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Too Much of a Good Thing

By Michael Schiaparelli · October 10th, 2007 · Fermentations
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I attended college long before "Internet gaming" existed. For fun, we couldn't hole up in our dorm rooms until dawn playing Halo 3 with kids in Tokyo. No, we earned our virtual battle scars the old-fashioned way -- face-to face ... over a Risk board.

Of course, it was college, so one evening we turned Risk into a drinking game. For every set of armies defeated, the losing player did a shot of Canadian Club. Unfortunately, I was the last player to roll dice in the first round. If you haven't played Risk, that means that I lost a lot of armies, and fast.

We polished off that first bottle pretty quickly, and Howie pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels, saying, "Here! We'll keep playing with this." I dimly recall lifting the first shot of Tennessee whiskey to my lips when it all goes mercifully black. I spent the next several hours forcefully expelling everything in my digestive tract. I couldn't drink, smell or even look at whiskey for years afterwards. Even thinking about it made me nauseous.

It's funny, but everyone seems to have a similar story: One night of overindulgence in a particular libation leads to a lifetime of revulsion. Frequently, it's tequila. Sometimes, it's a particular cocktail, like a White Russian. It must be a survival instinct, our bodies subconsciously protecting us from poison.

And yet I've always loved the idea of whisky. If any beverage tastes of the place it was born, it's a single malt scotch, especially those from Islay, with their characteristic aromas of earth and smoke, grass and brine.

They can burn going down, but smolder pleasantly in your core. They can be as raw as a winter storm pounding a desolate Gaelic coastline and as ancient and comforting as the smell of peat fire burning in a hearth. Quietly contemplate the ethereal aromas in a glass of Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Laphroaig. You'll feel strangely connected to centuries of struggle and hard-won contentment.

So, over time, I've patiently worked whisky back into my life. Now, I drink it more often than any other liquor. But I do so in moderation. It was a painful lesson, but I understand that you can have too much of a good thing.



CONTACT MICHAEL SCHIAPARELLI: letters(at)I attended college long before "Internet gaming" existed. For fun, we couldn't hole up in our dorm rooms until dawn playing Halo 3 with kids in Tokyo. No, we earned our virtual battle scars the old-fashioned way -- face-to face ... over a Risk board.

Of course, it was college, so one evening we turned Risk into a drinking game. For every set of armies defeated, the losing player did a shot of Canadian Club. Unfortunately, I was the last player to roll dice in the first round. If you haven't played Risk, that means that I lost a lot of armies, and fast.

We polished off that first bottle pretty quickly, and Howie pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels, saying, "Here! We'll keep playing with this." I dimly recall lifting the first shot of Tennessee whiskey to my lips when it all goes mercifully black. I spent the next several hours forcefully expelling everything in my digestive tract. I couldn't drink, smell or even look at whiskey for years afterwards. Even thinking about it made me nauseous.

It's funny, but everyone seems to have a similar story: One night of overindulgence in a particular libation leads to a lifetime of revulsion. Frequently, it's tequila. Sometimes, it's a particular cocktail, like a White Russian. It must be a survival instinct, our bodies subconsciously protecting us from poison.

And yet I've always loved the idea of whisky. If any beverage tastes of the place it was born, it's a single malt scotch, especially those from Islay, with their characteristic aromas of earth and smoke, grass and brine. They can burn going down, but smolder pleasantly in your core. They can be as raw as a winter storm pounding a desolate Gaelic coastline and as ancient and comforting as the smell of peat fire burning in a hearth. Quietly contemplate the ethereal aromas in a glass of Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Laphroaig. You'll feel strangely connected to centuries of struggle and hard-won contentment.

So, over time, I've patiently worked whisky back into my life. Now, I drink it more often than any other liquor. But I do so in moderation. It was a painful lesson, but I understand that you can have too much of a good thing.



CONTACT MICHAEL SCHIAPARELLI: letters(at)citybeat.com

 
 
 
 

 

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