It has been some time since I’ve checked in here. A long while in internet times even. This deserves attention however.
There is nothing bourbon about this Jim Beam Red Stag. In desperation, with the shelves of the liquor store bare from a week long snow storm that has more or less paralyzed the city while the Mayor went skiing I picked up this bottle of Red Stag, right next to where the familiar black label usually stands. Read the bottle—80 proof, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Black Cherry, story about the majestic red stag elk that calls Kentucky home. I clearly missed the obvious signs that this drink is meant for spiking punch at a school dance rather than neat, in a tumbler. The opposite side of the label says that it “contains all of the pride of the Beam family’s 200 year history.” This is not what I imagined bourbon could ever taste like. There is nothing (besides the stag) leading one to believe a sugary sweet concoction is going to pour from the neck of this bottle. I was willing to gamble that the imagined black cherry smokey flavor might not be so good, but I did not bargain on liqueur. I’ve been had. Like drinking alcoholic maraschino cherry juice. Bad shit on every level.
Jim, your family history must suck. Someone is hooked on the syrup. You have no pride, and apparently no shame. Poison. Do not drink. Luckily I had also purchased wine.
And since you guys love this shit, in other Landis related news Pittsburgh local fast-guy Joe Papp just officially pleaded guilty to selling HGH and EPO to a bunch of clients a couple of years back. There is tons of glory in doping to win a few local crits, for sure. Even more so to juice up a few other folks. Unbelievably, his coaching site is still up and he is still offering up his coaching services. Really? Really.
According to his own website, Mr. Papp represented himself as a “USA Cycling Elite Coach.” He finished in the top 10 at the UCI Pan American Continental Championships road race three times between 1996 and 2005.
During the International 42nd Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in May 2006, Mr. Papp tested positive for testosterone metabolites. He was suspended from competitive cycling for two years. In May 2007, he testified about his illegal use of drugs and the performance-enhancing benefits of them at the trial conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concerning Floyd Landis and his use of drugs during the 2006 Tour de France. He did not testify about whether he sold drugs to Mr. Landis, who had his win in the race taken away for drug use.
Read more: http://postgazette.com/pg/10048/1036489-100.stm#ixzz0foaQ3doF
I came up with a drink. It’s either the Cherry Pie. Or American Pie or American Cherry Pie or something sexual. It’s half Red Stag, half American Honey. Cherry Flavored Jim Beam and Honey Flavored Wild Turkey. It’s nasty. Drink as a shot.
Red Stag is the shit that that asshole Kidd Rock is hawking. Just drink Southern Comfort or Yukon Jack if you want to punish yourself with liqueur. Better yet just get yourself a bottle of Basil Hayden’s or Bookers and sip on a good bourbon…
My brother (who is in Allentown PA enjoying the snow much like those in Pitt) called me the other day saying the exact same thing. Last bottle on the shelf, tasks like crap, and he actually gave it away. I say Michter’s Rye. A giant leap up from all the standard stuff and just a few bucks more.
As a matter of fact, the sauce du jour is Makers Mark as of the past week. Two fingers. Four cubes. It unfolds like warm syrup over the ice, tells me my day is done, and it’s time to relax.
We all get our fifteen right? Joe Papp plays out the obvious tangent of a burgeoning amateur dope show state-side because there’s a niche, and he filled it.
Weke Schauce Peemp.
It might make a good adult cherry coke…. At least that way you won’t waste your coin. Makers Mark is good stuff.
Drink a good Irish or Scotch instead. The bourbon makers already have you hooked on sugar, and a lot of folks mix it with a coke anyway. Remember that honeyed stuff Wild Turkey was selling? My point is that there’s so much sugar in bourbon (70% corn, give or take), it’s practically a liqueur already. But Irish and Scotch whiskies are distilled without sugar, ergo, no hangover, ergo, go on with your badass cycling self. Many of you probably know this already. I’m living proof at work now, 9:35 am in Beijing, after punching through half a bottle of Macallan 12 last night.
Good times. Single malt.
Point taken. Somewhere in my mind I knew this was the case too. I’ll now make the effort to step up to the single malts. Glenmorangie is what I have in mind as it’s all I know. The Makers Mark is not going to make it past ten tonight too, which is a good thing, as you’re right greg, I get those lovely mild headaches in the am that make me feel like I’ve done something wrong.
