I was born and raised Catholic, and as part of our tradition I have always “given up” something for Lent. Now that being said, I am also a Yankee – and not until I moved to New Orleans did I ever hear of the 40 days rule: You can have what you gave up on Sundays. What? My whole life I have gone from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday having given up ice cream, candy, coffee, alcohol (and more to the point BOURBON!)…and by my calculation I am owed some days of indulgence. So, I’ve done some calculations, and here is what I feel is my IOU from the Lent Enforcement Office in the Vatican (no disrespect).
I likely began Lenten observance after my first communion, which was age 7, so 50 years of not observing the Sunday Exception. For each of those 50 years I fasted the 6 Sundays before Easter, and according to my mother-in-law who is an expert on being a Catholic New Orleanian, Lent ends on Holy Thursday. So that gives me both Good Friday and Holy Saturdays too. Here’s the math: 50 years observed x 8 days owed = 400 days. 400 days!
I figure at best I have 43 more Lenten seasons in front of me. So, it’s time me to start cashing in, especially with good bourbon (or rye) whiskey. Thankfully I have the Original Bourbon Club to keep me well stocked and well informed as I take back what is mine.
I think we would all agree that this Lent is an usual one, given the threat of the Coronavirus and COVID-19, and maybe it’s why for the first time in my life I gave up all alcohol for Lent (yes even Sundays). And for those of you who saw me at the March 15 Mandeville Chapter tasting at Nuvolari’s, I have witnesses that I only drank water. They will vouch for me because I gave my pours to them. But I want to share with you the drink that I made for my wife Michele and I on Ash Wednesday eve, and what we are planning on enjoying next Thursday night to break our full-on fast: A classic Manhattan, made with TOBC’s Jack Daniel’s Select Single Barrel Rye:
Glass: Prepare glass with wiping rim with lemon peel – then drop peel into glass
Three Amarena Fabbri cherries, plus a little juice
Shaker: ½ cup ice
Three dashes Angostura Bitters
Six dashes orange bitters (your favorite)
Three-parts TOBC Jack Daniel’s Rye Select Single Barrel Rye
Shake and serve
I will raise a glass and toast to many things on Thursday. To my friends and family; I miss you. To our healthcare workers; thank you. To my TOBC brothers and sisters… Bung Up and Bourbon Down!! Until we raise a glass of fine bourbon together again…wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and keep your hands to yourself. -Doug W.