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Whiskey

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

I love reading quotes, especially historical, and inspirational  ones from well-known individuals, or just plain funny ones. Here are 15 of my favorite whiskey quotes that may stimulate you to reach for a bottle of your favorite brand.

“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whiskey, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” (Johnny Carson, 1925-2005, American television host and comedian)

“The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whiskey. By diligent effort, I learnt to like it.” (Sir Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, Prime Minister of Great Britain)

“I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.” (Ava Gardner, 1922-1990, American actress)

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough.” (Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American humorist and novelist)

“Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, I’m thirsty, not dirty.” (Joe E. Lewis, 1902-1971, American actor and comedian)

“I’m on a whiskey diet. I’ve lost three days already.” (Tommy Cooper, 1921-1984, British prop comedian and magician)

“Set up another case bartender! The best thing for a case of nerves is a case of Scotch.” (W.C. Fields, 1880-1946, American comic and actor)

“For a bad hangover take the juice of two quarts of whiskey.” (Eddie Condon, 1905-1973, jazz guitarist)

“I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink Scotch.” (George Burns 1896-1996, U.S. actor and comedian)

“I never should have switched from Scotch to Martinis.” (Humphrey Bogart, 1899-1957, American film actor)

“I now drink healthy … Scotch and carrot juice. You get drunk as hell … but you can still see good.” (Dean Martin, 1917-1995, American singer and actor)

“It is true that whiskey improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it.” (Ronnie Corbett, 1930-2016, Scottish actor and comedian)

“My family was a bunch of drunks. When I was six, I came up missing; they put my picture on a bottle of Scotch.” (Rodney Dangerfield, 1921-2004, American comedian and actor)

“My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.” (William Faulkner, 1897-1962, American author)

“I always take Scotch whiskey at night as a preventive of a toothache. I have never had the toothache; and what is more, I never intend to have it.” (Mark Twain, 1835–1910, American humorist and novelist)

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Countless articles and books include information, charts, diagrams and so forth on how we are supposed to pair cheese with wine and which combinations are made in heaven. (I’ve had a few that were probably made in hell!) Some of the more enlightened folk even recommend and discuss pairing cheese with beer, especially with the tremendous growth of craft beers and brewpubs.

But what about pairing cheese with spirits — you know … whiskey, vodka, brandy, rum, liqueurs and even grappa? It’s really not difficult once you understand the basics of spirits and how their flavors can interact with many cheeses that same way wine does.

As with cheese and wine, your cheese and spirits should complement each other. The secret is to avoid having either overpowered by the other, and spirits with an alcoholic beverage hovering around 40 percent the task becomes greater.

Be certain to slightly chill the spirits to around 65 to 68 degrees. Higher temperatures will certainly bring the alcohol to the forefront of your nose and mouth. Choose your favorite glass, and, if you like drinking your spirits over ice, refrigerate them instead.

The spirits and cheese recommendations below are from a recent tasting I conducted:

Moletto Gin, Veneto, Italy (86 proof) Perhaps the most incredible gin I’ve ever encountered! Yes, the familiar juniper berry notes along with rosemary, mint, basil and hint of citrus are there, but the kicker is an initial burst of fresh tomatoes! This gin was macerated for 45 days with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. Recommended cheeses: Bel Paese, Boulette d’Avesnes, Leyden or mozzarella.

Moletto Grappa di Arneis, Italy (80 proof) Bouquet and flavor of spicy cherries, dried flowers, herbs, spices and dried fruits. Subtle hints of black pepper, raisins and apricot are present in the aftertaste. Recommended cheeses: Creamy Gorgonzola, herbed cheese, Gouda or Montasio.

Le Reviseur “V.S.” Single Estate, Cognac France (80 proof) A full, warming bouquet and flavor of dried fruits (raisins, dates, cherries), along with spices and dark berries. Hints of chocolate and plums are present in an ultra-smooth taste. Recommended cheeses: brie, Camembert, Livarot or Roquefort.

