The Libationary Sophisticato

Huh? It means I enjoys me a little drinky with me day.

I have to blame (thank) cigars for my Polackian palate enjoying the liquid fruits of the alcoholic nature. Back around 15 years ago when I first started smoking stoags, I knew nothing about the world of sumptuous libations. I was the average joe six-pack bonehead who thought Heineken was God’s answer to the good life. I mean, it’s all about the beer, right? Wrong.

wine1While I still enjoy beer (and have expanded my tastes beyond the green bottle from Holland) I have learned to love many of the other liquid refreshments that sooth the senses and knock you on your arse. Back around the time I started with cigars, I attended many a dinner during the “boom” and was introduced to the beauty of wine. I had no idea how wonderful, delicate, bold, and romantic crushed grapes could actually be. And the thing that I found about wine was that it was so similar to the world of cigars. Blending, aging, complexity, storage, characteristics, body, strength – they were all terms I had learned when describing cigars, which helped me quickly make sense of it all. And just like with cigars, you start off light and easy, then educate your palate while delving into heartier and spicier reds.

corvina-1Now, I’m no snob by any means, but I sure as hell do laugh when I see a grown man drinking White Zinfindel with ice… Friggin’ pansy-ass, Mary. Okay, I admit that I may have had a glass or two of that glorified fruit punch many eons ago, but it quickly got replaced by deep cabs, beautiful cesari_amaroneBordeaux, zesty pinot noirs, spicy Shiraz, and wonderful meritage. A good friend of mine lives in Toronto and his favorite Italian restaurant has a cellar stocked with some amazing wines from the homeland. The most spectacular was an Amarone (a grape region near Venice) created at a winery in such small batches that the label was actually hand written. You want to talk sensational? And you also want to talk expensive? Hey, who cares cuz I wasn’t buying. That and a bottle of ’97 California Jordan Cabernet may be the best wine I have personally ever tasted. But again, it’s like cigars in the sense that the mood often affects the enjoyment of the drink itself. Good, friends and a beautiful location make a good glass of wine memorable for years to come. And let’s not forget Port Wine – the dessert drink of choice when lighting a premium stick of tobacco. I’m into twanys, and Taylor, Presidential, Fonseca, Sandeman’s, and Cockburn (that’s pronounced Co-burn, you perverted swine) all make some sweet heaven in a bottle.

russian-vodkaBack in my advertising days, one of my good clients was a vodka fanatic. “Vodka” is actually diminutive of the Slavic word woda/voda meaning water. He and his fellow company vice presidents would hook up to a bottle intravenously at lunch and got pickled with out never really seeing it coming. I always thought that vodka was rotgut, like vodka_narrowweb__300x44201drinking kerosene, but then I was introduced to premium vodkas – triple distilled to wash away all those nasty little impurities from reaching your pie hole. For years, Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland – ah yes, the land of people with blank looks upon their faces – were the places that true firewater was created. Grains or potatoes were used to make the mash. Today, vodka is made from the same stuff, but is so smooth and silky that I drink it straight up with a little ice – thus the reason for getting hammered so quickly and easily. I do enjoy Grey Goose and several others, including Ciroc, the first vodka actually distilled from grapes. All right, so they’re both French…does that really make me any less of a patriot than any of you, goons? Feh!

216809As of late, it’s whiskey – or whisky sans the “e”, that has tickled my fattened fancy. Like most novices, my knowledge of scotch was relegated to Johnnie Walker Black on ice. But lo and behold the wonders of Scotland’s various regions, making for the finest single malt in the world. And now other countries are making some amazing scotch, as well, including Japan! When I’m on the back deck with a glass of Balvenire Doublewood on ice and a dark, sweet, smoldering maduro - wow, nothing, I mean nothing could be finer. Scotch is a true adult drink, and it’s not ‘til you get a little older that you realize how a couple of belts can really take the edge off a long, hard day at the office or wherever the hell you call your place of work. A best-kept secret brand I recently discovered is Compass Box Whisky – absolutely terrific Scotch that pairs with cigars amazingly. You GOT TO check these guys out.

ky_bourbon_barrelOf course there are other whiskies – Canadian, Irish, and yes, American - particularly bourbon. I’m not a big bourbon drinker, but I went to a cigar dinner last week that boasted some of Kentucky’s finest. Bookers, Bakers, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden’s was served up and I got an instant appreciation for pure southern hospitality. Damn, that is some serious good stuff!

Where does it end? Now my friends are trying to get me hooked on Tequila, another libation that has matured into a smooth and flavorful form of liquid dynamite. And Champagne is actually getting pretty big amongst certain crowds as well.

So, now I’m a regular libation sophisticate. All right, not really. But I know what I like and that’s the best way to experiment and discover what works for you. Okay, maybe I AM a snob – I mean the thought of a Bud and White Owl admittedly does not get me all lathered up. But when gathered with good friends, maybe a nice night after a barbecue… having a nice pour and a premium smoke can make the troubles of the world disappear, if only for an hour or two. Just enough to re-charge my batteries and have me ready for another day in the world.

Damn, I’m ready… howz ‘bout you?

Have a swell week my boozing buddies,

Tommy Z.

JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!