October 2, 2013

"What kind of uncultured cretin puts ice in scotch? Do you people all live in trailer parks?"

I am asked at last night's "Hand-Carved-Ice Café."

I answer: "This is actually a mixed drink with the ironic name 'Expensive Scotch'... so, I have to say that you are the one not keeping up with the culture. The concoction is an intentional and comical performance."

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45 comments:

TMink said...

I like a little ice in my scotch, but I prefer bourbon with a little ice. So I am that uncultured cretin. 8)

Trey

David said...

It looked to me like maple syrup.

Tank said...

What goes into an expensive scotch besides the scotch (I hope) and ice?

Actually, it would be more comical if there were no scotch.

Chris said...

Actually, all scotch's deserve a titch of H2O to open up the flavor and aroma. I never drink Lagavulin without adding a couple of drops of water to the glass. The trouble with ice is that it can water down the scotch if you are not a speedy imbiber.

William R. Hamblen said...

What's in it?

Salamandyr said...

I like my whiskey chilled and the water smooths out the flavor.

Bob R said...

What's in the cocktail? Was it any good?

I've been enjoying brown liquor cocktails lately - old fashions, sazeracs.

Now that the weather is getting colder I'll probably get in some better booze and drink it neat or with a little water. But I find that there is a huge gap in price between my favorite "cheap" brands and brands I find significantly better.

I'm not that much of a scotch drinker, but insisting on "no ice" in a continuous distillation commercial scotch is like insisting on eating McDonald's food off of fine china.

madAsHell said...

"Expensive scotch" and two candle wax chasers??

Party on, dude!!

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

admitting that you do this is like...admitting that I wear shorts to a funeral.

The ice picks up smells from the freezer and ruins the drink, wastes your money and makes you look doubly silly, that's why you cut with bottled water instead.

Jake said...

That's a true wannabe snob for you.

YoungHegelian said...

I hope you knew the person who said that to you, otherwise, no matter how true it may be, that's a damn rude thing to say to someone in a public setting!

tim in vermont said...

I like to put one large ice cube in my scotch, then again, I also like ketchup on a hot dog.

Brian said...

The Guy Who Declares That All Liquor Must Be Consumed Neat Or You Are A Cretin is a nuisance, and should be shunned by all right-thinking people.

Ann Althouse said...

I should have photographed the menu, because I can't remember the ingredients. There were maybe 5 things in it. One was scotch.

The menu isn't on line (or I couldn't find it).

Here's an article about the place.

Rocketeer said...

I dunno scotch. I like a good bourbon and branch, though, especially if the branch water is from the area the bourbon was distilled.

Rocketeer said...

Is bourbon and branch a southern thing? Once at a wedding on Long Island, I asked the bartender for a bourbon and branch. He looked puzzled, and said he didn't know the drinnk. I rolled my eyes, and said, "it's bourbon, with spring water." He turned around, poured half a glass of Jack Daniels, and drizzled some tap water in it. So I takes the drink, pours it on his shoes, and punches him in the cock so hard that he can never reproduce.

True story.

Ann Althouse said...

The drink only cost $9. It couldn't be actual "expensive scotch." It was a riff on the idea of expensive scotch. Do you not find it amusing?

It reminds me of the Prohibition era way of making "scotch," taking some basic grain alcohol and adding something to give it some color and flavor.

Sorry I didn't pay more attention to whatever it was.

Tank said...

Rocketeer said...
Is bourbon and branch a southern thing? Once at a wedding on Long Island, I asked the bartender for a bourbon and branch. He looked puzzled, and said he didn't know the drinnk. I rolled my eyes, and said, "it's bourbon, with spring water." He turned around, poured half a glass of Jack Daniels, and drizzled some tap water in it. So I takes the drink, pours it on his shoes, and punches him in the cock so hard that he can never reproduce.


This was the only appropriate reaction.

Brian said...