I’ve had plenty bad hangovers drinking Irish or Scotch… Much of the time the good ones are out of my budget range…
It’s true that some of the decent and yet still low-end Scotch and Irish whiskies can set you back double what you’d drop on a bottle of Beam. And yet, you can still avoid the a hangover on the cheap stuff. The key is to watch what you eat or drink (or mix) with the the Scotch or Irish. You get the munchies, eat a candy bar, drink a Coke, eat fast food, whatever, and you get a sugar bomb. At that point, there’s no difference, drink bourbon instead, the sugar is already mixing it up with the alcohol in your body and you’re going to hurt in the morning. But keep this in mind: When my good Scot-Irish ancestor’s settled in Kentucky and invented bourbon, they did so because there was no little import-export business at that time that could bring them their usual stuff. What did they have to distill? Corn. So, well-intentioned or not, they invented bourbon. Many had been moonshiners in Scotland and Ireland anyway, avoiding the king’s taxes. Now I was born in Kentucky, my last name is County Cork all the way, so I won’t make the following charges too lightly. The Scots-Irish settlers were explorers and adventurers of the first rate, hardy and strong, they’d survived religious purges, potato blights, trans-Atlantic passage, and, you know, rightfully pissed-off Native Americans. These world beaters were Scotch and Irish whiskey drinkers, heavy drinkers at that as you well know, but they did not lose their vigor or purpose when they woke in the morning. But bourbon changed this. Within just a few generations, their progeny drinking bourbon, they were just about as back-assward and provincial as any hillbilly could be. And for those of you who know the rolling hills of Kentucky, where more than 80% of the world’s bourbon is still produced, you know that area first invented bourbon, and then produced the hillbillies. It’s a degenerative drink. The lesson for me is: You only drink bourbon when their ain’t no Scotch or Irish to drink, and then, only when you’ve just got to have a drink. Yes, I understand drinking on a budget. Drink cheap Scotch if you have to. Mix it with a little water and take the edge off. Fill a tumbler if you have to. Munch on some unsalted almonds and a little cheese. Avoid the sugar. Many a fine, up-and-coming man drinks it from the same coffee mug that he’ll then use the next morning, bright and early, on his way out the door. And hey, if some body comes out with a Scotch or Irish whiskey diet, as is the current fad, ride it and lose some weight too.
Greg, fascinating stuff. Decent Scotch or Irish ain’t happenin’ ITTET. And being a brown liquor afficianado on a budget, it makes me wonder: Would I be better off with gin or tequila than bourbon? I suppose given your info about sugar, rum would be a no-no. And I guess the big question is, Vodka-Myth or hogwash?
Clan MacGREGor Scotch, 1.75 LTR $12.99 at Bevmo! how fitting. Pretty scary on the surface but not as much as TEN HIGH or Kentucky Tavern Bourbon. As far as Vodka, you got to be pretty hard up to make booze out of potatoes or cactu for that matter. But I guess you got to do what you got to do.
Actually, many vodkas are distilled from grain these days. It was Greg’s discussion of the side effects of Bourbon vs. Scotch that got me wondering how other spirits compare in that regard.
Nice post, Greg. I’m of Irish extraction and stick with either the Powers or Bushmills 1608 by the handle.
Sound reasoning with regard to the sugar…but as was stated…what about rum? It’s the only thing I drink other than beer…and haven’t always had the hangovers…mixing with Coke, and, in my younger days…Mountain Dew (now THAT’S some sugar for ya!).
Whiskey Rebellion anyone? Without it we may not have bourbon, as there was plenty of old fashioned whiskey being distilled in PA and the rest of the North East before old George Washington tried to tax it and had to bring in an army to collect giving the distilleries of Kentucky and Tennessee (and their relatively newly fashioned corn-mash whiskey) a leg up on things as they were out of federal control.
I distrust vodka. Given normal variations in your own body’s metabolism, vodka can affect you differently from day-to-day. But more than this, what is vodka’s character? Is it not telling that many of what are considered to be the best vodka’s on the market resort to adding various flavorings? And other than branding exercises, the difference between humble and exalted labels has never been clear to me. I’ve enjoyed brown Haitian rum, Barbancourt (8-year usually, but the 15 is sublime), but only with dinners, and then in modest quantities. In my opinion, Havana Club in Cuba itself is nice and doubly so as forbidden fruit for gringos, but frankly it doesn’t compare well with Barbancourt. Plymouth gin with the right vermouth and olives makes a nice martini–the best, some argue–and I agree. But martinis have always been a social drink for me, and making a good martini is a performance to be shared, not what you do or pour in your glass at the end of a hard day when there’s no one to impress aside from your own palette and medicinal needs! And let me emphasize “end of the day” here as well. A martini functions best as an apéritif, no? There are no doubt those among us who use a couple of fingers as a little sleep aid, and for this purpose, again, whether you’re drinking only two fingers or more, Irish and Scotch are your best bets. Alas, it’s 7 am here in Beijing now, and as some of you are just winding down, perhaps pouring a little as you do, I must get ready for work. The end of the Chinese New Year’s “Golden Week” of vacation must be paid for by working on Saturday and Sunday, the start of a seven day stretch that will cripple many of us by Wednesday…
I’ll second the Barbancourt 15. One of the best. As for cactus squeezings, I’ve switched to the Hacienda Sotol. Same process and quality as top shelf tequila different agave. I prefer the flavor (dirtier) and the anejo will blow the doors off of tequilas costing twice as much. Even the blanco is quite sippable.
