TGIF Whiskey

In food on 01/08/2010 at 9:24 pm

Move over Peter Luger, the new king of steaks is the un-aged beefalo porterhouse from Hollister Hill Farm! I just cooked up a deliciously gamey and tender 7 minute portion for dinner, rare to near bloody, so now it’s time for an after-dinner aperitif.

Before that though, let me digress and mention our favorite new snack as well: prawn crackers freshly fried in our new Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer. These are not your mom’s Calbee shrimp chips. Oh no, these are the O.G. uncooked discs that puff up in seconds into Chihuly-eque macchias when plopped into hot grease and contain a hint o’ the sea.

These are the only approved use of prawns, according to our resident prawn expert. They stick to your tongue, are extremely light and crispidy crunchy, so fun to eat. If I had fried up the whole box, I’m sure the other half would have eaten all of them. They also make that nice crackling sound when dunked in soup.

Left: post-fried. Right: pre-pequeñito. Now if only I could find the multi-colored variety.

Anyway, the other half’s dream is to own a cocktail bar, stocked with top shelf liquor and accoutrements (though I don’t know how we’re going to overcome our little missing alcohol dehydrogenase hurdle, and the fact that no one we know willingly traipses west across the Hudson River).

A week before Christmas, we opened up presents since we wouldn’t be in the ‘pit for the actual holiday. The other half received several nips of whiskey from Santa, a sampler set to decide which brand is most agreeable. Santa was inspired after seeing a Cocktail Moment on The Rachel Maddow Show where Dale DeGroff, master mixologist, demonstrated how to make his signature whiskey concoction.

DEGROFF:  It is a cold, coffee-less Irish coffee called the Dubliner.  And I did this in Prague, where they told me the cream didn‘t whip up properly.  But they were just lazy bartenders.

MADDOW:  You made this in the Czech Republic, and they were like, “No, we don‘t whip in Prague”?

DEGROFF:  Yes, they were just too lazy to do it.  Actually, I called it “Molly‘s Milk” after the name of the bar.  But I thought Dubliner sounded better when I got back here.

MADDOW:  Half and half of Jamison and Irish mist. And then you top it off with the whipped cream.

DEGROFF:  It‘s a beautiful thing.  Look at that.

MADDOW:  Dale DeGroff, you‘re very, very fancy.  You‘ve changed the way the country drinks for the better.

Alas, we couldn’t find a nip of Jamison, but here goes the taste test:

Our resident whiskey expert holds court:”Very nice color, a golden wheat, darker than its Scottish brethren. It’s smokey and spicy-smelling. Very sharp. Kinda burns my throat.”

“Paler than Dewar’s, still darker than the rest of the Scots. No noticeable smell besides the alcohol. Surprisingly smooth, with a hint of cigarette ash. But there’s really not much flavor. Meh.”

“Very pale color, like dried straw. Almost a sweet spicy but light smell which is pleasant, very nice. Doesn’t sting my lips. Reminds me of sake with the sweet taste but rounder, if you can get over the whiskey-ness. The 15-year would’ve been awesome.”

The name sounds cool and the woodblock image makes it look respectable. I’m such a sucker for pretty labels and distinguished fonts.

“Also sweet smelling and fruity, but still packs a punch. Very smooth, nice and smokey. There’s something else, I can’t tell what it is. They’re definitely getting better as they get older.”

Appearances are deceiving, but this bottle reminds me of a banker’s lamp green. So I imagine Wall Street types downing this stuff.

“Light, subtle, smells like fall, flavor doesn’t deviate. It’s the roundest of the three Glens, but probably because it’s the oldest. Whiskeys mellow out with age, losing the sharp, lip and tongue-burning sensation. The 18 years are wasted on me.”

The sexiest Glen, due to the shape of the bottle, which is reminiscent of the Flatiron building.

“There no scent, but more fruit than Johnnie Walker. Blech, it’s sharp, with a definite ash aftertaste. Tongues way down!”

I wasn’t sure if this one was legit or not. Luckily the other half exclaimed, this one’s good, I’ve heard of it! when I brought it home from the liquor store down the street. This was when I decided only tasting 3 brands was not enough. But I still wanted to weed out the obviously bad ones like Jack Daniels.

I figured anything that sold for <$20 in the regular sized bottle is probably not worth trying. I only made an exception for Johnnie Walker Red because I couldn’t find the blue label in a nip size, and it’s such the Asian thing to give it as a gift. I had to find out what it tasted like.

“A rustier yellow, the darkest hue of all the tastings. There’s a tinge of sweet fruit, like artificial anti-freeze or Hi Chew peach candy? Smooth, but tastes like pine needles. It doesn’t taste like whiskey at all! I prefer the Glens.”

I didn’t even know this was whiskey, or that it had a reserve edition. All I knew of it was it comes in a purple faux-velvet bag with a drawstring. The color is pinkish compared to the pale golden color of the other brands. Maybe I like it because it doesn’t taste like whiskey, i.e. the bottom of an ash tray at the ghetto bowling alley that hasn’t been emptied in a decade. Apparently, my taste buds aren’t as mature as the other half’s.

The final one is an Irish liqueur, a mix of honey and spices with whiskey, the ringer of the bunch. “It’s golden syrupy, hugs the edge of the glass. It has a sweet, pleasant nose, kind of like a the steak we just ate. The taste is super sweet, like a dessert wine, but not as sickly saccharine. The better alternative to mead. To be consumed in smaller quantities than normal whiskey. Like Bailey’s, put in a very small glass. The true aperitif.”

Drumroll please…and the winner is: THE Glenlivet. Runner-up: Glenfiddich

Whiskey is definitely the nasty old uncle of beer who hasn’t bathed in a week. You can smell him coming a mile away. I don’t understand how people drink it straight up or on the rocks in movies. And the glasses they use for it are huge. One tiny dab on my lips is enough to send me running.

DUBLINER Ingredients:
1 oz. Irish Whiskey
1 oz. Irish Mist Liqueur
Lightly Whipped Unsweetened Cream (whip just enough to float )

Pour spirits into a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill. Strain into a small martini glass and top with one inch of cream.

  1. ‘dat is a LOT of whiskey! though at first i thought they big bottles. santa is kind, other half is lucky!

  2. rocky you like whiskey? you crazy

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