Category: Whisky
drinking, Funny, Political Controversies, Rule 4, Whiskey, Whisky

Irish Hipsters Compare Their Booze to America’s

I've got two fun videos that entertain yet say a lot about drinking tastes and booze-making skills on either side of the Atlantic. The first is about beer, and the second is about whiskey vs whisky. In each we watch as a group of Irish hipsters...
So, what's the group word for hipsters? You know, a Murder of crows, a Bloat of hippos, a Congress of Owls...
Heh. A "Congress of owls"... You know, because owls are supposed to be wise, and Congress is, um, demonstrably not.
Yeah! Wait... You're getting me off topic in the middle of my interruption!
Now you know what it feels like!
Harumph. Names like this usually come from what the group is or does, like a Skulk of Jackals. And since a Nuisance of housecats is already taken...
OK. So these videos present us with a Pose of hipsters from Ireland blind-tasting booze. [caption id="attachment_10803" align="aligncenter" width="530"]Frasier T-Shirt in 2015? Yep, they're hipsters. Frasier T-Shirt in 2015? Yep, they're hipsters.[/caption] The first, I found via LikeCool. They take our Pose of Irishpersons two at a time and present them with an American beer in plastic cups. First they get all squee over the quaint, silly American custom of drinking out of cheap, convenient, clean, and safe drinkware. Then, they try Budweiser, High Life, Brooklyn Lager, Coors Light, and Sam Adams. Watch: I was initially surprised about how kind they were to the King of Beers, but only a little. See, here's my own little mental test of a drinker's character, when they start talking about beer. If they trash Budweiser, I know they are a snob with self-awareness issues. Budweiser is the very definition of drinkable, when it comes to fermented grain. No, there is nothing interesting about it, because there is nothing objectionable about it. If you can't enjoy an afternoon drinking a bucket of cold Buds, you have lost the capacity to just enjoy beer. and I feel sorry for you.
Some of you who know Doug are realizing about now that he has judged you in just this way in the past. Now, don't you feel ashamed?
As for the rest, the Miller and the Brooklyn get mocked, the Sam Adams get a little love, and the Coors Light gets exactly what it deserves. It's all fun and games as they mock American beer in every way that is reasonable to the Irish, and quite understandable to Americans. But here's the thing: they know all the beer they are trying is American. It gets a lot more interesting in the second video. Here, our intrepid drinkers are presented with a side-by-side samples of one American and one Irish whisk(e)y, and must choose which they prefer. They pick up little signs to signify their choice. If they see our guy, who-wishes-he-were-a-king-but-isn't-so-suck-it-Barack, they chose the Whiskey, and if they see their pasty white guy, who-totally-isn't-the-Queen-and-we'll-totally-punch-you-in-the-nose-if-you-suggest-he-might-as-well-be, they chose the Whisky. The results? Yeah, Michael Higgins doesn't get a lot of face time. The American's just crush the Irish in this test, folks. [caption id="attachment_10806" align="aligncenter" width="448"]USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA![/caption] To be fair, there isn't a lot of practical applicability to this kind of test. I would personally make the American choice in all three of these comparisons. But. Whenever I walk into a place and the bartender is clearly in the weeds, or just look like they couldn't mix a Rum and Coke without help, I always, always order a Jameson neat. Why? See my comments about Budweiser above. The Irish, they know brown liquor, though it might pain them to acknowledge it in the context of the contest we just watched. Why? Well, re-watch the first four seconds of that second video, or try out this little music video I made back when this blog (and my kids) were new to the world. abc
Marketing, Whisky

