Whisky or Whiskey?
Golf – the game of Scottish shepherds. Whisky – the drink of Scottish shepherds. Whiskey – the drink of Irish shepherds. Did you see the difference in the spelling?
Whisky/ey is a Gaelic word – original to both the Scots and the Irish. To differentiate from Scottish whisky, the Irish added an e. And the Americans also added the e to their bourbon whiskey – except for Makers Mark bourbon, which refers to itself as whisky because of its Scottish heritage.
I’ll admit that I’m partial to all three forms of whiskey. And I’m pleased and surprised that whiskey has become so popular – especially bourbon. About seven years ago I went on a boys golf trip to Palm Springs. Our hotel had a pretty big bar – but had only one bottle of bourbon (Jim Beam) … I’m not kidding. And had only two bottles of Irish whiskey – Jameson (Catholic) and Bushmills (Protestant). The Scotch whisky selection was decent, but mostly blends like Dewars and Johnny Walker.
That’s all changed. The local town of Hopkins has a new liquor store that’s basically whiskeys and beers. They only have a smattering of wine and white booze (gin and vodka). The place is great – it has a tasting area and plays Irish music.
And restaurants and bars are finally getting it. In downtown Minneapolis, “The Butcher & The Boar” has an amazing selection of whiskeys – especially bourbons. And they make great “Old Fashioneds” and “Manhattans” – the two definitive bourbon cocktails.
But some bars have taken the craze to a bad place. A couple of years ago over the Holidays, our family stopped at new “hip” bar. I ordered an “Old Fashioned” and the bartender gave me a condescending lecture about what bourbon to order because they didn’t have Makers Mark. I’ve been drinking “Old Fashioneds” for longer than she’s been alive … pretentiousness is never cool or attractive.
But I love asking bartenders how they make drinks. In fact the best “Old Fashioned” I’ve ever had was made by a women bartender in Charleston (see – I’m not sexist). For her it was a work of art and she knew the intricate history of the drink.
But mostly, I just like to drink whiskey neat – no ice or mix … maybe a drop or two of water.
Remember that old Frank Sinatra song “Love and Marriage” … “go together like a horse and carriage”?
Well, golf and whisky/ey also go together like a horse and carriage. It might not rhyme, but its true.
GM and Head Golf Professional