Here’s my quandary: I love me some Irish whiskey. Since my wife introduced me to Tullamore Dew (quick back-story: a year before she became Mrs. Kim, Winnie Ranigan’s in Bayside, mid-afternoon, it was too hot for Guinness), I’ll hardly drink any other whiskey if that’s available. I’ll stoop to Jameson when the Dew isn’t on the back-bar, or if the store doesn’t have it, but begrudgingly. Quick nod to KR, my bartender buddy from DC back in the day, who fed me enough Jameson to embalm a dozen morbidly obese corpses.
Forgive me for this blasphemy, but there are always some instances when it’s (gasp!) better to drink something else. Case in point: when it’s hotter than 85 or 90 outside, there’s almost nothing better than a Hendrick’s and tonic. Problem is, gin tends to severely dislike me after the second cocktail.
Then there’s beer. I’m not talking about some hand-crafted, amber, huckleberry-wheat germ pale ale that was blessed by the Pope before it was bottled. No, let’s get into a bottle of something yellow, brewed in some gi-normous factory in Milwaukee or St. Louis, with a depressingly low alcohol content that would require me to drink a 12-pack to get the same warm buzz as three Dews.
Weak yellow American beer brings back great memories. A stand of cypress woods right next to I-45 in Houston, back in high school. Choosing between laundry and a pitcher of Beast at the Red Lion when I was in college. Keystone Light at the PX or Class VI store, because I couldn’t afford Coors Light or Bud Light – or I was just too cheap, and wanted to save a dollar per six-pack. Bottles of Budweiser with a Jameson or Jack Daniel’s neat at Bistro Bistro in Shirlington, or at the Subway bar on 61st while trying to not get into a fight, or an Irish bar in Queens.
Add to the quandary this: my tastes and professional experience have gone progressively more up-market over the years. For example, I have a few thousand dollars’ worth of wine in the wine fridge in my living room. I can tell the difference between a white Bordeaux and a California sauvignon blanc, and the subtle differences between cabernet sauvignons made in neighboring Northern California counties. I’ve tasted wines from far-flung places like Virginia, Thailand, and the Texas Hill Country, and have settled on preferring any old red wine from California, preferably a pinot noir, but since the Mrs. is a cab fan… let’s just say that we drink a lot of cab at home.
So… what to drink on a balmy 70-degree beginning-of-summer evening? Especially if I’m writing this while Mrs. Kim watches the DVR of the Oprah finale?
Miller Lite it is.