“Trying to fit every taste of whisky into three bottles on the shelf is like my sister trying to fit all my niece’s gear into the car for a family holiday. It isn’t going to happen.”
Grappa has to be one of the most infamous spirits in the world. So many people scrunch their face up at the mere mention of the stuff. I used to do exactly the same. My first experiences of it were bottles of moonshine distilled by mates who were big into their Moscato D’Asti production, and not so much into picking their heads and tails properly. It was rank stuff really, and was the main cause of quite a few hurried trips to the bathroom. But, as I found out during a recent tasting, the good stuff (as with so much in the spirit world) is where it all makes sense.
In a few weeks’ (ah shit!) time I’ve got my spirits exam for my WSET Diploma. I used to think spirits were shite and over rated, as when I was younger I hadn’t any kind of inclination to bother find out about them. I was used to drinking the crappest and cheapest stuff in the supermarket to get me pissed and that was that. The studying has opened my eyes and it’s a race against time to try as many as I can and get that spirits’ palate up to scratch.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s with immense pride that I can write this blog. A good friend of mine that has a lifetime’s worth of stories from the drinks invention game has finally finished his book, and it’s out now to buy. But this isn’t just a mate’s book, this guy was the one of the principal ideas men behind…wait for it…Baileys!
It’s very hard to know how to answer certain invitations. “Mike, would you like to come to a breakfast to try an amazing Greek spirit?” Well, you can’t say no can you? Not sure I’ve ever tried to pair a wine with my cornflakes, let alone a spirit, but life’s full of these little mysteries isn’t it? So last week I trundled off to the Hoxton Hotel to meet the guys and girls from Metaxa.
Any whisky geeks out there, before you say it, I know! It’s like being asked which is your favourite kid, or which is your least favourite football player. It’s an impossible question to answer as it changes on a daily basis. I get that, and I’m sorry for asking such a generic question. But I’ve got to start somewhere!
For years the world was full of generic booze. I grew up with my parents drinking Gordon’s green bottle gin, Captain Morgan Rum, and Famous Grouse. Not that there’s anything wrong with those drinks as such, but the generic entry level stuff most people drank just wasn’t interesting, and failed miserably to spark interest into “what’s next?”
I’ve never been a whisky drinker. When I was younger, spirits in general were just not my thing. I just couldn’t get over the harshness of it all. Then at uni, when I started drinking them, it was all about the supermarket-own-brand paint stripper. That’s not the kind of stuff to make you come back for more is it?