Danahey On The Loose Toasts A History of Irish Whiskey

Whiskey.

Whiskey. I had to say it for SEO purposes. 

No. I am not drinking while I write this. You mention your topic word ASAP. That’s a rule these days.

Past that, come Sunday, it’s March – the lion, the lamb, the shamrock, boring basketball and the water of life

You know because McDonald’s is serving the Shamrock Shake, the AA version of the old lady drink, the Grasshopper. They also offer a McFlurry made with the same concoction, plus pieces of Oreos. It’s all so minty, just like the Cliffs of Moher.

The minty Cliffs of Moher

You can tell it’s almost March by all the Irish-themed stuff to be found in stores, too. It’s everywhere. Jewel-Osco has shamrock sweatshirts just like monks used to wear and allegedly Irish corned beef. Dollar Tree sells repurposed Mardi Gras beads and crap along with silly-ass parade props and over-drinking garb.

I didn’t have to search too long or hard for those examples.

Where I live, Dollar Tree and Jewel-Osco are just a few blocks from each other. They’re on a mall property where the only anchor stores left are a Kohl’s and a Barnes & Noble. The M in the Macy’s sign burned out, so now it’s an acy’s as it holds its final close-out sale.

No luck of the Irish there. 

On Facebook, Best Fest Buddy Tom posted a link to  an unusual way to soothe hemorrhoids involving potatoes. I guess that’s Irish.

Alas, March ain’t the Ides, where we would get to literally stab someone we didn’t like in the back. Nah, until St. Patrick’s Day, March belongs to all things marketers and the media think are Irish. 

The last half of March is college basketball – and unless there’s a story like Sister Jean when Loyola miraculously made it to the Final Four in 2018, I’m not interested.

College playoff basketball is usually slow, and nobody shoots well anymore. Toddler soccer is more exciting.

But back to Paddy-palooza time (and please don’t call the saint Patty. Ever.). Some of the Irish stuff can be fun. And sometimes you might even learn a thing or two. 

A History of Irish Whiskey

That should be the case Monday night, March 2 at the 125-seat  Newport Theater in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood with a presentation called A History of Irish Whiskey.

Event host Tony Staunton says, “We have added a few modern touches to explain the history of Irish whiskey in a more present day setting.”

Current setting or not, what would a history show (or a recent Irish cliche-prone episode of Doctor Who) be without time travel? 

To that point, Staunton noted that Chicago-based comedian Alex Joyce will take to the stage as a 7th century Irish monk. I hope he wears one of those sweatshirts I saw at Jewel-Osco so I’ll know.

My buddy, noted whiskey/whisky expert Marty Duffy, will be playing Joe Sheridan. Sheridan invented the world famous Irish Coffee. Marty once worked as a bartender so he knows how to make lots of great drinks.

Staunton said Chicagoan Corrine Ashley will be putting on a Prohibition Era dance extravaganza. I asked Staunton if that meant there might be any Peaky Blinders-type bootlegging from England to Canada to Al Capone’s Chicago.

“It’s not in the reading. I would have to research it,” he said.

Slane Irish Whiskey

Given this night’s theme it’s good to know Slane Irish Whiskey will be involved with the presentation.

“I don’t want to give too much away. You’ll have to buy a ticket to find out how,” Staunton said.

Those behind the presentation have decided to donate all proceeds beyond the $120 theater rental fee to a wildlife rescue organization working in Australia in the aftermath of all the awful, unprecedented wildfires.

On a lighter note, and not to be confused with A History of Violence, A History of Irish Whiskey sounds like a good name for a movie or a Netflix series. I think it would be great as a series. That way you could go into the details of each era. And streaming services love time travel shows.

Aiming really high, in Staunton’s dream version of A History of Irish Whiskey, Academy Award-winner Neil Jordan would direct. Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy, Saoirse Ronan, Colm Meaney, Aidan Quinn, Liev Schreiber and others would star.

My hip-hop idea for a show

I didn’t tell Staunton my other idea, mostly because I just thought of it: an Irish rap musical, a Hamilton on the Rocks.

Besides frisky, what rhymes with whiskey? More importantly, what rhymes with uisce beatha? 

It will take some mad skills. So many rhyme drills, to put together my show with the right flow. Bank on the River Liffey, as I preach about whiskey, with or without the E, just ain’t the same you see. Tell Bono I’m about to pee, metaphorically lyrically, with or without him I’ll gladly be…

Hey, that was easier than I thought!

Ticket info for A History of Irish Whiskey – and other fun Chicago Irish Whiskey Fest stuff

Either way – and better yet –  the fully stocked A History of Whiskey takes place Monday, March 2 at 8 p.m. at the Newport Theater, 956 W. Newport, Chicago. Tickets are $27.24 in advance (including online service fee) and $30 at the door. The show kicks off Chicago Irish Whiskey Fest, a host of events throughout early March including one on whiskey and sustainability, a near-rhyme I’m gonna have to work into my lyrics.

March Madness