Never Pour Whiskey in the Dark

So the big weekend has come to a close and I’m having a hard time standing upright.  I blame my brother Don, I blame Don Draper and I blame Kentucky.

You see, I have a pretty potent whiskey hangover right now, as I fought to enjoy every scrap of time I could find this weekend.  Mostly that meant a day full of fun with the family, and an evening spent alone in the man cave watching back episodes of Mad Men Season 3 while drinking assorted beers and whiskeys. After three days of this I’m shot.  I don’t think I could be a rock star – I’d need too many naps.

Last night I enjoyed a bomber full of Lakefront Bridge Burner, savoring it’s earthy and spicy delights. Not so bad, right?  Well then there was the whiskey. 

You see, Bridge Burner pairs fantastically well with bourbon, and I had a hankering for some Wild Turkey.  I started with Rare Breed, a barrel proof whiskey which itself has an incredibly earthy body to it.  I had it with two cubes of ice (just like Jimmy Russel said to), which mellows it and draws out the sweet flavors of vanilla and cherry. It was delicious, and two fingers in a tumbler lasted me for about one episode Mad Men (last season’s finale, which was amazing – they blew everything up, like they do every few seasons on Weeds).

So there I was with half a bomber full of beer left and work in the morning.  A wise man would have called it a night, but I’m an Idiot, so I went downstairs to get more whiskey. But just a little bit.  Looking back, this is where everything went sideways.

You see, the family had gone to bed and the lights were off downstairs.  I could see well enough to navigate my way into the dining room where the whiskeys were, but not well enough to see how much I was pouring into my glass.  I realized this after I had tilted the bottle of Kentucky Spirit and the pour was already under way.  So I estimated how much I was pouring.  Badly.

When I turned into the kitchen to grab two cubes of ice, I could see I had three fingers of bourbon in the glass.  That’s a lot of hooch for a guy like me.  I thought about pouring it back, but that would involve funnels, spills and, well, effort.  I decided to bravely press on instead.

Kentucky Spirit is a corker of a whiskey.  It’s a single barrel bourbon, so every drop that’s in the bottle came from the same wooden vessel.  Without the benefit of blending several barrels together, Kentucky Spirit is a totally unvarnished example of the distiller’s art.  It’s hot, real hot, and very aggressively attacks the palate. But it’s delicious, with undertones of caramel and spice.  Its flaws make it perfect; an authentic, imbalanced Kentucky original.  In other words, I drank the whole thing.  I sipped away at it while watching the pilot for AMC’s Rubicon and some Top Gear from Series 8.  Like the Rare Breed, it paired well with the Bridge Burner, which just might be whiskey’s new best friend.

I thought all was well when I went to bed last night, but I woke up this morning and found it difficult to stand without listing to the left a bit.  The inner workings of my head are gummy as well, and I’m fantasizing about going to bed tonight.  I’m a slightly miserable wreck.

And that, friends, is why you never pour whiskey in the dark.

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle, Whiskey


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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20 Comments on “Never Pour Whiskey in the Dark”

  1. Don
    July 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Sounds like very good advice Jim. Nice reviews too. I liked both of those whiskeys. The Rare Breed I reviewed quite a while ago, but it is still a joy to partake in. The KS, I need to revisit, because I was already pretty smashed when we reviewed it as part of the Wild Turkey Bloggers Forum. So I need to review it with a clear palate. I’m a little suspicious that since each of the bottles we were sent were from the same barrel that they sampled a whole bunch of barrels before they found the honey barrel that they sent out to the reviewers. I would need to buy another KS and compare the two to see if this were the case, but I’m pretty cheap so I probably won’t do that. But I will hit it again soon and give it my full attention.

    Good thing you don’t smoke cigars too, because you would be completely wrecked this morning.

    • July 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

      Yeah, I’m glad I don’t do stogies. I’d hate to wake up with cigar breath on top of everything else.

  2. Rob Crozier
    July 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    I’ve never had a night quite like that Jim, but something tells me you may have taught yourself a lesson – make sure your wife pours your drinks.

    • July 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

      Next time I’ll wake her up Rob. Woman! Get me a whiskey!!

      I really wasn’t that bad until this morning. i thought I was a bit tipsy and maybe I overdid it for a work night, but I was hurtin’ this morning. It was a surprise.

  3. July 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    The classic overpour is bound to be repeated. This is also dangerous when your pouring doubles of Stagg and talking and forgeting the alcohol content. Nothing in this world follows whisky better than a cold beer. No hangover is unkinder.

    • July 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

      The problem is the more you pour, the less care you take. that’s usually okay with beer, but I have to learn to mind the whiskey – it’s big boy booze.

      And, yes, it will happen again. Just not this week – I need a break!!

  4. July 6, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    Still not seeing the problem. 🙂 I think you need a bigger glass so the three fingers turns into two! Seriously, I love nights like that, but always hate the morning.

    • July 7, 2010 at 7:59 am #

      That’s a good idea – a whiskey bucket! It was fun and I love those nights as well, but this one snuck up on me. Guess I’m a rookie.

  5. July 7, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    When I saw the picture of Don Draper, I thought this turned into a chick website. I’m glad to see things are still in order. I don’t drink whiskey but I like to watch DD drink it. Great post, Jim.

    • July 7, 2010 at 7:58 am #

      Thanks Rachel. I think watching Mr. Draper and co. boozing it up had an influence on my decision making process.

      • July 7, 2010 at 8:08 am #

        As long as you don’t take up his other bad habits, maybe you’ll be ok. Is your name really Jim?

        • July 7, 2010 at 8:15 am #

          No it’s Jack Calagione. But I’ve left that life behind, and I’m sure my real brother (Sam) will never amount to anything. He was always more interested in oddly named fish than doing anything with his life.

          I’m sure I’m better off with my “brother” Don.

  6. July 7, 2010 at 8:59 am #

    I’ve had to pour in the dark dozens of times….the trick is to stick a finger in, down the side of the glass, so you can gauge how far it’s climbing up your finger and you’ll know approximately how much is in the glass.

    • July 7, 2010 at 9:42 am #


      • July 7, 2010 at 9:52 am #

        Eww, why? Where have YOUR fingers been?! MY clean finger is a perfect measuring stick.

        • July 7, 2010 at 10:23 am #

          Exactly. Eww.

  7. July 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Prefer finger free whiskey. Hmmm, I guess I’m just gonna have to keep overpourin…Damn! I just did it again.

    • July 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

      Accidents will happen, John 🙂


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