One of my first memories of when I drank whisky (because let’s just forget the college years that consisted of endless shots of Jack Daniels and Jameson) was on my golden birthday. I turned 22 on 2/22 (or 22/2 if you’re European). The night before was a Tuesday night, and every Tuesday night meant going out to Lipstick and dancing until 2 a.m. Of course, to celebrate, friends bought me drinks, and one friend, Brian, convinced me to drink whisky; prior to that I had always been a rum (ew no) or vodka (yes plz) drinker. So I bought two shots of Crown Royal–one for me and one for him–and that was that.
Later that summer, I got into drinking Black Velvet, because another friend, (also a Brian), used to buy it all the time because it was cheap. It was also pretty gross, but that was part of its appeal, because no one else wanted to drink it. We would crash house parties in Midtown or go on bike rides downtown and he always seemed to have a bottle in tow.
After college ended, I didn’t really drink much whisky–that is until I started my post-graduate work. I quickly became part of a wonderful group of ladies, and one of our favorite activities was to have BBQs and potlucks at our friend C.’s home located out past the city limits, above a barn. There, we would drink whisky and dance to Fleetwood Mac, Edward Sharpe, and others. With the exception of a few other one-off occasions, such as drinking Bulliet at The Future, my whisky drinking always happened in the company of these ladies.
Now I live in Berlin, and I am married to a man who is a bit of a whisky purist. He pretty much only drinks single-malt Scotch, with a preference for Islay and Speyside whisky. As a result, I make it a personal goal to try and get him a nice bottle every year (2012, 2013), and as such, I also am acquiring a bit of taste for whisky.
So when the Berlin Yelp Elite event for December was a tasting demonstration was held at a relatively new spot, Berlin Whisky and Wine, naturally I asked if I could bring M. along. As a generous post-wedding present, the CM said yes, and so that’s how, on Dec. 2, we found ourselves en route to Pankow.
Upon arriving, we chatted with others in the group, then took our seats in the small, cozy, candlelit room and listened as Carla (an Irish lady who works for Jameson) and Craig (the Scottish man who owns the shop) taught about the history, tradition, and methods of making whiskey (in Ireland) and whisky (in Scotland). In the meantime, we tasted three of each kind of drink (three variations of Jameson and three different Scottish whiskys) and enjoyed snacks that were paired with them (although unfortunately, none of which I could eat, except the bread/crackers and some delicious Italian olive oil). We also had a quiz at the end (the winner took home a bottle) and were given mini Jameson bottles to take with us.
All in all, it was a really informative night, and M. and I both enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. I can say for certain that I prefer Scottish whiskys, and I look forward to expanding my palate over the years to come.