Whisky and Rural Scotland

Old Mar 28th, 2005, 12:27 PM
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Whisky and Rural Scotland

I've given a number of people a present of Ian Bank's "Raw Spirit" over the last couple of years and having given up on waiting for someone to reciprocate bought it for myself a week or so ago.

I read it cover to cover ove the weekend and loved it. It's about the search for the perfect dram.

Anyone who is coming here and wants to get of the beaten track would do worse than buy and read a copy, whether or not they're into whisky.

If you're into whisky you MUST read it.

Admittedly it gets a bit repetitve but what a subject to get repetitive about
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 03:24 PM
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Sheila: Thanks so much. I had never heard of it, but will now make it a point to get it.
While we are single malt imbibers (18 year old MACALLAN is our favorite), we use Famous Grouse for mixed drinks like a Rob Roy or a Scotch Old Fashioned (I am sorry, but that is what it is called).
A little story: On our last trip to Scotland for a wedding, we had a free night the day after the wedding and went to a restaurant called Chestnut (very good) near Ayr. As we entered the the very attractive dinning room, there was a bar to the left which prominantly featured Famous Grouse Whisky. I asked our waitress if we could get "Scotch Old Fashioneds" and she didn't know what they were. I told her I could give her the recipie if the bartender would be willing to make them. She asked and he was more than willing to try it. Now, a "Scotch Old Fashioned" requires about three ice cubes in a highball glass with some sugar syrup, bitters, a slice of orange squeezed into the glass and dropped in and a touch of water (less than a teaspoon and some prefer carbonated water). Well, he made our drinks and they were quite good. We did our toast to the new bride and groom and launched into conversation as we sipped our drinks. I happened to look to my left where the entry to the bar area was and there were three waitresses and the bartender arranged in totem pole style, heads only showing, one on top of the other at the doors edge. They had all come to see what the crazy Americans that had done this to Famous Grouse looked like. We all had a good laugh togethor and went on to have a great dinner. The salmon in a sorrel sauce was outstanding. Love Scotland.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Joegri, may I make one slight correction to your Scotch Old Fashioned recipe? It shouldn't be made in a highball glass, but rather in ... an old-fashioned glass (otherwise known as a rocks glass).

Usually, of course, they are made with American whiskey, and they are sometimes dolled up with fruit garnishes (I prefer them without). As Ogden Nash put it,

There is something about an old-fashioned
That kindles a cardiac glow;
It is soothing and soft and impassioned
As a lyric by Swinburne or Poe.
There is something about an old-fashioned
When the dusk has enveloped the sky,
And it may be the ice,
Or the pineapple slice,
But I strongly suspect it's the Rye.

Sorry to stray from the subject of (Scotch) whisky!
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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Love that Ogden!

Sheila - Just did an Amazon search and didn't find Raw Spirit, but it did turn up other books by author Iain Banks..'zat him?
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 07:47 PM
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Yes, he writes fiction under the name Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M Banks.

I don't believe Raw Spirits was ever published in the US. Sheila perhaps should have mentioned that some of the side topics in the book are Great Wee Roads, cool cars and his rather virulent opposition to British and American foreign policy as exemplified in the Iraq war, and to the responsible politicians. At one point he refers to George W as a "cross-eyed cretin". People offended by this last opinion may want to give the book a pass.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 11:55 PM
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Ah, yes, I had sort of by-passed that. To be fair he is even more virulent about Blair; at one point asking who his Congressmas is since we seem to have become a client state (Please not attack on me, I'm just repeating what he said)

And I apologise for misspelling his name- two "i"s in Iain. I checked his own web site after posting and meant to correct myself but forgot. But it is "Spirit" and not "Spirits"

However, can I stress that the key thing is that he speaks with passion and knowledge about Scotland, not just whisky.
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 04:14 PM
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jahoulhi: Of course you are right. It should be an old fashioned glass and we do use old fashioned glasses. Slip of the brain. Happens now and then as I dotter into my senior years. Thanks for the correction.
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