I’ve always wanted to be a whiskey drinker. So many cool images come to mind. I can see myself sitting around a campfire with friends, all of us dressed in flannel and jeans, sipping whiskey out of coffee mugs and one-upping each other with great outdoors stories.
And because whiskey is so worldly and versatile, l can also see myself in a dimly lit cocktail lounge, dressed in a sexy black dress and super high heels, leaning forward with a glass of amber liquid in my hand, sharing life dreams with my husband.
But I am a total whiskey neophyte. How is it possible to get this far in life without learning about a beverage that is over 1,000 years old and has been distilled in the United States since the late 1700’s? The whole realm of choices completely overwhelmed me. What’s the difference between whiskey, bourbon, scotch anyway? And what the heck is rye?
All my ignorance evaporated last weekend when husband Bob and I attended The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Friday Whiskey Tasting event earlier this October . With our commemorative whiskey glass in hand and a 20-whiskey dram tasting ticket (20? We could try 20?!), we sashayed into the Resort’s ballroom.
Distillers from around the country had set up tasting stations, and we could choose from over 50 unique whiskeys. Spokane favorite Dry Fly was there, along with a dozen others including Maker’s Mark, the Resort’s partner in this expansive event.
Luckily, there was also food, because you never want to drink on an empty stomach. The Coeur d’Alene Resort knows how to match appetizers with alcohol, and we were able to fill up on delicious finger food and heartier fare like ribs and chicken.
As the evening progressed, we made our way from distiller to distiller sampling dry, sweet, rich, bold and gutsy varieties. We watched a “smoking” whiskey demonstration, chatted with sommeliers and learned all about their brands, took food breaks, ran into old friends, tried The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s very own custom-crafted whiskey and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
And yes, I found my whiskey. I’ll be packing it to the next campfire and ordering it on our next date night. Which one? That’s my secret. You’ll have to attend next year’s Whiskey Barrel Weekend to find your own.