I’m indebted to my old pal Tony Flynn for this lockdown game… use the initials of your Christian name for what you need when you’re holed up at home.
But Tony, I know you better than that… Tea, Onions, Noodles, Yogurt?
And you know me better too… and that’s why I went for Johnnie Walker, Ardbeg, Mossburn, Elements of Islay, Springbank.
You must have known I’d have used my full Christian name… more whisky, you see.
And in this regular feature, ‘Hungry and Thursday’ that’s what it’s all about, and being in lockdown my whisky is my best friend.
And while punters snap up the cheap lager from the supermarket shelves I’m happy to report that there’s still plenty of uisce beatha, or water of life, to be had.
So here’s a trawl of whiskies around the world…
Scotland: The original and the best, Scotland is the home of whisky.
It has five clearly defined regions, of which the smoky and peaty whisky from the isle of Islay is the best. Think an ashtray of water… no, seriously, it will grow on you.
See www.visitscotland.com and https://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk.
We’ve been drinking here since 1608
Ireland: Yes, the Irish dispute that Scotland is the home of whisky and with some justification.
Bushmills https://bushmills.com/distillery/on the Antrim coast is the oldest licensed distillery in the world.
King James, a Scot to his boots, had granted the Ulstermen a license as early as 1608.
The Kilbeggan, from 1757, is thought to be the second oldest althougb when it comes to quantity Scotland has seven of the top eight.
With Glen Garioch near my old stomping ground of Aberdeen Aberdeen – a light in the north a particular favourite.
And Meldrum House where they keep adopted son of Aberdeen Sir Alex Ferguson’s whisky in a special locker for him…
And check out www.discovernorthernireland.com and www.tourismireland.com
The American dram
USA: You might not expect to see the Oo Es of Eh third in a top ten of the oldest distilleries in the world.
But that is the claim of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, two years ahead of Scotland’s oldest, Glenturret.
I have my fave cousin Kath’s husband Mark, a native Kentuckian, to thank for introducing me to proper bourbon and rye.
And that’ll be Woodford Reserve and Bulleit Frontier Whisky.
I drank my way through the Deep South https://www.deep-south-usa.com. Sign up for the Civil War… it is Virginia
And my American Trilogy The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings.
While I’ve let ‘er buck with my friends in Portland which has it’s very own distillery, House Spirits, in its airport www.travelportland.com.
Switzerland: Who’d have thought that you could get whisky at the top of the Alps?
In the Ice Bar, at the end of your Jungfraujoch train, the highest railway journey in Europe.
In a nod to Scotland too you can also have a game of curling up there too… www.myswitzerland.com and Swhisskey on the rocks
Czech out the whisky
Czech Republic: I was too busy testing the beers… for research purposes obvs.
So I didn’t even know of Czech whisky.
Hammerhead is considered the Father of Czech Whisky, the Cold War whisky.
And I got a taste of Prague’s Cold War history on my recent trip to the Czech capital, a city I love… www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.
Read more about how Vaclav Sitner fed the bourgeois tastes of wealthy Czech and Russian officials… www.scotchwhisky.com.
And back to the lockdown word game and the initials of your Christian name…
I bet you that Celtic player of yesteryear wishes it was a surnames game…
I mean your pantry would be packed if you were called Jan Venegoor of Hesselink.
Japanese (and Scottish) girl
Masataka Taketsuru, the Father of Japanese Whisky
Japan: When the Japanese put their minds to it they go all in.
Masataka Taketsuru, the third son of a sake brewer, switched to the Japanese elite fave whisky.
And even came over to Scotland to visit the distilleries, study science at Glasgow University and marry a Scot Rita.
And take his knowledge back to Japan and spawn the Japanese whisky industry. Visit https://www.japan.travel/en/
And while we’re in lockdown I’ll try to revive my Jocktails feature Jocktails – Whisky Sour particularly now the Son and Heir is home.
And he has taken over the shaker and improved on his Old Msn.