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Fourteen Things That Can Be Improved With Whiskey

Writing and Whiskey

We all know how annoying it can be to spend a few hours with your significant other’s family, play mini golf with your cousin, or sit through a lecture about proper comma use. But what if you could do something in less than five minutes that would significantly improve your experience? What, you ask, might that be? Why, whiskey, of course! Whiskey has proven to improve the following activities.

Writing

For centuries, writers have been using whiskey to produce some of the most thought-provoking work. Dylan Thomas, a poet from Wales, was known to imbibe eighteen whiskeys in a row. Now, I can’t promise that drinking whiskey will help you write your next masterpiece—but let’s just remember that it might help you “rage against the dying of the light,” which is necessary if you are trying to make it as a writer.

Writing and Whiskey

Writing and Whiskey
Image © berc – Fotolia.com

Dinner with Your Significant Other’s Family

Look, just trust me. Dinner with your significant other’s family is always weird. In between an old lady asking you about your heritage and a 13-year-old boy trying to kiss you, you can relax by bringing along the whiskey. There are many benefits to bringing whiskey to your significant other’s family dinner: you can actually laugh at her father’s jokes, you can make friends with the bartender (and maybe get free drinks later on), you can pretend not to absolutely hate your life, you can quietly think of awesome ways to escape without being noticed.

Lectures

I don’t condone drinking and studying, but let’s be serious…I do condone it. If you have to sit through another lecture about how to use your local library, how to plant a community garden, or why you should invest in gold overseas, it might be a good idea to drink whiskey. Once you’ve thoroughly downed enough whiskey to sit still, you might be able to learn something. For example, did you know that 72% of Americans have library cards? Now, if you drank whiskey, you would have known that I made that statistic up.

Movies

The next time someone invites you to the latest Woody Allen or Coen Brothers film, do yourself the biggest favor of your life and drink whiskey before you leave the house. Once you reach the movies, you’ll be warm and toasty and ready for a nap. And, if you drink enough whiskey, you might even be able to sleep through the whole movie like my mom did during “Toy Story.” It’ll be worth it in the end. Plus, your friends will talk about the movie enough that you won’t miss a thing.

Work

Don’t take my word for it. Just try it. But don’t get caught and don’t blame me! You’re on your own, kid. But really, depending on the type of job you have, whiskey might not be able to improve anything. You should still try, though; it’s worth a shot.

First Dates

After scouring Match, Chemistry, or eHarmony, it’s time to go on that first date. Your game plan should be as follows: pick out an outfit, but don’t make it too sexy because you don’t want to give off the wrong impression. Pick out simple jewelry, but don’t overdo it because you don’t want him to think you’re rich. Then put on a pair of flats if you’re tall and heels if you’re short. Once that’s done, throw on some makeup, but, before you leave the house, make sure you take a sip of some whiskey.

Once you get the bar/club/5-star restaurant, you will be drunk enough to look like you’re having a good time. And, if you drink enough, you might actually have a good time, although nothing is a guarantee, especially on a first date. Whiskey, in addition to helping you have fun, can also help you find Mr. or Ms. Right. Once your partner-to-be sees how freaking awesome you are, and once you pull out your fresh bottle of whiskey, the rest will be history.

Last Dates

Sometimes, it’s just over. And if you know it’s over, you might as well bring the whiskey along. Don’t worry about the rest; I’ve got it covered. The first thing you need to do is prepare a little speech. Not the whole “It’s not you” thing because, let’s face it, it probably is their fault. So try something subtler. You might want to start with something like “I’ve been thinking about moving.” From there, you can make up the rest. Depending on where you live, you can either outright lie (i.e. “I’m moving to Alaska! I got a job!), or you can say a less serious lie: (My parent’s are moving and I’m going with them), then, when you get caught, you can be like “Oh, well, they decided not to move. So here I am!”

Your next step is to pull out the whiskey. Immediately, pour yourself a glass and drink it quickly. Pour your soon-to-be-ex-significant-other a glass of whiskey as well. Once they’ve finished their glass, pour them another one. Watch them cry. Check the time. If it’s not too late, you can pour them another glass and sit there while they either yell at you or cry. If they yell at you, you can speed things up by looking at your phone, exclaiming that your grandmother’s ill and you must go, and then leave. But if they’re crying, just be nice. Let them cry. That’s all one option.

