Thirsty?

Thirsty? (Scott Bradley, Baltimore Sun / May 28, 2013)

There are times in life when only one thing will do, and that thing is whisky.

Finely aged spirits from a barrel, on ice or neat, with or without water — when you need hair on your chest as soon as possible, the only answer is whisky. Baltimore's bar scene is loaded with whisky, and while it's a simple task finding your Jim Beam and Jack Daniel's around town, your sophisticated palate desires more for your hard earned dollars.

Unbeknownst to me, Canton's Bartenders is not only a place known well for its pizza, but also its whisky selection. "We sell more Irish Mist than anyone else in town," said owner Danny Coker. "I'm a huge whisky aficionado." And while their whisky menu is appropriately sizable, one spirit in particular sticks out as 2013's Artisan Whisky of the Year from Whisky Advocate magazine: Corsair Distillery's Triple Smoke.

Oh my lord, this stuff. "Sophisticated" is an understatement. Barley malted and smoked with not one but three (hence the name, duh) fuel sources; cherry, peat and beechwood. Your average whisky might take on a signature earthiness and woody characteristics, but Triple Smoke dials these qualities up at least five notches. So technically this makes it something other than a whiskey, not a scotch, just an incredibly complex booze deserving of praise. It's a wonderful example of a very advanced whisky that demands a bit of time to savor. And with Coker's generous pours, you'll need a lot of time.

For my money, there's no need to water this one down and is best served neat. But if you're not used to the sometimes challenging strength of a whisky or scotch, add a bit of chilled water or a few ice cubes and let it mellow. While not necessarily recommended for any type of pizza pairing, Coker and company will make sure your whistle is well whetted during your visit. Enjoy.

How to make the Corsair Triple Smoke

One bottle Corsair Triple Smoke

Ice if desired

Water if desired

Depending on taste, pour 1 1/2 to 3 oz. in a rocks glass with ice or water to taste. Enjoy thoroughly.

Where to get the Corsair Triple Smoke

Bartender's

2218 Boston St., Canton

410-534-2337

bartendersbaltimore.com

$8.50