A few months ago, I mentioned that whiskey was a great travel drink — especially to have in your room on a business trip. I said:
Whiskey is the only drink that works in a hotel room – there will be whiskey-appropriate glasses in your room, ice down the hall, and whiskey doesn’t need a mixer. Again, minimalism wins. Makers Mark, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels – grab a small bottle. You may not get through it, but you’ll be glad it’s there. Without whiskey, nothing in your hotel room is yours outside your suitcase – the pictures on the walls, the furniture – not yours. With whiskey, your room has your drink.
I’m having a glass of Ancient Age and thinking about that proclamation. It needs a little more explaining.
Sure, whiskey is great, but it’s really a process of elimination that lead me to my conclusion. Yes, whiskey has that frontier flavor, it’s compact and portable, it’s tasty at all temps and price points, it can be mixed or drunk plain — but what about the alternatives?
Beer seems an obvious choice. But the big strikes against beer are the volume it takes up and it’s near-requirement that it be kept cold. Yes, it works to grab a loosie at a gas station for the immediate future, but you just can’t travel with it — it’s only good for instant consumption.
Wine is a little more alcohol-dense than beer, which makes the transportation volume lower, but wine has a reseal problem. With wine, you either have to finish the bottle or let it slosh around with the cork jammed in half-way. And don’t tell me to get one of those fancy vacu-sealing cork thingies — this is real travel (with true grit, of course), not something from the Food Network.
So that brings us to spirits and the first one on the list is vodka … which is the most terrible thing in the world to drink if it’s not ice-cold or mixed with Sprite or orange juice or White Russian extract. It’s out. Then there’s rum … which nearly always needs a mixer too, so now you’re carrying Coke too and ice. Out. Or tequila … tequila actually would work for me. Jose Cuervo Tradicional is delicious and great plain and over ice — but too many people are scared or wary of tequila, so it could kill the party if you’re hoping to share. Gin likes both ice and mixers. Apple brandy / Calvados could work … but you’re not going to find that on a lot of shelves on the road. Brandy … meh. Only in Wisconsin.
So whiskey wins. And the great news is that local whiskeys are everywhere, and if you want to get beyond the price-point of Ancient Age, you can try Rogue’s Single Malt in Oregon, Death’s Door White Whiskey in Wisconsin, Stranahans Colorado Whiskey in Colorado, Templeton Rye in Iowa, and Hudson Whiskey from Tuthilltown Spirits in New York. Hell, you should try all these whiskeys. We’re aiming to.