beer....

    Enjoy watching Pedro destroy the poor Pirates. In the spirit of kicking the little guy, I'm going to go beat up a nine year old.

    By Blogger michael o., at 5:30 PM  

  • Speaking of the Seinfeld hooker, did anyone else notice how the women on the show got progressively better looking (ultimately reaching near super-model status) as the show went on? Remember in the very first episode, the woman that Jerry was meeting at the airport.....she was heinous. Then think of who he was dating the last few years of that show.....hot mamas, all of 'em.

    By Blogger Count Choculitis, at 9:11 AM  

  • obviously you are forgetting that Jerry was temporarily engaged to Jeanine Garafolo for two episodes.

    By Blogger Toasty Joe, at 10:12 AM  

  • The list of hot chicks who did guest stints in Seinfeld is ridiculous. One day, I'll do a post about it.

    By Blogger BookieD, at 1:31 PM  

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