Laird’s “Straight Apple Brandy” New Jersey (100 proof) A brandy made from about 20 pounds of apples and aged around three years in charred oak barrels. An intense aroma of cider, baked apples, cloves and vanilla. Warming in the mouth with hints of honey, caramel and spices and a smooth finish. The aftertaste remains for some time. Recommended cheeses: Bondon, cheddar, Petit-Suisse or Pont l’Évêque.

Charles Goodnight “Bourbon,” 6 years old, Kentucky (100 proof) A heady bouquet of oak, caramel, smoky tobacco and vanilla. Warming flavors of spices, coconut and toasted almonds. Surprisingly smooth with an aftertaste of honey. Recommended cheeses: Asiago, Kefalotyri, Monterey Jack or Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or [email protected]

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Rye whiskey has flavors of caramel, ginger, spices, pepper and slight bitterness (rye bread) with hints of cinnamon, cloves, damp earth, grass, herbs, and nutmeg. Stock photo

“Tell me what brand of whiskey that [Gen. Ulysses S.] Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
— President Abraham Lincoln

By Bob Lipinski

Rye, an American whiskey, was the favorite of President George Washington. In 1797, Washington constructed a large whiskey distillery adjacent to his gristmill on the banks of Dogue Creek in Fairfax County, Virginia. The enterprise became the most successful whiskey distillery in early America, producing 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey in 1799, worth the then-substantial sum of $7,500. James Anderson, a Scotsman, supervised the distillery.

Rye whiskey was first distilled in 1750 in Pennsylvania by local farmers who blended it with corn. Rye’s domination was short-lived because in 1783 bourbon whiskey was made and became the whiskey of choice of middle America.

Additionally, rye, along with bourbon whiskey, was affected by Prohibition. This was followed by soldiers returning from World War II who had developed a taste for Irish and Scotch whiskies. Production of rye whisky had almost vanished altogether from its Mid-Atlantic homeland by the 1980s. A handful of modern rye whiskies are currently being made by bourbon distilleries, mostly in Kentucky.

Rye whiskey is made from a fermented mash of grain containing at least 51 percent rye; the remainder of the grain mixture generally consists of barley, corn, oats and wheat. Although technically rye whiskey can contain 100 percent rye, few distillers exceed 90 percent.

It can be distilled at no higher than 160 proof. It must be stored at no less than 80 proof and not more than 125 proof in new, charred oak barrels ranging in capacity from 50 to 66 gallons.

“Straight rye whiskey” must be aged a minimum of two years. If it is released prior to the fourth year of aging, it must be stated on the label. In addition, no alcohol, caramel coloring or flavoring can be added.

It is produced in many states in the United States (most notably Kentucky), in addition to Canada, Germany, Russia, other Slavic countries and the Netherlands.

During the 1950s and 1960s when ordering a highball or Presbyterian cocktail at a bar, people incorrectly referred to Seagram’s 7-Crown, Canadian Club Whisky and Seagram’s V.O. as “rye whiskey.” Rye is an ingredient in Canadian whisky and American-made blended whiskey, but during that era, it never reached a minimum of 51 percent to be labeled “rye whiskey.”

Some brands of “American” rye whiskey are Bulleit, Classic Cask, George Dickel, George Washington’s, Hirsch, Hudson Manhattan Rye, Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Michter’s, Old Overholt, Old Potrero, Redemption, Rittenhouse, Russell’s Reserve, Sazerac, Templeton, Van Winkle Family Reserve, Wild Turkey and Willett.

Rye whiskey has flavors of caramel, ginger, spices, pepper and slight bitterness (rye bread) with hints of cinnamon, cloves, damp earth, grass, herbs and nutmeg.

Some recommended cocktails using rye whiskey are Manhattan, whiskey & club soda, highball, Presbyterian, sours, old-fashioned, and the Sazerac Cocktail.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or [email protected]

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What could be more alluring than a glass of whiskey on the rocks or an arctic cold martini in a Y-shaped glass adorned with several pimento-filled green olives?

