In the beautiful Thames River Valley in Eastern Connecticut, there are two Indian Reservations: The Mohegan Tribal Nation and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Both have, by compact with the state, built incredible entertainment and gambling meccas in the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods resort casinos, respectively. The reservations are sovereign nations existing within the boundaries of the State of Connecticut. Not unlike this arrangement, The Klaskin property is a two-acre carve-out within the state. But, unlike all the wealth and glitz of the gaming establishments nearby, the distinction reserved for my property is that it is definitely, unapologetically Steelers Country (in the heart of Patriots territory).
Autumn is rapidly approaching. The nights are chilling down to sweatshirt weather. The boys are in training camp. I have four opportunities to shake my head and repeat my standard August mantra to the television, “Don’t worry…it’s only preseason…they’re just experimenting…” To me (and as long as you are not a Browns fan – sorry, had to say it), there is nothing as promising as the return of football season. Apart from the fact that our Daniel Hand Tigers high school team is a perennial powerhouse, I am a total sucker for the pageantry and the raw display of power, skill, intrigue and camaraderie that is the NFL season. Late summer into fall is my favorite time of the year.
Outside of football, fall is all about family, friends and social gatherings. There’s the picnic and BBQ scene surrounding Labor Day Weekend. There’s tailgating or hunkering down with buddies in front of the big-screen to watch games. If you’re Jewish, there are the High Holy Days, with their feasting activities. And of course, it all culminates in the quintessential family holiday of Thanksgiving.
But most exciting of all, perhaps even more than football, family and friends (Bite your tongue, Seth!), autumn is most definitely Whisky Season! What do we do when attending all of these wonderful gatherings? We bring gifts of food and drink to the table. So the fall brings many opportunities to show off our creativity and skill in selecting fine libations to share with the people we love. Also, October brings significant whisky events like WhiskyFest NY and, of course, our very own Whisky Jewbilee. And then there is this image: there is perhaps no better time to enjoy a special dram with special folks than while sitting together on the sofa, watching the annual Turkey Bowl with your pants unbuttoned, one hand stuffed in your waistband, while the other is swirling and warming a deliciously golden single cask whisky. Hmm, that one may have hit a little too close to home!
For me, different seasons favor different styles of drams. Fall renews my annual love affair with the peated malts. They warm the heart and call the mind to heady times by the campfire or the hearth. The flavors that complement the peat are as manifold and bright as the many colors of the autumn leaves that set the Thames River Valley afire each October. Fall also brings me back to bourbon whiskeys, with their dessert-like qualities and the way they pair so beautifully with cinnamon-and-spiced pumpkin pie, warm pecan pie and the incredible zucchini and pumpkin breads that my mother bakes.
Yes, fall is in the air. A time for football, friends, family and feasts. A time for whisk(e)y.