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Martini; shaken, not stirred. It’s the iconic drink that came to epitomize the luster of the James Bond lifestyle. Unfortunately, I am not part of the Bond lineage and I hate martinis – they’re too bitter and pricey for my mettle. Aside from beer, my drink of choice is a few fingers of American whiskey. The brand depends on what my neighborhood corner store has in stock but I’ve recently become a huge advocate of Buffalo Trace. When I’m out at the bar, my perspective towards whiskey and drinking in general, changes. I still like ordering whiskey, but I don’t like the added filler of soda or ginger ale and I’m definitely not paying $16 for a Jack and Coke double. Instead, I opt for rail whiskey neat. Does it raise a few eyebrows? Sure. Does it taste wonderful? Not really. But it gets the job done, and it still fills the bare minimum of my whiskey parameters.
I know my preferred drink order isn’t the best visual, especially when you’re out with friends, but at some point you just have to bite the bullet and get comfortable in your own skin. Ordering it neat means that I don’t have to worry about suspect bar ice watering down my drink, plus I’ve found that I typically get a bit of an extra pour when I order it with no frills. For me, drinking at a bar is all about maintaining my buzz in the most efficient way possible, and I’ve found that sipping on some rail whiskey just does the trick.
Another reason I like the order: you’re not going to want to take huge gulps of this for obvious serving size reasons. But the highly bitter taste of whatever Evan Williams or Kentucky Deluxe liquid you’ll be sipping on means that you’ll want to drink this slowly. You won’t savor it by any means, but you also won’t be chugging through your third vodka Redbull in the same time period because it tastes like liquid candy. It’s like the pesky governor on the country club golf cart. It might not let you jam down the gas pedal but it also saves you from crashing into a tree.
I’m still a whiskey novice, but I can definitely tell the difference between a nice bottle of Woodford Reserve and a plastic handle of Fleischmann’s. Along with making you both drink and money efficient, another benefit of drinking rail whiskey neat is that you learn to appreciate the good stuff. I sure as hell am not going to order a $20 glass of the top shelf when I’m 5 IPAs deep at my local dive bar, but I have no problem sipping on a nice glass during a casual night-in.
It’s all about balance. Ordering rail whiskey with no frills gives me that. Am I psycho for making that my go-to drink of choice during a night out? Maybe, but it hasn’t proven me wrong yet. .