12 June 2014

Not just for breakfast

Old pal Rykoff brought me rye whiskey for my retirement. One of the things you can do when you are retired is drink rye whiskey for breakfast. And I'm here to tell you, it's good. It seems old Joseph Hooker--he of Civil War General fame--was a Sonoma man. That's California for the geography-challenged, wine country as renowned as the adjacent Napa Valley. Seems General Hooker was fond of whiskey and women, quite the mac daddy of his day, perhaps this explains him getting distracted at Chancellorsville. But that's no matter. It's the whiskey we are talking about. Prohibition Spirits has a 95% rye whiskey called Hooker's House Rye that is made in Kentucky and then aged in Sonoma Zinfandel barrels. The result is spectacular. The bold, spicy quality of the rye is perfectly balanced by the wine flavors. I wouldn't have imagined that mixture myself, so kudos to the lads who figured it out!

On an etymological note, WordMan™ was curious about the assertion that General Hooker is responsible, via his many parties, for the term "hooker" being applied to women-of-the-evening. According to William Brohaugh's English Through the Ages, the term "hooker" for prostitute was in documented use by 1845, when Fighting Joe was only 31 and had yet to serve in Mexico where he made his army reputation. His national renown didn't come until 1863 when he was given command of the Army of the Potomac. The Online Etymology Dictionary agrees that the connection to the General is remote. The venerable Eric Partridge, in his magnificent Origins, makes no mention of it, linking the word to both "huckster" and "hawker" which seem to fit. "Hook" as a verb meaning "to catch" is a very old English word of Germanic ancestry.

Speaking of foreign tongues, I have to give thanks to Andrei, the Rykoff rye-meister in Russian, and haven't a clue. Alas, I like to say, this is why God invented the internet:


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