Food Stuff

Illustration By Conrad Garcia

Ireland, inspired by laws in the United States, will have smoke-free pubs by the end of the month. The centuries-old tradition of tobacco-filled pubs will be cleared away, as if hit by a gale off the Atlantic. But, as employees proudly point out, Irish whiskey long has been smoke-free. Bushmills flew a lovely Irish lass to a whiskey tasting sponsored by Sacramento Slow Food. She led a comparison of four Bushmills whiskeys with the best-selling Scotch in America, Johnnie Walker Red. She explained that Scotch is made from barley malt dried over a smoky peat fire and that Irish whiskey is made from barley malt dried in a kiln without any smoke at all. And, she added, Bushmills is triple-distilled for extra purity, though Scotch is usually distilled only twice. We smiled and nodded, and wouldn’t you know, even the lowest-priced Bushmills tasted clean and smooth, while the Johnnie was somewhat coarse? We came away wowed by Bushmills’ public-relations savvy and by the virtues of smoke-free whiskey.