The question of how amusing it is depends on what it tastes like, which most of can't know. Does the joke go deeper than the name, and into how the drink actually tastes?

KLDAVIS said...

There's an older cocktail menu on their Facebook page, but nothing about the 'Expensive Scotch'.

It's an interesting conceit for a drink, with a lot of room for variation, depending on the type of Scotch they were trying to mimic. I could see them propping up a cheaper blend with a rough, smokey Mezcal to mimic the iodine-like Islay single malts. But, given that some of the best Mezcal can be rarer than that expensive Scotch, I don't know about the efficiencies to be gained.

KLDAVIS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FleetUSA said...

The trailer park comment was rude.

madAsHell said...

Does the joke go deeper than the name, and into how the drink actually tastes?

Did you miss the part about how much she paid??

Ann Althouse said...

"The ice picks up smells from the freezer and ruins the drink, wastes your money and makes you look doubly silly, that's why you cut with bottled water instead."

You can make ice from bottled water, and you can make ice in a way that is sealed off from everything else in your (presumably not that smelly) freezer.

Think about it! Obviously, you could put bottled water inside a plastic bag to freeze it, then chip it open and take the ice only from the center of the giant cube.

Then call it "hand-carved."

PB Reader said...

Sometimes I like it cold with ice, sometimes I like it with 1/2 to equal parts still water. Only drunkards drink it straight.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that the ice in there does look just like a jellyfish that's been trapped in a Nuclear Plant's intake pipe.

My favorite place for drinking is the Old Sugar Distillery on East Main? East Mifflin? (I get those two streets confused).

Edward Lunny said...

Oh good grief, wine snobs, spirits snobs, food snobs, give it a rest.
Folks like what they like and that doesn't make them Neanderthals or troglodytes. What is it they say, variety is the spice of life !
The only important question is, did you enjoy the drink and would you have another ?

KLDAVIS said...

"Then call it 'hand-carved.'"

The rough shape and consistent clarity of the ice betray that it was hand-carved.

To get that sort of clear ice on a large scale, you basically have to buy sculpture-grade blocks and cut them down to size (starting with chainsaws, moving on to ice knives, then picks).

If you look at the ice that comes out of your freezer, it'll likely be cloudy on at least one end. Ice in normal trays freezes from the top down, trapping dissolved gasses below until they freeze last. You can chip this cloudy part off, but it's pretty consuming manual work.

There are a lot of interesting rigs people have created to try to make clear ice at home. Freezing in an insulated container (an Igloo cooler) tends to produce the best results obtainable on a home-production scale.

traditionalguy said...

That reminds me of a Rusty Nail, which is a cocktail made out of Scotch with a jigger of Drambuie, served on the rocks or straight up.

It's an oldie but a goodie.

Sigivald said...

The kind of "uncultured cretin" that knows that good whiskey is often improved by a little water, from clean ice.

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

Then call it "hand-carved."

That is clever, maybe even call it "artisanal ice" and sell it for $2 a cube.

But to your point: isolating ice from freezer smells sounds like lots of work when you can just grab bottled water out of the fridge and pour a spoonful in. It really does taste better, it's not a hassle and not everything the kids say is wrong.

Rusty said...

Scotch.
Meet soda.
Why thank you.
I think I will.
Cheers.

KLDAVIS said...

"But to your point: isolating ice from freezer smells sounds like lots of work when you can just grab bottled water out of the fridge and pour a spoonful in. It really does taste better, it's not a hassle and not everything the kids say is wrong."

That's true if you prefer a consistent dilution. Some like to taste the spirit/drink evolve as the ABV changes due to the slow dilution allowed by large cubes (less surface area = reduced initial dilution due to less surface water & slower dilution over time due to melt).

Bruce said...

Here are my two solutions to the problem:

1) Whiskey stones. Ice cube sized/shaped stones that you put in your freezer. These cool your whiskey (not as much as real ice cubes, but noticeably). Being stones, they obviously don't melt or dilute your whiskey at all.

2) Ice spheres. This is a spherical ice ball, about 3 or 3.5 inches around. These are made in an enclosed mold in your freezer, so they don't pick up odors. Because of the size/shape of the spheres, they melt very little in the amount of time it takes to enjoy a glass. Nice and cold whiskey, very slightly diluted.

KLDAVIS said...

My freezer pretty much only contains large-format ice and glassware, so no problem with smells, in any event.

David said...

Ann Althouse said...
I should have photographed the menu, because I can't remember the ingredients. There were maybe 5 things in it. One was scotch.


I'm still pretty sure there was maple syrup.

Smilin' Jack said...

""What kind of uncultured cretin puts ice in scotch? Do you people all live in trailer parks?""

When I see someone drinking scotch neat I know I'm looking at a pussy raised by wolves. You have to have some respect for that.

TMink said...

I like two things about drinking whiskey with ice. First, I like the way it changes from the first strong sip to the last sip which has but a kiss of the whiskey. Secondly, I like the taste of the ice after the kiss.

But then I have already been identified as an uncultured cretin.

It is known.

Trey 8)

Austin said...

The real question is what kind of unlettered, vulgar, reprobate peasant thinks that the measure of erudition and sophistication is whether or nor frozen water is placed in alcohol?

ken in sc said...

Scotch is distilled beer. How it became a snob drink, I do not know.

Well, I guess very few put ice in beer.

KLDAVIS said...

In my experience, the better sort of bartenders tend to be underemployed, usually by choice. The result is that the etymology of fancy drinks can be quite fun to trace. At the moment, I'm drinking a 'Choke Up, Little Suzy' (Gin, Cynar, Suze), a riff on the Suzette (Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Suze), which is itself clearly built on the Negroni template (Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Campari). It's clever...more so if you know Cynar is an artichoke-flavored amaro.

Bob_R said...

It's always fun when some English major who got a C+ in general chemistry explains to me how three drops of water helps the complex molecules in a two ounce glass of whiskey "unwind." It's clear that adding water does two things: lower the proof and change the temperature. Either or both can make whiskey more enjoyable to drink - depending on the whiskey and the drinker.

The real problem with adding water is that it has a flavor. If it's water you drink every day that taste is neutral. (Same with smells, as anyone who grep up on a farm or in a house with cats can tell you.) I guess there is some possibility that it will interact with the flavors of the whiskey, but I'm skeptical. On the other hand, we definitely notice the flavor of water that we are not used to. I'd much rather use my town's tap water (which tastes like...water...to me) then some mineral water that I never drink.

BTW, if your ice tastes "off" it's time to clean you freezer. But even so, if your ice stays in there long enough to pick up flavors and aromas, you really need to drink more.

SOJO said...

No one put ice in scotch. It is the scotch that was poured over the hand-carved, curated, artisan, mandala of the ice.

Totally different.

Aurelian said...

Scotch! What the hell is that? You better get some Booker's Bourbon in that glass son. And some ice......

skybill said...

"Burbon and Branch water" The "Branch" water was water aquired from a "Branch" stream, not the main stream water source. "Back in the day" this was preferred for drinking as the water from the Branch stream had fewer impurities and minerals in it. Thus, "Bourban and Branch water." This whole thing with drinking Scotch Whiskey brings to mind the scene in the old fifty's movie "The Hunters." Robert Mitchum "Clever Sivelle" arives at the air base in Korea (Korean War) and meets his old flying buddy "Dutch" Richard Egan and the two go into Egan's office where he opens a desk drawer and pulls out a bottle of brown whiskey "Scotch or Bourbon???" and pours two glasses of the booze for them to drink,"No ice, no water!!!!" Drink up boys and girls!!! "And," in "The Right Stuff" Pancho Barnes says to Gordo Cooper and Gus Grissom,"What do you two 'Pudknockers' want to drink??" To which Gordo replies,"Scotch!"
BSBD,
III%,
skybill-out