The other option is to be honest. Obviously, you’ll definitely need the whiskey. So if you want to be honest, drink at least two whiskey drinks before you begin, and then go ahead, tell them the truth. After, you might just be drunk enough that you don’t really care about the repercussions.

Whiskey at the Last Date

Whiskey at the Last Date
Image © Kesu – Fotolia.com

Meditation

If your friend has been begging you to go with her to a new meditation circle and you’ve been dreading it, you now have a chance to kill two birds with one stone. If you drink whiskey before you meditate, you can be sure that your meditation session will be stellar. While your friend is tripping out about the blue aura that she felt, you can groove on a more physical kind of drunk—the real kind, the manly kind, and the kind that will bring your meditation to a new level. And why stop there? With whiskey, you can improve other spiritual activities like yoga, Rolfing, reiki, and even acupuncture.

College

You know how they say that college is the best time of your life? They only say that because of whiskey. Whiskey has long been known as the elixir of life to the elite college-goers. Don’t waste your time drinking vodka, beer, or jungle juice; do the right thing and impress your peers. All facets of college can be improved with whiskey—from classes and dance parties to school projects and meetings with your advisor, you can make any day extraordinary with whiskey.

Tuesday

No one really talks about how much Tuesdays suck. But, usually, they suck, and the only way to remedy their suckiness is through whiskey. Whiskey can turn a boring sit-at-home-and-watch-movies Tuesday into the best Tuesday of your life. Think about it. You’re sitting at home watching Lifetime. Your mom calls to ask how you’re doing, you say you’re fine and then you hang up. You’re bored. I know it.

Now think about it. You’re sitting there watching Lifetime movies. You pour yourself a shot of whiskey. Just then, a group of ninjas come into your house looking for stolen gold. You fend them off, but end up losing a hand in the process. You open the bottle of whiskey with your still-attached hand and numb the pain of your lost hand. Then you sit back down and the phone rings. It’s your mom calling to ask how you’re doing.

You say you’re fine and you hang up. Right after you hang up, your friend busts down your door and explains that he is running from the cops. You jump up, grab your friend, swing your 300-foot rope to the next apartment, and you pulley yourselves to freedom George-of-the-jungle style. Look at that. Tuesday is no longer a regular Tuesday. When you go to work the next day, just tell everyone that your hand was eaten by a shark; it’ll be more believable.   Just open the bottle of whiskey and see what I mean. Go on, do it!

A Cold

No matter what you’re doing when you have a cold, you can improve it by drinking whiskey. Whether you’re watching your fifth Netflix documentary in a row, typing up a term paper, or trying to fall asleep, whiskey is basically your best friend. A great way to drink whiskey when you have a cold is to mix it with hot water, honey, and lemon. This can help you feel better in no time. Come to think of it, even when you don’t have a cold, you can still tell people that you have a cold so you can sit at home and drink.

Cold and Whiskey

Cold and Whiskey
Image © Vladyslav Bashutskyy – Fotolia.com

The Dentist

Whether you’re going in for your first cavity or your twelfth root canal, you need some help. Sip on some whiskey before you go so that you don’t have to live with all that pain. Whiskey is also great right after the dentist. Don’t even try to eat that burger and fries, stick to the whiskey and numb your mouth.

Your Friend’s Dance Recital/Play/Poetry Reading

If you’re a whiskey drinker, you probably like to support your friends. Well, that’s kind of presumptuous. I hope that you like to support your friends, but I know how boring it can be. After begrudgingly going to your friend’s play and suffering through it, you will win multiple brownie points. But next time you go to a play, bring a flask of whiskey. It’ll be fun—you can play a drinking game: every time someone messes up his or her lines, you have to take a shot. After about five minutes, you’ll be good and drunk.

Your Boring Life

I know you love video games, spending time with your cat, and dreaming about Anna Kournikova, but there are better ways to spend your time. The moment that you purchase whiskey, it will seem as though an angel has come down from the sky and deemed you The Coolest Person On Earth. Within mere seconds, flocks of women and men alike will run to your side—each wanting to audition to become the Best Friend of The Coolest Person On Earth. Alas, you can only pick one best friend, so choose the one who is drinking the best whiskey: they know what they’re doing. Not only will you have more friends, but you will immediately be better dressed, your hair will be sleek and shiny, and you will have some type of accent. From there, everything else in your life will improve. Remember that book by Dr. Seuss The Places You’ll Go? He was talking about you, you sexy whiskey drinker. And trust me, the places you’ll go are paved with luxury.

