The First Whiskey to Touch My Lips

It was late October. The leaves were still green in Brooklyn while upstate New York was exploding with pops of red, yellow, and orange. Autumn colors crept south the way flame eats across paper.

It was Saturday morning. A friend of my friend Dan was having a party upstate. Dan needed a ride. My brother had a car. The math was simple. Dan procured two more invitations for my brother and me.

Short on funds and not wanting to pay for a hotel, our plan was to camp that Saturday night after the party and then drive home Sunday. It was perfect. The fall foliage was out and the summer bugs were not. Our plan was about to get better though. You know what goes great with camping and campfire? Whiskey.

Being newly twenty-one I had never had whiskey. This seemed like a golden opportunity. Twenty minutes and twelve-dollars later I was the proud owner of my first Bourbon. The fact that it was Bourbon was based mostly on the fact that it was twelve-dollars. You know, short on funds and what not.

We spent the rest of the morning getting our gear together. It was early afternoon by the time we loaded the car and started north. Then we drove. And drove. And drove some more. Dan told me the party was upstate. He didn’t tell me it was six hours upstate. By the time we arrived, the party was half over. That’s ok. We were still going to camp and enjoy nature and whiskey. Or so I thought.

It was twelve-thirty in the morning when we left the party. And it was raining. No. Pouring frigid thirty-four-degree sheets of water. Camping was a definite no. What now? We hadn’t made any other lodging arrangements. Drive back home was all we could do.

It was seven a.m. on Sunday when I finally trudged through my front door. Angry, exhausted, and wet I grabbed my unopen bottle of whiskey and a glass. Oh, after the last twenty-three hours I had just experienced, the whiskey was happening. I poured a shot of Very Old Barton and downed it in two sips. What was it like? I thought, “Hmm…so that’s what whiskey tastes like,” and went to bed. And that was the first whiskey I ever had.

What about you? What’s your first whiskey story? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

— Zac Smith

4 thoughts on “The First Whiskey to Touch My Lips

  1. It was a hot summer night the year was 1972.I was 19 years old and hanging out with some friends that had a rock band at a place where they practiced.Me,Bob,Gary,Allen,Billy and a few others were messing around at playing some Stones,Beatles and other rock songs.Ronnie who was a few years older than us showed up with a variety of Whiskey.I think until that night I never even tried whiskey. Being so hot and sweaty I pretty much gulped down any mixed drink they put in front of me with whatever whiskey they put in it.While not qualifying as a “Whiskey Warrior “I still remember thinking how I enjoyed it.


  2. I was 17 years old and always the designated “bartender” when my parents had friends over. I never mixed any fancy cocktails, just the standard gin and tonic, vodka tonics, etc. Well, that night my dad said I could have a drink. I thought I’d like to have a Jack and Coke, but my dad suggested a Chivas on the rocks. He said don’t ruin good booze with coke…so I had a Chivas. I loved the taste! And of course I felt like an adult. Ahhh the good ol days!


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