Sunday, February 12, 2012

Revisiting a classic

I started drinking Scotch and soda when I started going to bars. I didn't much care for the taste, but I suppose I liked the sophistication of it, at least as compared to the Seven & Sevens and Long Island Iced Teas the people I started going to bars with were ordering.

That phase didn't last long, and I soon settled into Scotch on the rocks and Manhattans as my cocktails of choice.

A few decades later, I watched Ralfy's Whisky Review #264 Part 2, in which he offers three suggestions for drinking good blended whiskey:
  1. If it's a whiskey that needs time to open up, leaving a quarter of your dram in the glass when you pour another will help the second dram open up much faster.
  2. Adding a drop or two of good single malt whiskey to a dram of blended whiskey can help extend the experience of the (expensive) single malt.
  3. Adding muddled savory herbs and tonic water to whiskey makes a fine long drink.
The thinking behind #3 is that Coke overpowers the whiskey, plain soda water washes it out, but tonic water's sweetness pairs nicely with the whiskey's sourness.

Well, I have never cared for tonic water. But Ralfy's passing mention of using fennel in a whiskey and tonic brought to mind my recently-purchased bottle of Peychaud's Bitters, with its very pronounced anise flavor.

Just maybe, I thought, a few strong dashes of Peychaud's would make a Scotch and soda I would like to drink.

And, um, no. It still tastes like last night's Scotch on the rocks to me.

Now, I do like whiskey highballs made with soda water, but for me they need the one part sour/two parts sweet to go along with the three parts strong/four parts weak. Experimenting is a big part of the fun (like the bourbon buck I made the other night with key lime marmalade), and I will definitely try some non-mint herbs in the future.

But I think I made the right decision, way back when, to stop ordering Scotch and soda.

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