So said Simon Brooking from Laphroaig whiskey, as he raised a glass last Saturday to kick off the US Curling Mixed Nationals at the Chicago Curling Club in Northbrook. I’m inclined to agree with him on both counts. Single malt scotch and curling may both be acquired tastes, but each is worth getting to know better.
We learned a series of whiskey tasting techniques from Brooking — like how to make the most of its “bouquet” by taking a deep breath through your nose with your mouth open, and how to taste from the center of your palate to fully appreciate the drink’s dimension. We also got schooled on the finer points of curling, while we were at it, by a number of kind folks who chimed in as we watched the game. The Chicago Curling Club has been around since the 1948, and has an excellent reputation in the sport. It turns out that curling is serious business — a game that requires intensity, strategy, and team work.
But off the ice, curlers are a merry, friendly bunch, eager to chat about the sport and the camaraderie they share. The Chicago curlers even have a cookbook, which I immediately shelled out a well-spent five dollars for, and apparently they often host dinners after their games. I’ll try a recipe out of the cookbook soon and will report back!
Brooking’s series of entertaining toasts fit perfectly with the atmosphere at the club making me think that curling’s connection to the Scottish isles goes way beyond the granite in curling stones or the plaid decor that dominates the building interior. Our friend Pete captured the toasts on video. Check it out on YouTube to get a taste of the fun!