Heading to Dublin with the good people of Jameson for the definitive Irish holiday rightfully makes you a bit nervous. It threatens to be too much of a good thing. Dublin, like New Orleans, has a powerful effect on the imbiber’s imagination. You suddenly hear yourself saying, Yes I’ll have a Guinness at 11am, and it feels perfectly natural. It recalls a line from a novel by the great Irish writer John Banville. Two men walk into a pub before it’s opened and one says innocently: “We were passing by and to our surprise discovered we had a thirst.”
By now, Jameson is so familiar that it’s easy to forget it was founded in 1780. When you wonder why these companies endure, look no further than Ger Buckley, their master cooper who’s worked there for decades. Coopers, of course, build barrels and casks (the original Kennedys—yes, those Kennedys—who immigrated to America were coopers). We watched Ger demonstrate how to assemble one of the barrels that ages the whiskey. It’s a demanding process that Ger made look easy, like an expert fly caster, but of course you know it’s not. The barrels are made of charred white oak from Kentucky, using the same essential technology the Romans invented two thousand years ago. Why change a good thing?
When you pull up a stool at The Long Hall, you know you’re in the right place. There are no televisions, there’s no music. They take the direct approach to drinking, the way God intended. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the new Jameson Black Barrel, which is coming to a bar near you. Complex and refined, it’s about as good an everyday whiskey as you can want.
But whiskey also plays well with others. Here’s a cocktail even an experienced trencherman wouldn’t expect to work, but does. Whiskey, Chartreuse and red Vermouth. The Chartreuse provides a clean, botanical counterpoint to the whiskey. The olive, which seems entirely out of place, raises the umami stakes so high you’ll almost laugh. Two should be enough. It might not surprise you that somewhere between Dublin and New York we forgot its name.
The Forgotten Name
1 part Jameson
1 part Chartreuse
1 part red Vermouth
Mix in a tumbler with ice and stir until extremely cold. Serve neat in a small martini glass. Garnish with an olive. —DC