Damn! I feel like I should be paying tuition. Seriously.
When I’m moneyed, I go heavy on the single malts. I have been known to swim laps in Glenmorangie, in all her wonderful faces & variations. Another real gem is a glass of Laphroaig. My god, that is wonderful stuff.
When I’m a little slimmer in the wallet (as in now), I keep a bottle of Knob Creek about. She works her magic just fine. Not quite as over-the-top enjoyable as the above mentioned single malts, but enjoyable just the same.
I remember once as a young man my grandfather confronted me about a personal problem. See I was drinking cheap booze. I admitted and justified my actions by saying that I was a poor student. He replied in his heavy Danish accent, “that is a piss poor excuse. if you can afford to drink at all you are doing yourself a disservice not spending the few pennies more per drink to live for that pleasurable instant like a millionaire.” God rest that old man’s soul. That is a personal motto that I have lived by ever since.
A good affordable Irish – Tullamore Dew. I picked up a 1.75 at Bevmo! last Tuesday for $27.99
Tullamore Dew Irish 1.75 LTR $27.99
I wish I could find Green Spot in TX… It’s hard enough to find outside of Ireland, impossible in TX.
No shit! I even went to a fancy bottle shop called Cask here in San Francisco this past Monday. Their web site said they had it, green spot that is. But ahh… it was a mistake, not in inventory, and didn’t even say they could get it. Don’t know if you have ever tried Redbreast $45 or Middetons Rare $130, pricy but quite exquisite.
Now excuse me… my week is done and I am going to pour a few fingers of Irish.
“Tullamore Dew Irish 1.75 LTR $27.99”
gut— stop it, I’m tearin’ up here.
Gutpile is my brother, he sent me the link this site to see if it’s blocked in China. Obviously, it ain’t. Other than this, despite favoring mom’s side of the family, in other words, the Danes, he prefers the Irish. Go figure. Of course, he keeps a bottle of Akvavit in the freezer just to make things nasty every once in a while. And he named his boy Jaeger, poor little bastard… I can’t explain it; I guess California just messes with your mind.
There are four bottles that I absolutely refuse to live without:
1- Ron Zacapa Dos Centenario 23 year old (SPECTACULAR rum from Guatemala… two fingers 1 ice cube)
2- Macallan 18 year old single malt (Two fingers no ice… the 12 will do just fine when funds are low)
3- Jameson 18 year old (Two fingers no ice sipped between swallows of beer)
4- Bushmills (whatever is on sale… In coffee or hot chocolate)
Life is too short. I refuse to wear uncomfortable shoes or drink bad hooch.
Famous Grouse is my ‘Absolut of scotch’ when I need it to be.
Aberlour 10 is a nice one for a decent price.
Glenlivet is the one the missus likes.
I been getting into Fighting Cock bourbon as well as a bit of Rye lately.
I’ll be heading to the store now boys. Wish me luck in choosing my evening’s beverage.
Also, Vodka neat is an interesting exercise. It’s when they are slightly below room temps that you do get a bit of variety and flavors in each.
If you can drink Vodka not teeth-numbingly frozen-slurpee cold.
I’d rather have my teeth hurt from the cold, but again, maybe I need to go check out the Russian store nearby.
For vodka, try Tito’s. It’s a grain based vodka from Austin that regularly beats the big boys I’m taste tests. In my book, vodka is best for mixing, but to each their own… Down here it’s running about $17 for a 750ml… It makes one hell of a caiproski.
I had to look that one up:
Yes, that sounds just fine.
If you are drinking Laphroig, do yourself a favor and get the 16-year old. It’s about twenty bucks more but a world apart. Still has the peat body-slam but not so damn sweet and a much more complex flavor.
One step up from that is Lagavulin, a bit pricey but it kicks the pants off the other scotches mentioned here. Above Lagavulin I am afraid to go, for fear of bankruptcy.
Perhaps I should mention that it was E himself that introduced me to the glorious elixir that is Laphroig? Yes. I should mention that.
caipirinha is good. sugar and alcohol, how could it be bad? Gotta check out Tito’s.
Sugar doesn’t cause a hangover. As with about anything, moderation is the key if you don’t want to feel like hell later. Drink enough ethanol and you will hurt.
