James Marsden thinks you’re drinking Scotch all wrong
Ervin Trykowski is frustrated. “I come from Scotland,” he told a tiny gathering in the backyard of Bohca, a minimalist bar in New Delhi’s southern enclave. “Which is a country of 5.5 million. You could fit 18 of my countries in your city. And we’ve produced Scotch that ends up in 180 countries. One. Hundred. And. Eighty.” That’s only 15 less than what you can count on an atlas, and therein lies the rub for Diageo’s international brand ambassador: To hear “all these Japanese and Tasmanian whiskies being branded the best in the world” might be reason enough to call someone a bampot.
Trykowski was in the national capital recently, along with actor James Marsden, to ‘host’ a party on the legendary Alexander Walker’s birthday, and ostensibly to take some of this dissipated glory back for Scotch. And that’s how the proceedings for International Scotch Day took off in India: With a decided throwing down of the proverbial gauntlet, and a much too literal throwing back of Black Label and Singleton-based cocktails. No, correction – “scoctails”. That’s what we’re calling them now, ever since Marsden coined (scoined?) it in one of their Doug-and-Brian routines behind the bar.
Between professing love for the Johnnie Walker Black, “the Everest of all whisky”, trading trivia about what’s in your cocktails, (“is there egg in whisky sour?”) and addressing the elephant in the room – What’s happening with Westworld S2? Tell us now! – Trykowski and Marsden swilled in mango nectar and ginger ale and crushed tamarind juice and mint leaves and did all kinds of unmentionable things to our drams. No “connoisseurs” were harmed in the making of these drinks: Because judging by the crowd’s collective tipsiness circa 10 pm, none had turned up.
Or if they did, they were certainly not objecting to the whole “drink it any way you like” spirit. “What I love about whisky,” said Marsden, “is just how versatile it is. Throw in a splash of water to unpack all kinds of flavours; or do it with the Old Fashioned way, which is my favourite cocktail,” Marsden told us. “Whisky is no longer an old man’s drink.”
Whisky, and Scotch, have certainly gone through an image makeover. Perhaps Don Draper can take some of the credit for all the Rob Roys you’re are downing to survive Tinder dates. Maybe that Skyfall scene where Daniel Craig’s James Bond shoots a couple drams of the Macallan did it. But for a nation that consumes 48 per cent the whisky produced in the world, local and international, single or blended malt, it’s a spirit never quite going out of style.
Sure, gin is going through something of a resurgence. Beer is now ‘tasty’, having gone craft and indie and infused with raspberries and whatnot. A certain blended malt’s astronomical rise in popularity might mean it’s the trendiest thing right now. But if you do fancy whisky at the bar tonight, ditch the snobbery, and have it however you like. Trykowski and Marsden would just appreciate it if you don’t forget that Scotch was is the OG.
Source: GQ India