Admittedly, I am a lightweight when it comes to distilled spirits. I enjoy such libations as a good Pina Colada, Margarita, Tequilla Sunrise or Fuzzy Navel as opposed to a shot of bourbon, neat, on the rocks. Occasionally, I can work my way through a Whiskey Sour or a Baileys and coffee……but never scotch. To me it tastes a little like a shot of liquor the dog has peed in that was left too close to the campfire……..
My father, a man of respect, drank scotch. He took his drink with a little water and occasionally a jigger of Drambuie, a drink known as a Rusty Nail……surely named after the source of the tetanus infection resulting from stepping on the same. My friend, Ralph, is a top shelf scotch drinker….a practice that shows class and dignity when barside, and results in me finding a quiet corner of the bar to nurse my “umbrella drink” less I embarrass the big boys quaffing scotch as they recount tales of daring. To the casual observer, it would appear the tears in their eyes are resulting from the memory of past accomplishments and battles won…….in truth, the tears are from drinking scotch, smelling of peat moss and fireplace ashes, the pleasure of which they paid handsomely.
The very first time I was intoxicated, it was the result of drinking a fine scotch whiskey named Clan McGregor. I chased the awful stuff with Coke…..a combination that causes purists to wretch uncontrollably. I didn’t know any better in those days, when a six pack of Country Club malt liquor, a small fresh pizza and two bucks got my date and I into a drive-in movie. My fervent, red blooded American male strategy was centered on the premise the pizza and malt liquor would result in missing much of the movie……..but that is another story. Perhaps my first experience with a scotch whisky that could be bought for four bucks a fifth, mixed with Coke, began my distaste for the stuff.
All scotch must be made in Scotland. Google any article or description of the stuff and you will quickly find the common denominator for it’s production. Some comes from the highlands, some from the lowlands, important as all scotch has a regional flare to it. What most of the world doesn’t know is where the water that is used in the distillation process comes from.
One early fall evening, after being forced to drink the awful stuff following a successful crappie expedition, and looking for a suitable place to throw up my last shot of a premium scotch, I stumbled on two kilted men, carefully ladling water out of old discarded tires into clay jugs. Upon inquiry, they explained they were obtaining water to use in making scotch. The water from radial tires went into premium, top shelf scotch……the water from tractor tires and bias belted tires into the lesser expensive blended scotches. They swore me to secrecy, never a wise thing to do to a wretching, scotch soaked fisherman. I signed nothing so……..now you know.
No doubt, my revelation concerning the origins of scotch will offend the purists among us that have “acquired” a taste for this smoky, peat moss filtered libation, and admittedly, my memory isn’t what it once was….but the vision of the two kilted gentlemen carefully ladling water is what I saw…….
That is my scotch addled memory of that fall evening, yet another reason not to drink the stuff, and I am sticking to it.