The Most Brilliant Liquor Ad of the Year… Isn’t

Dear Brother Johnnie Walker is known for producing some truly stunning, entertaining and evocative short films that masquerade as ads. Scotch ads in general are pretty awesome, but Johnnie's have been the best. I think it is because they leant so far into their mythos. Gently driving images of Scotsmen of indeterminate age but indisputable attractiveness, walking relentlessly across misty Scottish moor and mountain, exuding from every frame a sense of restrained, subtly joyous manliness will evoke the realization that while the Romans may have invented stoicism, the Scots made it worthwhile. Whatever one's consciously identified ethos, just beneath the surface of the mind, all men want to be the characters in Johnnie Walker ads, and all women want to be with them. And their latest ad takes it up a notch... with a twist, several in fact. The foremost is that Johnnie Walker didn't make it. Watch it now. It's only 90 seconds and well worth every one. Don't read on until you do. That folks, is a student-made spec ad from Germany. I'm pretty sure that 90-second amateur videos don't get Oscar consideration for Best Short Film, but this one should. It's a masterpiece of moving picture story-telling. In less time than it takes (me) to whip up a Rob Roy, it tells a complete story of a life well-lived and tragically cut short, of familial love, and devotion, and loss. The cinematography is gorgeous, the camera tricks seamless, the music is perfect, and the words are transfixing. It is the film equivalent of Hemingway's legendary (in every sense of the word) six word short story, "For Sale, baby shoes, never worn." And as an advertisement, it is almost perfect. The story doesn't just touch, it pounds on a central element of human existence that any person of an age to be buying Johnnie Walker has begun to confront, and it inserts the product in a subtle way as a central element to both happiness and healing. Its only flaw is that the brand has changed its slogan and its marketing narrative of late from the Keep Walking that was perfect for this story to one that is less so. Still, I wish Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz all the success in the world, in the United States would be preferable. They are the kind of ad makers that can keep me from hitting FFWD on my DVR.abc
Bartenders, drinking, Funny, Whisky

Scottish Alcohol Responsibility Disclaimer

Simon_Brooking This learned-looking individual is Simon Brooking, Beam Suntory's much-awarded Scotch Brand Ambassador. He just visited Columbus to educate the bar-noscienti on Laphroaig, Bowmore, and Auchentoshen. I got a chance to meet him at our USBG presentation. I've said it before, and I'll iterate it here: If you are good enough to be a major brand Global Ambassador, I will happily listen to you talk all day. I won't go into the details of his presentation, because I was enjoying myself too much to take notes. But I did want to post here about the fact that Simon began his talk with a Scottish responsible drinking disclaimer. I was unaware that my ancestral people had drinking disclaimers. I was under the impression that Scots knew it was time to stop drinking when they started missing their mouths with the glass.... Anyway, here is the one he read:
Being moderately taken, (whiskey) sloweth age. It strengthen youth. It cutteth phlegm, abandon melancholy, lighten the mind. It preserveth the head from whirling, the tongue from lisping, the teeth from chattering, the stomach from wombling, the heart from swelling, the hands from shivering, the veins form crumbling. Truly, it is a sovereign drink... if it be orderly taken. Holinshed's Chronicles—1578
Wait. 1578?!? They had safe drinking messages in 1578?
Livers didn't have superpowers back then either. Honestly, I see nothing debatable about this, even today.abc
Broads, Gin, Marketing, Whisky

