Wednesday, July 18, 2021

It’s No Accident Whisky Is Thailand’s Most Infamous Drink

When you think of Thailand you probably have visions of fancy tropical drinks filled with fruit and an umbrella, accompanied by a handful of straws. A drink people sip as they are laying on the beach in the tropical sun, slowly getting drunk as the day turns to night. The country has a mystical allure to it for people who have not visited. All you know is that it’s far away so they must drink fanciful cocktails.

You’d probably be surprised to know that the Thai’s love their whisky. It’s the most popular drink in the whole country and it’s consumed by nearly everyone. Sitting outside on makeshift tables, the Thai’s line their stomach with this strong spirit every night, until they go home and collapse in a drunken stupor.

It’s no accident

Thailand isn’t a wealthy country. The majority of people probably earn less in a day than you do in an hour. Whisky is the only drink than most people can afford. It’s so cheap it’s available to everyone, and they like a drink. Why waste your money on a few bottles of beer when you can get a whole bottle of whisky for the same price.

Although there are dozens of different prices they also come in much more expensive ranges as well. This is mostly due to the fact they are imported from around the world. For normal Thai’s these are a treat. Anything more expensive than $20 is seen as a status symbol and usually kept for special occasions.

The club culture

In western counties you would have to wait in line as you bought your drinks individually. This is a horrible way to enjoy a night out as you spend more of your time waiting than you do having fun. Not in Thailand, and it’s all down to whisky. You can actually bring your own bottles into nearly every drinking establishment for a small corkage fee.

Even if you don’t bring your own you can buy a bottle in the club for a little more than what it costs in the supermarket. All you need to do is spend a little money and a waitress will bring you a bucket of ice and some cola. If that wasn’t amazing enough you can even leave your whisky at the club if you don’t finish it. They will put your name on it and you can finish it on your return.

Real Thai whisky experience

You might stumble across a Thai whisky you don’t see freely served in shops. It’s called Yaa Dong, and it’s technically illegal, but you can still find it in certain places because the authorities turn a blind eye to it. The reason it’s illegal is because nobody can be sure what’s in it. Some say it’s mixed with opium and dragon’s blood. Who knows?

It’s usually found on street carts and comes in a big clear glass bottle. You can buy a glass for less than 50c and it’s well worth the money. Watch you don’t burn your mouth clean off. It’s touted as having

special powers that can cure ailments or act as an aphrodisiac. The recipes have been passed down through the generations and if you’re lucky to find it, you must give it a try.

Peter Lord is a freelance writer and a whisky connoisseur. He writes for Whisky Marketplace and his posts will help you choose a whisky that best suits your palate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2021

The REAL Way To Smoke A Premium Cigar

Cigars entered my list of hobbies when I was in high school. I would buy them for friends when headed to random parties. Now, when I say “cigar”, I’m talking about Swisher Sweets and other machine-made sticks that one might purchase at a gas station. I never got into White Owl and their odd flavors. I would stick to the fancy ones in the tubes! I suppose this is how many people were introduced to the world of cigars.

 

It wasn’t until I was about 22 that I really became interested in the world of premium, handmade cigars. Real cigars! My best friend’s dad was enjoying a cigar on the front porch one time when I visited. It smelled much different (and better) than the crap I’d been smoking for years. I got curious. The attention to detail that he showed while smoking sparked a serious interest in me. He showed me his humidor and how he liked to keep the cigars at a certain humidity and temperature level. What? That was all new to me!

 

 

Fast forward a few years and here we are. I have my own ritual of smoking that I go through with each and every premium cigar. If I know I have to be somewhere, I don’t risk rushing through one. I take the time to relax, ponder, and enjoy.

 
Step 1: Inspect The Cigar
The first step is to inspect the cigar. Some people don’t pay much attention to it. Look at the veins, color, and construction. A properly wrapped cigar is something of beauty. The passion in the roll stems from the passion of the culture. Some other things to consider during your inspection:

  • Is it soft to the touch?
  • Does it have soft spots? What about blemishes?
  • Any weird anomolies that stand out on the wrapper?
  • Is the tobacco rolled tight when looking at the foot (the part you light)?
  • What does the cigar smell like before lighting?

Amazing how much you miss when you don’t take the time to notice!
 Step 2: Cut The Cigar

Once my initial inspection is complete, I like to grab my favorite cutter; Xikar MTX Multi-Tool. Some people bite off the cap, some use scissors. Some people take a huge chunk of the cap off and the damn thing starts to unravel on them. This step is important and should not be rushed. With the Xikar, I can take off the exact amount of the cap so that it doesn’t unravel. Precision!

 

Once the cigar is cut, it’s time to light.
Step 3: Light The Cigar

Lighting a premium cigar takes time to master. Some people like matches, but I prefer a triple-flame torch lighter. Toasting the foot of the cigar prior to drawing air through it can help create an even burn. Some people just hold the flame to the end of the cigar right off the bat and start puffing. In my opinion, that causes the cigar to burn too hot and become bitter.

 
 Step 4: Smoke The Cigar
Over time, my palate has matured. In the early stages of smoking, all premium cigars just tasted like smoke. After a few years I started tasting flavor profiles like dark fruits, wood, nuts, and coffee. Your palate is uniquely yours. What I taste isn’t necessarily what you’ll taste. That’s the beauty.

 

Take time to enjoy the smaller things in life. Details can enhance the most satisfying hobbies on the planet.

 

Mike Dean is a guest blogging assistant with expertise in cigars from Famous Smoke Shop. Mike loves reviewing cigars and helping beginners become aficionados. Visit Famous-Smoke.com for information on winning the cigar lover’s trip of a lifetime!