Whisk(e)y Wisdom

Are You an Emotional Drinker?


Hello, my name is LeAnne and I am an emotional drinker. Now before you imagine scenes of me weeping into a bathtub size glass of wine, let me explain. I love a well-crafted cocktail or a delicious pour. But even more than that, I love the people and experiences that turn those drinks into memories. And if I am with wonderful friends having an absolute blast, I am pretty likely to love whatever is in my glass. Even if that something actually tastes really bad! It’s the reason I am not even ashamed to confess that I like Whipped Cream flavored vodka. It’s the reason I still smile anytime I think of Four Loco even though it tastes like a mix of purple children’s Tylenol and perfume with just a hint of lighter fluid. It’s the reason why I loved sipping on delicate pours of anisette with my papa even though I detest the flavor of licorice. But, happily, it’s also the reason I still count Blanton’s single barrel bourbon whiskey as one of my favorite whiskeys.

When I was a novice whiskey drinker and didn’t know the difference between a bourbon and a Tennessee whiskey (or any other kind of whiskey for that matter), Blanton’s was my big brothers go-to special occasion pour. I remember sitting in the moodily lit bar of an upscale steakhouse before my parents 30th anniversary dinner, feeling pretty swanky when he offered me a taste from his glass. Back then I couldn’t appreciate the depth and nuance of flavor. The deceptively sweet vanilla nose gave way to the burn of pure heat going down but my big brother had deemed me worthy of a sip, so I savored it.

Later, when I finally got a look at the bottle that holds Blanton’s particular strain of liquid gold, well I was even more smitten by my new favorite bourbon. Have you ever seen it? It’s a thing of beauty with generous cushioned facets, like a champagne diamond the size of a grapefruit. And I could not wait to buy one for my own home bar. It is the very first bottle of whiskey I ever purchased for myself and I felt just as swanky with it sitting on my makeshift bar shelf as I did taking that first sip. And then it became part of more wonderful memories. It’s the American whiskey I chose as a gift for friends who hosted me during a trip to England. It’s the bottle I gave my future father in law the first time we met. Each of those moments shared with others has only cemented it more as a favorite.

Ultimately, of all my sentimental “favorite” drinks, the flavor of Blanton’s actually stands up to the test of time. My tastes have changed a lot since that first sip of bourbon. But, I’m still an emotional drinker. I know from experience, it’s not always about what’s in the glass, but who you are with and what you are doing when you pour it.

What is your favorite drink to savor with friends?

— LeAnne Smith