I am going to start this discussion, then take the rest of the week off.

I am going to start by talking about Martinis, but you can talk about any drink you want.

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In answer to the original question: gin, olive, and shaken.

BLACK RUSSIAN: I haven't had Black Russian in 35 years, yet I have convinced myself it is my favorite drink. The girl who introduced me to it explained that it's better than other drinks because it's alcohol + alcohol rather than alcohol + [something else]. If I had been thinking clearly (which I certainly wasn't at the time), I would have realized there are plenty of other drinks that are "alcohol + alcohol" which are far superior to a Black Russian, but what can I say? I was "letting the little head do the thinking for the big head" (as they say). I recently mixed my first Black Russian in over three decades and it tasted 1) exactly as I remembered it, and 2) bloody disgusting.

Wow, that is weird, I had my first Black Russian in probably over 15 years not too long ago. I didn't think it was disgusting, it was fine I guess. Another cocktail made with vodka, which as I said before was designed to be a neutral taste. You're basically making Kahlúa (or you preferred coffee liqueur) stronger.

When I first drank them semi-regularly was at Scarborough Fair down in Waxahachie. A friend of mine was dressing up and going every weekend. He got to know a lot of people, including vendors, there. One of the vendors kept a ton of it in the back of their shop and would let my buddy go back there and fill up. Thus I got some too. It was pretty sweet being able to drink there for free.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

BLACK RUSSIAN: I haven't had Black Russian in 35 years, yet I have convinced myself it is my favorite drink. The girl who introduced me to it explained that it's better than other drinks because it's alcohol + alcohol rather than alcohol + [something else]. If I had been thinking clearly (which I certainly wasn't at the time), I would have realized there are plenty of other drinks that are "alcohol + alcohol" which are far superior to a Black Russian, but what can I say? I was "letting the little head do the thinking for the big head" (as they say). I recently mixed my first Black Russian in over three decades and it tasted 1) exactly as I remembered it, and 2) bloody disgusting.

Oh, man, at the last bonspiel I was at at the curling club (those were the days...) a few of us had the bartender start riffing on Black Russians. We substituted tequila for vodka to make Black Mexicans, and then later swapped out the coffee liqueur for absinthe (adding a little simple syrup) to make Green Russians. 

I left my car at the club that night and let Kathy drive us both home.

BLOODY MARY: For a vodka-based "alcohol + something else" drink, I enjoy Bloody Marys. Back around the time i was drinking Black Russians, I also enjoyed drinking "red beer" (beer plus tomato juice). I discovered a can of beer and a can of spicy hot V8 makes a good mix that fits perfectly into a 16 ounce glass. I always thought a spicy hot V8 would go good with vodka as well. A couple of weeks ago, I bopught a bottle of vodka but I had forgotten to buy V8 on my previous trip to the grocery store. I ended up buying a six pack of Bloody Mary mix to go along with the vodka. A week later, I bought some spicy hot V8, but it wasn't as good as the regular mix was. I did rediscover drinking red beer and spicy hot V8 by itself, though.

"BUSTOFF": Before I get to the real reason I started this discussion, here's a "fictional" mixed drink I tried recently. One of my all-time favorite three Stooges shorts is 1937's "Grips, Grunts and Groans" in which the boys are engaged to keep the wrestler "Bustoff" sober before his big match. They fail (of course) and curly must take his place. But while Bustoff is carousing, Moe reminds him that he's not supposed to have any alcohol, to which Bustoff replies, "That's not alcohol! That's just a little vodka, tequila and cognac!" I always thought that, someday, I would try one, and recently I did (one part each). It tasted almost exactly like I thought, and exactly what you might expect. but it did lead me to discover my favorite...

COGNAC: Until recently, I had never actually tried cognac before, and my choice of the one to try was based entirely on the size of the bottle (small). I lucked out because this particular cognac has become one of my favorite drinks ever: A. de Fussigny Selection fine Cognac.

Okay, the real reason I started this discussion...

I have never been much of a whiskey drinker, but when I went to Scotland in 2018 I traveled with someone who was big into Scotch and we visited several distilleries. I don't know much about Scotch but he did, and I enjoyed the tastings and the lore and rituals surrounding the imbibing of Scotch. I thought that when I got back to the states, I might become an expert on whiskey, particularly Texas whiskey. I gave it the old college try, but there are just so many and I'm coming to it somewhat later in life so i gave it up.