Darker alcohols are darker because they tend to contain more stuff, both desirable for unique flavors and by-products, some of which are pretty nasty. Charred casks? Think about what is being extracted. Aged scotch? Check out ethyl carbamate. Vodka and other clear alcohols can be distilled multiple times (thus the clear color) and can be “cleaner” in general. They don’t have much flavor aside from ethanol because that is what they are for the most part, and why they mix with some many things. It is a vehicle for pumping in the juice. Not sexy really, which is why so many people choose to dress it up so many different ways, and make it probably one of the most palatable alcohols around in the end. Lot of people aren’t drinking for flavor and vodka is simplicity for those types.
Regardless, the body metabolizes ethanol, which is the magic dust in just about all alcohols, and some of the byproducts are not loved by our bodies. (acetaldehyde) And just like almost anything, the body’s ability to process any given chemical can vary from day to day. The more chemicals present, the more complicated it can become, and thus the more likely to see variations in how you might feel, which is our gauge of what is going on inside. This will hold true for any alcohol you drink.
Now wheres the Becherovka?
The caipirinha is normally made with the Brazilian cane squeezings of cachaça… not something particularly good to drink straight. It’s like the mean side of rum. It’s not really a refined alcohol, but that’s why it was used in a mixer that is the national drink of the Brazilian working class. Caipirinha essentially means “hillbilly”… I like making it with rum (caipirissima), vodka, or sotol/tequila (no name yet… caipirila?) Hell, lime and sugar make a lot of things drinkable. The different variations are all good, but dangerous. You’re drinking mostly straight liquor.
Another decent vodka is the Dripping Springs (TX), although I don’t think it’s available nationally yet.
I’ve had the younger Laphroig. It does pack a mighty peat punch. I’ve wanted to try the the elder, but don’t see it in the local stores often. Not when I’ve had the funds anyways…
They only make 500 cases of the Green Spot each year, so when you’re store runs out, it’s done for a while. I had a friend who brought a bottle back from Ireland a few years ago, and I fell in love.
Your bad for falling for that shit. There is no room in bourbon for fruit. It’s all about whiskey and burnt wood. Add any fruit and it turns to shit.
See, here’s the joke about Scotch vs. Bourbon: You can only call it Bourbon if it meets the standards, and one of them is that it must be charred in new oak barrels.
Well, that’s alot of barrels that can’t be reused for Bourbon. So what happens to ’em? Well, I’ve got one in the backyard that the wife likes to use as a planter. Cool and all, and I s’pose those were some tasty ‘maters.
But alot of the barrels (the lion’s share if my sources are worth a fiddler’s fuck) get sent to Scotland where-guess what?-they are used to age that hoity-toity single malt.
Yeah, yeah, the grain is different (malted barley vs. corn) and the process ain’t the same. But still-Ain’t it alittle like that bitch you dumped (or vice versa)? Every time her new guy kisses her he’s sorta sucking youyr dick.
Not trashing Scotch. Got a glass (my third-ish, but who’s counting) right here. And the Jameson I had with dinner last night was like being kissed by an angel. Bourbon? You betcha; great lashings of Wild Turkey when the spirit (huh, huh) moves me. Just sayin’ it’s a freaky world.
I’m going to bed.
Maybe after another drink.
*Meant to say ” aged in new charred oak barrels”. But I’ve had a few.
I just enjoyed two fingers of Glenmorangie and although it is more distinct, I’m happy with either bourbon or single malt. Same same difference.
When damn certain the wife won’t see the receipt, I’m a Middleton man; otherwise, Macallan 15–(the diff between the 15 and 18 is subtle in mouth, but not on the wallet). Haven’t seen either it in China, some I’m sticking with Macallan 12. The next step up that’s available here is Walker Blue, which in my book, just doesn’t live up to its price either. HOWEVER, there is a Cohiba store just around the corner, which rounds out the 12 quite nicely. So I wouldn’t call this suffering.
My wife texted me a few minutes ago as I sat here pounding away in the law library: She bought me a bottle of 12 yr Glenlivet. I have that to look forward to when I throw in the towel after about 8 hours of reading law books. And, yes, it does make it easier to get through the day’s workload. And, yes it does make the heart grow fonder. I am, at times, a very lucky man.
For those who like the Glenmorangie or the MaCallan…an interesting, but lesser known compromise when without $40-50 for those bottles…A big contributor to the Dewar’s blend is Glenmorangie and Famous Grouse is made from MaCallan’s schwag. It’s the question that I always ask when at a scotch tasting with a distillery rep. Ton’s cheaper and after a few you begin to notice some similarities.
I’m sure all the above is good advice. But as I beat these words into ones and zeros, a glass of Jim Beam is on station at Bearing Three Zero relative. I doubt it will be my last drink of the evening.
And tomorrow? The wand’ring minstrel said it best-“Tomorrow never knows”.
This is wonderful. You have hit every point. I laughed out loud at some of them….it is me. I needed a jolt. Thank you from my heart.