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Well, Mr. Bonhoeffer, I can respect that sentiment. If whiskey is so good--and it is--why add anything to it?

Having said as much, about ten years ago, I began to branch out a little. I'd take a little vermouth in my bone dry martini; I'd mix a manhattan into the rotation, as I found myself in more sitations in which I would have liked some whiskey, but not straight. Before very long, I came to believe that sipping a cocktail rather than a straight drink was nothing to be ashamed of. It was simply a different kind of arrangement for a favored beverage.

My opinion on the matter is this: when you drink whiskey neat, you're not always going to be able to tailor it to as many situations as it deserves to be a part of. But with the help of a few more ingredients, you just might be able to tailor it to many more situations, and be able to enjoy it all the more.

James brings up a good counter in this spirit: he has a certain kind of exprience, one with a good omelette, and occasionally he'd like a bloody mary with that. Now, there have been many times in my life when I've sat down to breakfast with other people and privately thought, "how the hell am I going to get through this without a little something extra?" And it's certainly not appropriate to order a shot of whiskey neat with your breakfast, but a bloody mary is another story.

I'll admit I have ordered a whiskey sour on occasion before noon, though not very far before noon. Before I started drinking cocktails, I would never have whiskey even before five. I find sazeracs a good drink when out with a crowd, and manhattans great at a hotel bar where I am meeting with people who are near strangers. Only, in fact, when I am with friends--or sometimes alone--do I find opportunity to drink whiskey neat or from a snifter. But for me, cocktails afford the possibility of enjoying whiskey in more kinds of situations.

Best to you,

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