The moral of the story is that just about anything that you’re doing can be improved by drinking whiskey.

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10 Top Selling Whiskey Brands to Consider

Crown Royal

When buying whiskey, one thing will never change: you are sure to faced with many choices. How you make a decision is up to you, however, you will want to focus on the following details:

  • Price
  • Reputation
  • Reviews among others
  • Taste

Of course, if you don’t have much knowledge of whiskey you may find yourself struggling to focus on the appropriate details. How will you know if one brand tastes better than another? How will you know which brand has the best reputation?

There are a few things you can do if you don’t have much personal experience. First and foremost, search the internet far and wide for as much information as you can dig up. Soon enough, you will find yourself learning more about whiskey than you ever thought possible.

From there, don’t be shy about asking a sales person at your local liquor store for assistance. Once you tell this person how much you are looking to spend, they will be able to point you in the right direction.

At this point, you don’t want to wait any longer. So, here we go. Here are 10 top selling whiskey brands to consider buying:

Canadian Mist

Canadian Mist

Since 1967, this company has been a top name in the industry. Sales have been declining over the past few years, but it is still a favorite among many.

Black Nikka

Black Nikka

“Bearded Black” is a Japanese whiskey, but if you ever have the chance to let this touch your lips you should take full advantage. It may be hard to find in some parts of the world, but if you do you should give it a try.

Canadian Club

Canadian Club

Owned by Beam, this brand is known throughout the world. Since being established in 1893, Canadian Club has brought smiles to the faces of people from one side of the globe to the next.

Black Velvet

Black Velvet

Owned by Constellation Brands, this Canadian Whisky never comes up short. First established in the 1940’s, Black Velvet doesn’t take a backseat to any brand in the world.

Seagram’s 7 Crown

Seagram’s 7 Crown

Seagram’s 7 Crown is one of the top selling American brands, despite the fact that sales were stagnant for the better part of last year. If you want to give honey-infused whiskey a try, this is a brand to keep an eye on.

Kakubin

Kakubin

Yet another Japanese whiskey, Kakubin has experienced a nice increase in sales over the past couple of years. Owned by Suntory, this brand offers many products including a premium version that hit the market earlier this year. Much the same as Black Nikka, finding this whiskey could be a challenge (but if you keep looking you will eventually get your hands on a bottle).

Jameson

Jameson

With Irish whiskey becoming more and more popular in the United States, it is no surprise that Jameson is on this list. Established in 1780, this brand has been producing high quality products longer than most others. This has to count for something, right?

Crown Royal

Crown Royal

Crown Royal has long been one of the top names in the industry, with its branding and marketing strategy among the best of the best. Believe it or not, this whisky was only sold in Canada up until 1964. Fortunately, this changed and it is now one of the top sellers in the world. Regardless of where you live, finding Crown Royal should not be too difficult of a task.

Jim Beam

Jim Beam

Jim Beam continues to grow in popularity, resulting in a nice sales increase for the company over the past two years. With many popular products, including such favorites as Jim Beam Honey, don’t expect this brand to be outshined anytime soon.

Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Is it any surprise that Jack Daniels is still one of the most popular whiskey brands in the world? The brand has been an industry leader for years, and its owner, Brown-Forman, expects more of the same in the years to come. If you want to drink the same whiskey as millions of other people, this is the way to go.

If you are looking to buy a bottle of whiskey but don’t know where to start, you cannot go wrong with one of these 10 brands.

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There are Health Benefits of Drinking Whiskey? Count me in

Health Benefits of Whiskey

When many people think about drinking alcohol, any type of alcohol, the first thing that comes to mind is their health. They wonder if they are doing something that is going to harm their body in the long run.

While too much alcohol of any kind can be a bad thing, it is important to remember this: there can be benefits to your health as well. Does it get any better than that?

Believe it or not, there are health benefits associated with drinking whiskey. This doesn’t mean you should drink a bottle every night before going to bed. What it does mean is that whiskey is not as bad for your body as many people believe – and that is most definitely a good thing.

Here are several health benefits of drinking whiskey:

  1. No fat. More people than ever before are worried about how much fat is in their diet. When you drink whiskey, you don’t have to concern yourself with this. Believe it or not, a 1.5 oz shot does not contain any fat.
  2. Fights against the risk of cancer. Many people are unaware of the fact that alcohol contains what is known as ellagic accident. This is an antioxidant that is known to destroy cancer cells. Why is this important, you may ask? Well, whiskey is full of ellagic acid. In fact, it contains more than any other type of alcoholic beverage.
  3. Low carb alcohol. Along with fat, you need to think about how many carbohydrates you are pumping into your body on a daily basis. This is particularly true if you are hoping to lose weight.
    A 1.5 oz shot of whiskey only has approximately .04 grams of carbohydrates. This is much lower than many other types of alcohol.
  4. Helps you avoid many common medical concerns. It may be hard to get others to believe you, but past studies have shown that people who consume one or two alcoholic beverages per day, including whiskey, have a lower chance of dementia or having a stroke. This can also fight against your chance of developing diabetes down the line.
Health Benefits of Whiskey

Health Benefits of Whiskey
Image © Gresei – Fotolia.com

Now that you are aware of the many health benefits associated with drinking whiskey, there is a good chance you will want to work this into your routine more often. It is possible to go overboard, so stay within your limits if you want to achieve the most benefits.

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3 Reasons Why You Should Hate Whiskey

Whiskey - meet the girls

So, you don’t like whiskey? Man, would I hate to be you. But seriously, you probably have some pretty good reasons for feeling this way. You are probably the type that would rather sit around and chug back a 30 pack with the guys as opposed to actually having real fun.

Here are three reasons why you should hate whiskey (you are probably already familiar with all of these):

1. You hate everything. Fast cars. Don’t care for them. Big houses. You’d rather live in a shack. Pretty girls. Who needs them?

If you hate everything in your life, as well as everything going on around you, it is safe to assume that whiskey makes your list. Who needs to enjoy their life when it is so easy to frown upon everything?

2. You have no class. Let’s get back to that case of beer that you are chugging with all the “guy friends” in your life. If you like to sit around, play video games, and slob about in your gym shorts, you are on the right track. Keep it up!

On the other hand, if you want to bring just a little bit of class to your life, put down that Keystone Light and step up to a real man’s drink. With a little bit of whiskey this weekend you may find yourself classing up your life – even if only a little bit.

3. You never want a girlfriend. What good is a girlfriend when you have all those guys in your life who enjoy drinking beer with you on the weekends? If you want to get a girl, show some class. You cannot expect this to happen on its own. You need to clean yourself up, get out of your house, and act like an adult. Who do you think a girl would rather date: a guy who spends all his time at home, drinking beer with his friends? Or a guy who enjoys a night on the town, drinking whiskey and showing her a good time? The answer is pretty easy.

Whiskey - meet the girls

Whiskey – meet the girls
Image © rawstyle-pictures – Fotolia.com

You can continue with your life the way it is, hating everything, including whiskey, but never making any real progress. Or you can make a change, eventually looking back and wondering why you were wasting your time.

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The Origins of Whiskey

Scotland - homeland of Whiskey

Whiskey has a long and varied development history, although nobody’s sure of the precise origin of the drink as we recognize it today.

Alcohol distillation and fermented beverages like beer and wine were developed far earlier than whiskey. Evidence of the earliest fermented beverages was found in jugs dated to the Stone Age – at least 10,000 B.C. It’s interesting to note that whiskey was originally developed in the middle ages as a remedy, and wasn’t consumed as a beverage until about 200 years later.

The first distillation of alcohol began in Western Asian region of Mesopotamia around 2,000 BC. Early distillation was associated with perfume-making, so the development of whiskey and other distilled alcohol may have been an outgrowth of scent manufacturing.

The earliest description of alcohol distillation was composed by Majorcan writer and philosopher Ramon Llull in the 13th century. After Llull, alcohol distillation technology passed through many civilizations until it became widely adopted. Alcohol distillation was imported to Ireland and Scotland around 1100 and 1300 by monks, making them early fans of “A wee bit of the creature” (the Irish nickname for whiskey). However, spirit alcohol up to the early 1400’s was still being used primarily for rituals and religious purposes and distilled by monks.

Ancient alcohol distillation

Ancient alcohol distillation apparatus

The word “whiskey” comes from the Gaelic term uisge beatha meaning “water of life,” and it was called aqua vitae in Latin. Whiskey was originally a medicine – a popular antibiotic among medieval physicians. Whiskey was prescribed to treat various internal and external infections and even lifestyle problems like marital discord. It’s not known if prescribed whiskey eased or worsened marital discord.

As spirit alcohol caught on with doctors, it became a standard item in pharmacopeia. Alcohol distillation had evolved from the purview of monks to the medieval physicians’ group, The Guild of Surgeon Barbers.  The first known textbook about alcohol distillation for doctors and surgeons was published in 1500 by German physician and chemist Hieronymus Brunschwyg.

The good doctor’s handbook gave detailed instructions on distilling and utilizing aqua vitae as a curative with text and detailed woodcut illustrations. “Liber de arte distillandi” expounded on the virtues of alcohol as remedy for a variety of ailments and mood disorders such as depression and memory problems.

Modern whiskey is aged a minimum of three years in wooden casks to give it that familiar mellow flavor.  The wood used to age whiskey is usually charred white oak, and the aging process is called “oaking.” It’s said that 80% of whiskey’s taste comes from the wood it’s aged in, and whiskey makers know that old oak imparts the best flavor to the drink.  Early whiskies were produced using primitive distillation equipment, unrefined methods and it was not aged at all. Early Renaissance whiskies were used straight from a barrel and extremely raw-tasting compared to modern whiskies. A large serving of this undiluted concoction was so potent that a Whiskey Sour made with crude whiskey of the past could cause alcoholic shock.

Whiskies are made from various grains; in Scotland malt whisky uses 100% malted barley mash. Whisky production spread quickly in Ireland, Scotland and other northern European areas where beer and wine were already popular. This was due to grains and barley being locally available and limited supplies of grapes.

Scotland - homeland of Whiskey

Scotland – homeland of Whiskey.
Image © adrenalinapura – Fotolia.com

The first confirmed written record of whiskey appeared in 1405 in the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise, where the death of a chieftain was blamed on excessive whiskey consumption at Christmastime. The Scots become the world leaders in quality whisky soon after spending decades perfecting the distillation process. The first known record of Scottish whisky appeared in 1494 in the Exchequer Rolls to Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make “aquavitae.” Friar John received sufficient malt to produce about 500 bottles of whiskey.

When King Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries between 1536 and 1541, monks were unemployed and forced to manage on their own. Many of them earned money by doing what they knew well: making whisky, and they soon spread their knowledge across Scotland. Thus began whisky production that was no longer controlled exclusively by monastic monks and The Guild of Surgeon Barbers.

The oldest licensed distillery was the Old Bushmilll’s Distillery on Ireland’s north coast. They were licensed in 1608, and the company is still in the whiskey business today.

Whiskey Distillery

Whiskey Distillery
Image © Arvydas Kniukšta – Fotolia.com

The Acts of Union merged England and Scotland in the 18th century, and new harsh taxes on any unlicensed alcohol brewery tested the Scot’s love of whisky. Scotch whisky production was shut down when the English crown imposed new harsh taxes on any unlicensed alcohol brewery.

Thousands of distillers across Northern England and Scotland responded by producing whisky illegally using homemade stills, usually in the wee hours of the night. Low nighttime visibility hid the smoke from distillation fires. Stealth production in the dark of night endowed whisky with the nickname “moonshine.” After production, they hid their whisky stocks in unusual places like church altars and coffins to avoid government excisemen.

The governments did their best to stop illegal whisky production, yet regulations did little to curb it; about 50% of the whisky produced during this era was illegal. Smuggling became an art form, and the fight between smugglers and the Scottish and English governments lasted for 150 years.

During the taxation years, shortages of whiskey around the world had international impact. During the American Revolutionary War, whiskey was scarce enough to be used as a currency. After the war ended, the new American government repeated England’s mistake and heavily taxed the ingredients, production and sales of whiskey. The 1791 tax protest of US grain and corn farmers was called the Whiskey Rebellion, and the tax laws were repealed in 1801.

Whisky makers in Scotland and England were free to resume legal whisky manufacturing when the English government passed a new law that legalized production after paying a fee. This revived the industry, and drove innovations and improvements in the product. One of the new innovations was the “continuous still” that enabled brewers to make whisky that was higher quality, and distilled much faster.

Whiskey machinery

Whiskey machinery.
Image © johnbraid – Fotolia.com

In 1880, even the French began making whiskey because of a disease which wiped out much of the grape crop. This led to whiskey becoming popular worldwide, and in 2009 Scotland broke their record and exported 1.1 billion bottles of whiskey.

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