Although I love an ice cold martini and certainly a glass of whiskey with ice, a glass of brandy on a cold winter day certainly is a great body heat rejuvenator. Smelling its rich, fiery, heavily perfumed bouquet and its smooth, velvet-like texture and luxurious aftertaste beckons a second glass.

“Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven.” — W. C. Fields, 1880–1946, American comic and actor

To make this holiday season really festive, I’ve included a list of some of my favorite spirits (that will hopefully become yours).

Laird’s Applejack, made in Scobeyville, New Jersey, since 1780. It is an apple brandy, dry and full of rich apple flavors. I like it either in a brandy snifter or sometimes on the rocks while listening to relaxing music.

Auchentoshan “Three-Wood” Single-Malt Scotch Whiskey from the Lowlands. It has been aged in three different wood types: Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso Sherry, and finally Pedro Ximénez sherry barrels. Spectacular flavor.

Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky. On its label there is a black Scottish terrier “Scottie” and a white West Highland dog “Westie.” I have been enjoying this Scotch for decades.

Campari from Italy. Campari, which is bright red, has a bouquet and taste of bitter orange, cherry, ginger, lemon, licorice, orange zest and strawberry, with a bittersweet aftertaste.

Drambuie Liqueur from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It was first produced in 1745, from a blend of Scotch whisky and heather honey-based liqueur. Its classic cocktail, called a Rusty Nail, consists of equal parts of Drambuie and Blended Scotch Whisky.

Zubrówka Vodka from Poland and other Slavic countries. It has a yellow-green tinge and a distinctive smell and taste of spring flowers, thyme, lavender and freshly mown grass, which is derived from various botanicals that have been added.

Chartreuse “Green” Liqueur. This world-famous liqueur was originally formulated in 1605, in Grenoble, France, by St. Bruno. Licorice and flower aromas, with sweet herbal notes. Sweet middle and finish, with flavors of herbs, licorice, white pepper and burnt flowers. Very elegant and well made.

Baker’s 7-year-old Bourbon. Baker’s Bourbon is 107 proof and is very aromatic with a sweet, smooth, medium finish. It has a warm amber, tawny, nut-brown color with a bouquet of fruit, caramel and vanilla. It tastes of toasted nuts, fruit and sugar-vanilla, with a silky texture. The aftertaste is warming and sweet, with a medium-long aftertaste.

Hine Antique XO Cognac. Created in 1920 by George Hine. The taste is mellow and supple with a wealth of sustained flavors, floral nuances, hints of honey, leather and a pronounced taste of vanilla, carried by finesse and endurance. Velvety smooth and extremely elegant.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or [email protected]

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Bob Lipinski with his latest book. Photo from Lipinski

Bob Lipinski, a local author and regular columnist for Times Beacon Record Newspapers and Lifestyle Magazine, recently announced the publication of his ninth book titled “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey.”

The 80-page paperback presents whiskey as a “101 Introduction,” covering the basics of each major whiskey category and countries of origin including blended American, bourbon, Canadian, corn, Irish, Japanese, rye, Scotch, and Tennessee whiskey.

To add another dimension, the book covers the history of whiskey, definitions, slang terms, drinks of presidents and celebrities and whiskey-infused quotes. There is even a chapter on classic whiskey cocktails.

“What butter and whiskey won’t cure, there is no cure for.” — Irish saying

Bob Williamstyn, proprietor of The Country House Restaurant in Stony Brook, says the book is “a great training tool for restaurateurs, distributors, and just about anyone else in the beverage business,” while Sean McCormack of Innovative Spirits adds that it is “an absolute must read for anyone who enjoys whiskey, and wants to learn more.”

The author will be conducting book signings for his latest book at Connetquot Public Library, 760 Ocean Ave., Bohemia on Dec. 1, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, 120 Main St., Setauket on Dec. 9, and Patchogue-Medford Library, 54-60 E. Main St., Patchogue on Dec. 17, all from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The book is available for purchase at www.Amazon.com for $14.99.

Bob Lipinski conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or [email protected]