Them Good Old Boys Were Drinkin' Whiskey & Rye

Sunday, May 4, 2014

As a general rule, my drink of choice is cheap beer - Miller Lite, Bud Light, PBR. The fanciest I ever get is Yuengling or the occasional Sam Adams. "Fanciest." I know.

It's sort of embarrassing to be a perfectly normal adult with otherwise decent life taste who only likes bad beer. Other people get so excited about lagers & malts & "notes" & flavor pairings. I kid you not, I was at The Fainting Goat with some friends recently, & one of them was thrilled to find a fresh hop in his fancy beer - like, a tiny little flower, packed into the bottle! But um, I hate hops. Please get your fresh hop away from me.

I've mostly come to terms with my drink preferences, but I'd still like to be a person who enjoys normal, not humiliatingly terrible types of alcohol. That's why I was excited, albeit also incredibly nervous, to visit The Whisky Attic last month while in Vegas with friends. Located atop the biggest beer bar in the country, The Whisky Attic is home to 850 kinds of whiskey (whisky? I don't know these things), lining the walls like books in a library. How did I, self-proclaimed lover of cheap beer, end up at such a fine & foreign-to-me establishment? Some of my fellow travelers fancy themselves quite the whiskey aficionados, & they were enthusiastic about adding new whiskeys to their love lists. I was just (mostly) enthusiastic about the prospect of trying to become a person who doesn't hate whiskey.

We set up a private tasting in which our Whisky Attic host, J.D., taught us a brief history of whiskey & how to employ the Carmer Spirits Tasting Enhancement Method (C:STEM), a whiskey-tasting method developed by the bar's owner. After our backgrounder, J.D. asked each of us a few questions about our personal preferences - what whiskey we already drank, how spicy we liked our foods, whether we liked the flavors of chocolate, caramel, & butterscotch - & then he created individual tastings for each of us based on our responses.

Prior to this, I'd tried whiskey only a handful of times - whiskey sours at a cousin's bat mitzvah, a 7 and 7 here & there, a tiny sip of a friend's peaty whiskey that made me feel like I was going to die because I hated it so much. It should go without saying, then, that I didn't have high hopes about my tasting.

But as it turns out, those Whisky Attic folks are pretty damn good at their jobs. Of the five whiskeys J.D. chose for me, I only hated one - & to my surprise, I found that I actually liked the rest! In fact, I liked them enough that I made note of the four good ones, & the next week, I went to my favorite D.C. liquor store (yes, I have one of those) (it's 1 West Dupont Circle Wine And Liquor, & I call it "The Magic Liquor Store"), & I bought my first bottle of whiskey. It was a moment of pride, lemme tell ya, for everyone except my wallet. Ouch.

This week, I finished my first bottle of whiskey, too - & then today, I attended the DC Funk Parade, where I drank only PBR. Hey, I'm a girl who knows what I like - but it's nice to know I can be a little bit more high-brow if I so choose. Bottoms up!

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