While tasting a variety of single malt Scotches in Scotland, though, I discovered one that is absolutely, hands down my favorite. I will probably drink it for the rest of my life and I'm not really too interested in finding anything I might like better (which isn't likely). There are a few liquors types for which I have an absolute favorite (well, two). I thought I'd share those here, and maybe use this discussion to discover a favorite of other types via recommendations. first up...

SCOTCH: Ardbeg. It is an intensely smokey single malt Scotch whiskey (actually, "whisky" is the correct spelling in this case). I have discovered I like my Scotch on the smoky side, and this is the best I have tried. I buy the 10, but older ones are available as well. 

NEXT UP: Tequila 

Playing a little catch-up, Jeff.

Bloody Mary: Man, you can have that crap. I was never a fan, and then 4-5 years ago a friend of mine insisted I try it again. I know people's tastes change so I gave it a shot. Still disgusting. I'm just a fan of any drink that has tomato in it.

Cognac: Its probably been about 20 years since I last had any. I first started drinking it when it got really popular in the hip-hop community and a lot of my friends began drinking it, so the only way I've had it was doing shots of Hennessey. It didn't leave a very positive memory. I'm not adverse to giving it a shot sometime.

Scotch: The first time I had this was at an after party at a friend of mine's wedding were I was co-Best Man. It was one of, if not the, longest day of my life. Ask me about it sometime. For me Scotch is okay. I have a few friends that are really into it, and I don't remember which ones I like and which ones I don't. My problem with a lot of Scotch is that it has a medicinal taste to me. It can be an exceptional drink though

Scotch: my wife drinks it regularly (Dewar's White Label is her usual). We've also visited Scottish distilleries, and have a friend who is really into it. So I've sampled many of them. I like most I've tried, but I like Bourbon, too, and Irish whisky. I sometimes make whisky sours with Scotch, which I know would horrify purists.

TEQUILA: I've never been much of a tequila drinker, although i would on occasion drink mescal because I liked eating the worms. I remember one time my brother met my flight at the San Diego airport. He had an RV at the time and, instead of driving to his house, we spent the night on the beach on Coronado Island. This beach, instead of regular fire pits, had washing machine "cages" (the part which holds the clothes) in which to build your fire. I don't know who thought of this, but it's a great idea. Not only does it keep the ashes contained, but when that metal cylinder gets hot, it generates some serious heat. But I digress. At one point (after we had been drinking fr a while), my brother came back with the next round, three shot glasses on a tray, saying, "One for me, one for thee, and one for the fire," tossing the third on the open flame. I was really quite surprised how much it flared up (not to mention that I had been putting it in my body).

Anyway, I never drank too much tequila after that until one night British talk show host Graham Norton was Stephen Colbert's guest on The Late Show. Graham Norton is known for serving his guests the alcoholic beverage of their choice during the show. In order to make him feel at home (I suppose), Colbert opened a bottle of George Clooney's brand of tequila, Casmigos. Norton drinks white wine exclusively on his show, yet he was raving about how smooth Casamigos tequila is. I bought a bottle and was extremely impressed. I doubt I'll ever buy any other brand of tequila I like Casamigos so much.

KENTUCKY BOURBON: There are probably as many whiskies from Kentucky as there are from Texas if not more. One of my nephews introduced me to my personal favorite on the occasion of my niece's (his sister's) wedding: Blanton's. He learned of Blanton's during his pro-football days, at the time a good, mid-priced whiskey. Since then, with its partially hand-written labels,  it has developed a certain cache and, last time I checked, had shot way up in price. It's very difficult to find. the afficianados know when it's going to ship, and are waiting at the door like comic book geeks on Wednesday.

I have managed to find a few bottles over the years, and the price has gone up every time. A couple of years ago, during the holiday season, I found myself driving from store to store to find a bottle in stock. I finally found one, behind the counter, and when I asked how much it was, the clerk relayed the question by shouting to someone in the back. The answer came (already about $20 more than i had exprected to pay), when someone from the front office shouted back an additional $30! I was so p*ssed! I tried one last place: a little hole-in-the wall near where I worked which ordered specialty beer for me from time-to-time which larger chains were unable (or unwilling) to add the their "palette" (whatever the hell that means, but i got that answer more than once). The price was the same as at the other store (before it was jacked up), but when the owner of this store saw it was me, she knocked 10% off! 

It was still pricey and I haven't had it since, but if you're ever looking for a good single barrel Kentucky bourbon, try Blanton's (if you can find it).

Never really been into whiskey. It may be that I just haven't had the good stuff.

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