Five out of five cowboys agree - Whiskey!
Have you ever watched an old western movie and seen the lead outlaw or cowpoke walk into a saloon and order a vodka tonic? I didn't think so, and there's a good reason for that. Whiskey is the drink of men. You can drink whiskey warm or cold. And after a long day on the open trail, whiskey cuts the dust and clears your throat. Some consider Whiskey to be the middle ground of liquors and a great spirit for camaraderie. While some top shelf aficionados may prefer expensive cognacs or tequilas and well drinkers may order a cheap vodka or rum, it is in the middle that they should all be able to meet up for a glass of whiskey - it's the ultimate unifier and the second most drank liquor worldwide.
Whiskey is produced from mashed grains that are aged in wooden barrels. It comes in many forms that are usually designated according to where they were made and how. Here in the good ol' US of A, we just call our American Whiskey "whiskey" - redundant, I know. However the term does have some underlying information attached that categorizes American Whiskey as being any whiskey produced anywhere in the United States except Kentucky. What's so special about Kentucky? Bourbon! Bourbon is the only spirit with a true American pedigree. It was invented in Bourbon County, Kentucky (shocker.) and specifically has a minimum 51% alc. content obtained from using a barley mash distilling process followed by a minimum of 2 years in freshly charred white oak barrels. While whiskeys made elsewhere may have adopted the same process, only those made in Kentucky may be called bourbon.
To properly pay our homage to those craftsmen of the spirits, we usually drink our whiskey 'neat' or as we like to call it 'trail ready'. That just means straight without any mixer, ice, or water. While 'neat' is a the more genteel method involving the use of a glass filled one or two fingers high with just whiskey, 'trail ready' can mean sans glass and usually consists of a 'poke' or a 'nip' straight from the bottle. Some may find this method a bit too rugged, but it gets the job done. Sometimes, if we need to relax at the end of a long day, we may drop two fingers of whiskey into a tumbler glass with an ice cube for a 'cooler' on the rocks. But remember that the ice will melt in the warm liquor and change the flavor that the distiller intended.
Not convinced yet? Well, if you need more purpose just remember that whiskey makes a great make-shift antiseptic. While I am not sure how the medical community feels about this use, I do know that if I'm in the shop ripping through some mangy red oak timbers and one decided to rip me back, I ain't about to go searching through the medicine cabinet for rubbing alcohol as long as a bottle of 51% ABV is sitting right there on the shelf. My personal first aid response is to pour on the booze then wrap the wound with my trusty handkerchief (always in my back pocket). Oh yeah, it's gonna sting but while it's burning away those grimy germs and I'm contemplating my next move at least I can sip a little whiskey to dull the pain.
So, be prepared - head on down to the nearest purveyor of fine spirits and get yourself a bottle of good whiskey, bourbon, or even scotch. Hopefully you'll never have to reach for it in an emergency - unless that emergency is unexpectedly having your buddies stop by your manspace to loiter awhile. Then at least you can offer them a fine glass of whiskey.
Already have a choice whiskey in your manspace?
Let us know your favorite whiskey in our comment section below!