Grazing: Where Streams of Whiskey Are Flowing | Bite Club

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Grazing: Where Streams of Whiskey Are Flowing

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 4:44 PM

There's a time to weep, a time to laugh, and a time to mourn. There's also a time for Jameson and a time for single-malt Scotch, a time for Kentucky bourbon and a time for local rye.

More than 100 bottles of whiskey grace the bar of Rí Rá's new Whiskey Room, which officially opened at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Precisely two hours later, I sidled up to that bar and dove into the hefty, bound menu, which has detailed historical and tasting notes on everything from Cooley's to WhistlePig to Blanton's Single-Barrel Bourbon. You can almost taste the libations without actually tasting them, and spend 20 minutes reading until you're able to make a decision.

The rooms feels like an enveloping wooden womb, with intricate, dark-wood ceilings and floors, bar and mantle salvaged from a pub in County Wicklow and reassembled here behind the original pub. A gas fire flickers in one nook. Glass cases along one side of the room hold bottles such as the extremely rare Knappogue Castle Whiskey, which goes for about $350 a pour. Manager Matt Messenger says he and others labored long and hard to get some of these whiskeys inside state borders and are still waiting on a few bottles.

My whiskey-drinkin' days used to consist primarily of playing pool while sipping Jameson until a momentuous early-morning tour of the Talisker distillery on Skye turned me on to single malts. Over the next few years, I dropped way too much dosh on drams of Lagavulin, Laphroig's and Oban. But while age is good for Scotch, it can have its drawbacks for humans — such as the blinding headache I get a few hours after imbibing the amber stuff. 

Inside Rí Rá, I somehow forgot this when I saw Scotch I had never tasted before: Auchentoshan. It was a triple-distilled Glaswegian beauty, full of subtle peat burn overlaid with lime, smoke and flowers. A few drops of water made it really come alive. 

Before I forget — there are interesting beers on tap here (Trapp, etc.), a lengthy list of wines by the glass, meats and cheese from local farms, and small plates such as ale-steamed mussels and bleu-cheese chips. These are lovely backgrounds, IMHO, to the smoky stuff.

When I went back to the Whiskey Room a few days later to snap some photos, a cast of rosy-cheeked, late-afternoon regulars already seemed to have taken their rightful places at the bar. Most of them had pints in hand, rather than whiskey. I hope they learn.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact web@sevendaysvt.com.

About The Author

Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch

Bio:
Corin Hirsch was a Seven Days food writer from 2011 through 2016. She is the author of Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England, published by History Press in 2014.

More By This Author

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Bite Club

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation