It all started in school. Huh? What? Not, it’s not what you may be thinking right now, I wasn’t drinking in school. It was Ireland-theme time in our English class and one day our teacher came up with a recipe for Irish Coffee. I had just celebrated my 18th birthday by that time and really wanted to try what sounded like a great mixture of coffee (yum… coffee!), Irish Whiskey and unrefined cane sugar. So I set out to buy some whiskey, which wasn’t easy in the small town where I went to school. In the end I managed to score a bottle – proudly flashing my ID stating I was indeed of age. A very strange, yet proud feeling of finally being a grown-up. Funny feeling it was indeed.
So, what did I score? Was it a bottle of Jameson’s? Redbreast? Tyrconnell? No, no and no. I came home with a bottle of Jim Beam. Oh dear. I knew it wasn’t Irish, but I thought it was still whiskey and all whiskeys would taste the same. Little did I know. Oh, and it was on sale sporting a nice tumbler as a freebie. Did I mention I knew nothing about drinking whisk(e)y at the time and thought a tumbler to be the perfect glass? I blame it on advertising. One thing I did know: Everybody was drinking Jack Daniel’s at the time and I didn’t want to drink what everybody drank, so I went for the underdog instead. Well, Jim Beam isn’t really an underdog, but “Jacky”, as it’s called over here, surely sees more exposure. These days I still root for the small distilleries and underdogs, but I digress.
So I had purchased my first ever bottle of American Whisky to make an Irish coffee at home. I still remember the trouble getting the mixture of Jim Beam and sugar to burn, as a proper Irish coffee should. But id did burn, I put out the flame by adding the coffee and, well, as far as I remember it didn’t taste that bad. So, of course, I had to try the Jim Beam neat. No, no ice like in the movies. I don’t really remember what it tasted – this all happened pretty much exactly 10 years ago and I haven’t bought a bottle of Jim Beam since – but it certainly did make me curious about whisk(e)y.
So, these were my first contacts with whisk(e)y. Funnily enough I’ve never made an irish coffee since, not even with proper Irish whiskey…
Stay tuned for part 2 which is where the Scots will enter the picture.
What was your first contact with whisk(e)y? Let me know in the comments section below!