Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Flight of Scotch: Merlin's Rest

Did you know that the little purse that hangs in front of the skirt is for men and men alone?

That's just one of the many interesting facts I'm due to learn tonight. I'm sitting in the back of Merlin's Rest (36th St/Lake St, Mpls) with my friends Troy and Mike. We're right outside the kitchen and perched at one of five tall, slender octagonal tables. Troy's started out with the BBC Burger and Guinness; I'm warming up with a Guinness and have ordered the Angus Burger; and Mike will have the Walnut Burger with his Newcastle. Like you wanted to know.

Our waitress is dressed in a skimpy little Scottish lass number (and is dropping a lot of objects, to her chagrin) and sports an authentic Scottish accent, the origin of which is of course impenetrable to me. I am an uncultured boor, after all. Anyway, the waitress struggled with our credit cards and I needed change for $100, so Troy commented that the waitress might need some pockets. It was jokingly suggested that she try a sporran, I think, but the waitress iterated that women may not wear such things. May not, sir.

My kilt has very deep pockets, but it's solid black, too. And then my belt holds a hanging pouch and a large square pouch that fastens to the belt itself. Feel privileged? That's more than I generally admit, but you've got to fly your freak flag high.

Why is my face flushed? My face feels very warm, and we haven't even started drinking. But I did pay my entrance fee and I got a little sheet of paper with spots marked for the four glasses:
  • Loch Morar 12 year, Highland
  • Inchmurrin 12-year, Highland
  • Ardmore 13-year, Speyside (Highland by some reckoning)
  • The Arran Malt, Island
That looks interesting, doesn't it! Oh, and it seems Fiona is the "whiskey wench." The ceremony just started: a young man walked around playing the bagpipes to announce the ceremony, followed by "Wild Bill" Watkins carrying what I may assume is a claymore (sword, for non-AD&D players), and the dear Fiona, who is now expressing gratitude for us skipping out on listening to another woman (Sarah Palin--believe me, there's no contest).

Carafes of water have been distributed because, evidently, the Arran Malt is very serious. Fiona claims it nearly rendered her blind. Were I a lesser man I would suggest "she looks all right to me." Be glad I am not. Also, Troy and Mike note that the bar is rather warm tonight, so it's not just me (that "flushed face" comment above). Trust me to show up in my union suit.

I'm almost done with my Angus Burger, which is very tasty--bun's a little plain but the focus is on the meat, isn't it? The fries are thick and hearty, I've splashed malt vinegar across them but always have them with mayonnaise. What did I tell you about me being a boor?

Fiona is indicating a large wall map where the four shots come from, elaborating upon regional history. See, the Ardmore distillery is located somewhere bordering Highland and Speyside, but she considers it to be a Speyside brew (I'll look these terms up later). And she indicates that one drink had two markers on the map because even though it originated in one town, the distillery is located elsewhere, apparently. These are interesting and relevant stories, one really has to be here to appreciate them.

And where are you? This flight occurs the first Thursday of every month at 7:30 PM! This isn't just a one-off, and I look forward to checking out future flights, yes sir.


Marina said...

I would be interested in joining you for future adventures in the great land of whisky.

Christian said...

Yes, ma'am. I will alert you whenever it should happen again.