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A Man Drinks Scotch

A man drinks scotch. He may drink bourbon. He may drink a martini on occasion. He enjoys beer, if it’s hot or there’s a casual mood, like pizza, burgers or a hangover. And wine of course, during dinner or when feeling reflective. But a man returns to scotch as his raison default. There is a reason scotch has a reputation as the businessman’s drink. You want to know the secret? You can drink buckets of scotch and you will not fall down drunk, you will not make a fool of yourself in a public place and you will rarely have a hangover. It’s true. Oh sure, your words will slur as they roll over your lips, but rest assured when you stick to scotch you won’t pick a fight (that’s what bourbon is for), you won’t pass out (vodka) and you won’t get mean or bitter (gin).


A man does not drink cocktails. I hate the word cocktails, by the way, just say “drinks.” A man doesn’t have a little umbrella sticking out of his Mai Tai because a man doesn’t drink Mai Tais, unless he’s dining at Trader Vics, and I think even that fine old establishment has gone the way of the rotary telephone. A man NEVER drinks out of a straw. A man drinks champagne at a wedding, or when his girlfriend/boyfriend or wife pops a cork on a special occasion, but this is just that, a special occasion. A man never, under any circumstance should drink a champagne cocktail, unless he’s a hooker, or, well just leave that one alone. To continue, a man doesn’t drink Jagermeister, or Goldschlager or any ridiculous concoction intended to make you wasted. Aren’t you seeing the point here? A gentleman doesn’t get wasted.

So scotch it is. The purist will insist that you drink scotch, especially a good scotch, neat. That means no ice, just two fingers of scotch in a suitably heavy old-fashioned tumbler. But that may be asking too much of the beginner, so you could drink it on the rocks (with ice) or with a splash of soda (seltzer or San Pellegrino) or water. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Good scotch, the best scotch, is a single malt. That means it comes from one barrel from one distillery. These can be heavy, after-dinner scotches like Macallan or lighter scotches like Glenlivit or Oban. And these can be expensive. When you hear someone talk about drinking a 20-year old scotch, he means to tell you he has spent a lot of money and he wants you to know it. But scotch doesn’t have to be expensive. After the single malts come the blends. And there are some very good blends. My absolute favorite libation on earth is an old school blend of scotch called The Famous Grouse. And it is no more expensive than a bottle of Absolut, less so. The Grouse is hard to find in bars and restaurants. It is not trendy and usually only the old-timer establishments stock it. But you can find The Grouse at any liquor store and keep your stash at home. If you can’t find Grouse, Chivas Regal is a fine blend as well. A love affair with good scotch is something that can only grow stronger and more passionately every day. And scotch will never break your heart. Or make you make a fool of yourself. If only all love affairs could make that claim.

SocialPrimer recommends: Oban, The Famous Grouse, Chivas Regal.

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  1. aaron July 2, 2009 Reply

    A man drinks bourbon, especially a southern man. I agree with everything else.
    Old Grandad is the bourbon equivalent of Famous Grouse.
    Live well.

    Dear Aaron,
    While I am a fan of bourbon, I will pass along to you what my father told me as I headed out the door for freshman year of college. “Son. A man drinks scotch indoors and a man drinks bourbon out. Good luck.”
    It has served me well. At tailgates and football games my flask is full of bourbon. Bourbon, it seems, is best with football games.

  2. hcat July 8, 2010 Reply

    I don’t smoke much, but when I do it usually has to be with some libation or another, and I’d rather have my Natural American Spirits with Tennessee or Kentucky whiskey, because the terroir is the same as for the tobacco. They don’t grow any tobacco in Scotland.

  3. A.J. October 15, 2010 Reply

    Is it safe to assume you decant your scotch?

  4. Travis November 19, 2010 Reply


    I myself am a devoted scotch man – my single malt is Macallan, my blend is Johnny Walker Red Label. I like that bit of advice your father gave you – scotch indoors, bourbon outdoors. I may have to give that a go.



  5. Tovah October 24, 2013 Reply

    I have been trying to remember what my late grandfather’s brand of Scotch was, and it was The Famous Grouse! We passed a glass around, every family member taking a sip (or two, or three) after the funeral in honor of his memory. Thank you for helping me find the correct brand!

  6. Frank Salisbury May 25, 2014 Reply

    The bar mitzvah in our Scottish/Welsh/American family was learning how to drink scotch at around 14 years of age: ironically not as old as some single malts I’ve had. My dad–something of an unorthodoxed Mormon–never trusted other “men” that didn’t drink scotch. He was a very successful entrepreneur but grew up through the Great Depression so he learned that even asking for a “call” scotch at the bar in the 50’s – 70’s meant you had big bucks and he would never do such a thing. He was a Curry man. Anyway, I learned and have been successful myself to a lesser but much happier degree. I prefer a Glenmorangie (Lasanta-aahhhh) or Mcallan 18 or an Oban, but Johnny Red/Pinch/Chivas will serve nicely when I’m bugging out from the zombie apocalypse…

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