For countless people around the world, nothing says relaxation after a long hard week like a glass of good whisky. And although drinking in the middle of the week is likely not a good habit to get into, you could probably make an exception just this once, on National Scotch Day, and take the time to appreciate this beloved alcoholic beverage. So are you ready to celebrate? We thought so!
History National Scotch Day
The Babylonians of Mesopotamia were likely the first people to distill alcohol as 2nd millennium BC. At the time it is likely that various perfumes and aromatics were most often distilled. The earliest records of the distillation of alcohol for the purpose of drinking date back to 13th century Italy, where harder alcohols were distilled from wine. Soon, the practice of distillation use spread through medieval monasteries and was used largely for medicinal purposes, such as the treatment of smallpox and other illnesses. Distillation spread to today’s Great Britain in the 15th century, and the first evidence of whisky production in Scotland comes from an entry in the Exchequer Rolls for 1494 where malt is sent “To Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make aquavitae”, enough to make about 500 bottles. Whisky production later moved out of a monastic setting and into personal homes and farms when King Henry VIII of England dissolved all the monasteries in his country due to his feud with the Pope, causing the monks to find a way to earn a living for themselves. However, the distillation process in those days was much more basic than it is today, and the whisky itself was not allowed to age, meaning it must have tasted much more raw than it does today.
National Scotch Day was created to celebrate this alcoholic beverage in all of its glory and remind people that Ballantine’s is not as good as it gets!
How to celebrate National Scotch Day
There are hundreds of distilleries in Scotland you have likely never heard of that make whisky better than you’ve ever tried before, and this day is the day to experience them. The best part is that not all good Scotch whiskies are expensive, so if you want to enjoy this day to the fullest, you can order 5 or 6 miniatures—or more, if you decide to invite people over to share the fun—and enjoy an evening of sampling the unique whiskies Scotland has to offer. Ten-, twelve- and even fifteen-year-old single malt Scotch whisky miniatures can be purchased for under £5 and are sure to help you understand why this drink is loved worldwide. and because it is usually a bad idea to drink strong alcohol on an empty stomach, make sure you have some snacks on hand during your whisky-tasting as well! Cheeses like Roquefort go well with many whiskies, as does high-quality dark chocolate. If you feel like eating something more filling, try a simple meat dish like slow-roasted pork spareribs.
There are also quite a few films to choose from that would be perfect for this day, such as The Angel’s Share, an acclaimed Scottish comedy-drama about a man trying to get his life back on track after narrowly avoiding a prison sentence. The titular “angel’s share”, is what distilleries call the portion (share) of a whisky’s volume that is lost to evaporation during aging in oak barrels.