COLUMN WRITTEN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
I’ll let you into a secret, if you promise not to tell anyone.
Every night at 6 p.m. I stop whatever I’m doing, and unscrew a bottle of single malt whisky. I drink a decent amount from a cut glass tumbler. I then break the serious whisky imbiber’s book of rules and I plop a cube of ice into the glorious drink. Ice actually “burns” the whisky, and the appropriate additive is simply “a wee dram of water.”
My particular favorite tipple is McClelland’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky, from Islay (they produce whisky in 4 regions of Scotland and this is the one with the green label on the container). It is found wherever your wine and spirits buying takes you. And it hovers around $22 a bottle.
The island of Islay is one of the traditional whisky producing regions of Scotland. This product, typical of Islay (pronounced Aye Lah) is full-bodied, smoky, and peaty with a magnificent complex flavor. By the way, if you happen to be interested in Scottish whisky (remember no “e” if it’s from Scotland here’s a website for you: http://www.malts.com/index.php/en_us
This is a good opportunity for me to put an end to a serious insult to the folks from Scotland. I constantly hear people refer to inhabitants of that country as “Scotch.” The drink is Scotch, the people, are Scottish.
One of my heroes was, and still is, Christopher Hitchens (April 13, 1949 – Dec. 15, 2011) the Anglo-American author, journalist, literary critic, polemicist and intellectual. Here is a wonderful extract from his brilliant book: “Hitch-22: A Memoir”:
“‘Making rules about drinking can be the sign of an alcoholic,’ as Martin Amis once teasingly said to me. (Adorno would have savored that, as well.) Of course, watching the clock for the start-time is probably a bad sign, but here are some simple pieces of advice for the young. Don’t drink on an empty stomach: the main point of the refreshment is the enhancement of food. Don’t drink if you have the blues: it’s a junk cure. Drink when you are in a good mood. Cheap booze is a false economy. It’s not true that you shouldn’t drink alone: these can be the happiest glasses you ever drain. Hangovers are another bad sign, and you should not expect to be believed if you take refuge in saying you can’t properly remember last night. (If you really don’t remember, that’s an even worse sign.) Avoid all narcotics: these make you more boring rather than less and are not designed — as are the grape and the grain — to enliven company. Be careful about upgrading too far to single malt Scotch: when you are voyaging in rough countries it won’t be easily available. Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop. It’s much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don’t know quite why this is true but it just is. Don’t ever be responsible for it.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have an appointment with a whisky tumbler. Cheers!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining