“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” – Raymond Chandler
I’m a beer drinker at heart, but I’ve always wanted to be the type of person who drank whiskey.
Maybe it’s because I read a lot of Raymond Chandler, and I have a romantic, albeit unrealistic, longing for the days of fedoras and leather bound books. Or maybe it’s because sitting in a dimly lit room with snifter of deep amber liquid in front of you seems to bring with it a sense of class and calmness, a certain air of distinction, if you will. Whatever the reason, I am fascinated by whiskey and the people who drink it. Whiskey has been written, talked and sung about for decades, from Presidents to literary royalty to the fedora-wearing-cigarette-smoking-whiskey-drinking legends of the silver screen. Whiskey was, is and always will be cool.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” – Mark Twain
So being a beginner to the world of fine whiskey, I did a little digging so that I was prepared the next time I was drawn into a bar with a distinct throwback to a classy (yet unpretentious and come as-you-are) old timey bar feel. The Roosevelt in Denver has an extensive list of whiskeys to choose from, so you’ve come to the right place. Don’t be shy, everyone has to start somewhere, and the Roosevelt staff will be happy to help you pick a whiskey. Start by deciding if you want sweet, fruity, spicy, wood or grainy flavors and take it from there.
“Whisky is liquid sunshine.” – George Bernard Shaw
Whisky should be savored and enjoyed slowly. It is not a shot, so take your time. Once you’ve chosen your whiskey, let it sit in the glass for a few seconds. The glass should be about ¼ full, with no ice. Or “neat”. Whiskey is meant to be room temperature, so don’t ruin it by adding freezing cubes to your glass. Next, you want to breathe in the “bouquet” or “the nose” by placing your nose just above the rim of the glass. Don’t stick it all the way in there like you would with a glass of wine. Whisky is not intended for the meek or timid drinker. To avoid too much of a burn in your delicate nostrils, open your mouth slightly and breathe gently through your mouth and nose at the same time. If it is fine whiskey it should not take your breath away, but it should come with a deep and robust scent. Now it’s time to take a taste. Sip just enough to cover your tongue. Hold it in your mouth for a few seconds and savor all the different earthly flavors that define a great whiskey. Now, take a swallow. Take a few seconds to reflect on what you just tasted, and then repeat the process again. Take your time; enjoy it!
”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.” – Eva Gardner
Not everyone lives or dies by a good whiskey. At the Roosevelt we specialize in handcrafted quality American cocktails, so if it’s not a few drams of whiskey neat, you are sure to find something else you like. Don’t be afraid to try something new, all the while enjoying this newest edition to the Denver bar scene.