Mainstreaming of Cocktail Culture: The Blacklist

Greeting Rule 5 Monday folks! I'm not quite sure how I sent Wombat the link to this three year old post! I meant to direct you all to my post Rickey's Gin Dugout about Spring Break and Spring Break Drinks! Sorry! Blacklist Megan Boone James Spader Among the more important elements in growing and sustaining the cocktail movement is the way it is seeping into the popular culture, particularly the entertainment media. The obvious leader here is Mad Men (the show no one watches, and everybody talks about), with its loving ruminations on the importance of a well-made drink. If the world of fine cocktails wants to move beyond the strong fad or wave of fashion stage and embed itself firmly in a place in modern society similar to that of fine wine, it needs shows like Mad Men. But more, it needs scenes like the one that popped up this week on a new NBC show called The Blacklist, a show no one is talking about, but everyone is watching. Below is the entire second episode, embedded for your perusal. NBC doesn't seem to want to let me embed a clip or set the start time, so fast forward to 12 minutes for the scene that concerns us here. NBC may take a few moments to interest you in some insurance or soap before you can watch the video.... Here we see the series's heroic villain (villainous hero?) proantagonist, Raymond "Red" Reddington sitting down with young FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen at a Montreal restaurant. Before I get to the cocktail implications, I'm going to do a brief review of the show, because regardless of your cocktailian proclivities, it is worth a watch. Red is a former government agent who currently holds down the number four spot on the FBI's Most Wanted List, yet he has turned himself in to the feds solely in order to screw with the mind of Keen for some unknown and likely nefarious reason that we'll get a little bit closer to understanding each Sweeps Week. Red is played by James Spader (you know, Ultron), who chews the scenery in a delightfully understated manner and he uses the rest of the cast, and the FBI as a whole, to accomplish lots of Really Good Things, by Really Dubious Means, for reasons that no one understands, but that we viewers imagine are Really Bad. He is stylish, unflappable, decisive, and nearly omnicompetent. He loves a really good drink. Oh, and he's a textbook sociopath. Red's keeper/protegé Liz is played a bit too strongly in the first two episodes as an innocent with things to prove. I think this is to provide contrast to the dark and twisty road that Red (and probably her own past and her apparently too good to be true hubby) will take her on. The rest of the cast is to this point unfleshed out. Most so far remain stock characters that you've seen in a host of other shows. The team leader, Cooper, needs to get some interest quickly before he turns into a black Basil Exposition. Malik is the sweet-faced CIA agent forced upon the team because... Justice always likes to have the CIA around to keep an eye on the FBI or something. Her main role on the show so far is to torture suspects right in front of FBI agents because the CIA is unbound by any law, and to just generally give some ambiguity to Red's evil by being just as heartless. Finally the young FBI field agent Ressler is on the show to look smashing for the ladies while almost being blown up every episode. I snark about these characters because snark is what I do. There is potential in each, combined with Red's already fascinating portrayal and the generally strong stories, this could make for an ongoing hit. Think White Collar, with Hannibal Lecter instead of Neal Caffrey. Now, back to the scene. It was crafted, I guarantee you, by someone who is a genuine cocktail snob who wants to show cocktails as superior to wine, not just a writer in search of a display of sophistication and mentoring (grooming?). Let's break it down. Liz orders first, a glass of chardonnay, as boring and prosaic as you could imagine from someone who isn't really a world class sophisticate. Red immediately overrides her order to the waiter, in French. When the waiter returns with a purple cocktail, Red explains, "Aviation Cocktail. From the 20's. Tastes like... Spring, doesn't it?" The great cocktail in place of the boring wine is meant to be a gift, and also represent another step in taking control of her. But the clear implication here is that he upgraded her. Blacklist Megan Boone The Aviation is less popular today with the top of the cocktail set, but it used to be the cocktail fraternity's Secret Handshake. It is a gateway concoction, and you largely find it on menu these days in markets or areas where the industry is still impressing on the minds of its clientele that cocktails have a next level. Red is using a gateway cocktail as part of a gateway conversation. And like the most effective gateways, the subject doesn't know what she's getting into, with the drink or her relationship with Red. The show also takes great pains make the drink look appealing: It is generally backlit so you can appreciate the exotic purple coloring, etc. (Incidentally, there is no way whatever is in that glass is actually an Aviation. That jewel-like color means there is no lemon juice present, and the purple is so dark you'd need 50% Creme de Violette to get there.) We also get meaning from what Red drinks: a glass of neat whisky. Culturally, this is a cue that here is an older, more mature, and thoroughly masculine man, possessing both wisdom and perhaps inner pain. The scotch symbolizes him. Blacklist James Spader Scenes like this are essential to the mainstreaming of cocktails. First, it appears on a broadcast network, with an audience six times larger than a Mad Men, and ten times as diverse. Second, the drinks are portrayed as distinctly superior, in taste and sophistication, to wine. Third, the drinks are used to advance the story, and at multiple levels. Also, this episode is evidence of how far toward that end cocktails have come, for exactly the same reasons. In the event you haven't had an Aviation lately, or ever, I think I'll finish with what I think is the best recipe, along with a picture of what one really looks like (equally as gorgeous, but perhaps less videogenic.) This is the exact recipe I happened to have just made for myself before my wife and I sat down and hit play on the DVR to watch this week's The Blacklist. The looks on our faces at the twelve minute mark were priceless, I'm sure. Aviation
UN COCKTAIL DE L'AVIATION
  • 2 oz. light, floral gin (Bombay Sapphire or a good New American style like Aviation)
  • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • scant 1/4 oz. creme de violette
Combine ingredients with plentiful ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass, then gently place a single brandied cherry in the bottom.
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