With the Olympics well under way, alcohol companies and bars are using some innovative marketing to ride on the coattails of the winter games. Gold medal martinis and Olympic drinking specials are everywhere. It turns out that Scotch doesn’t have to try too hard to trumpet their Olympic connection. The brown spirit’s relationship to curling dates back to the dawn of the sport. Both are native to Scotland, and they’ve been enjoyed together during Scottish winters for decades.
Laphroaig is an official sponsor of the U.S. Curling Association, and they’ve been hosting events at curling clubs throughout the country to highlight the spirit’s connection to the games. A recent event in New York featured a curling demonstration from a former Olympic team member, followed by a tasting of some Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Laphroaig 18 year old. After the attendees drank a few sips, they were invited to try their hand at the sport. It’s much harder than it looks – especially after enjoying the Scotch. They don’t call it “chess on ice” for nothing.
To this day, even at the top levels of competition, the opposing teams enjoy a dram together after their match. This promotes the game’s heritage and good sportsmanship. While the 16th century Scottish players probably drank something different than the peaty Laphroaig during their matches, the friendly spirit represented by the shared drink carries on.
The medal events in curling aren’t held until the last few days of the Olympics, so there is still plenty of time to grab yourself a dram and take in the sport. If you’re going to try your hand on the ice, make like the athletes and enjoy some Scotch
after your match.
James Mulcahy writes about spirits and New York nightlife at