If you read our “hard boiled” review of Single Cask Nation’s “Undisclosed” Islay Single Malt, then you already know that I have a thing for Crime Fiction. Whether it be the heartfelt “DC Noir” of George Pelecanos, the rapid fire writing and revisionist history infused insanity of James Ellroy, or the funny, lean, and dialogue rich stories of Elmore Leonard, whenever it comes time to read a book, crime fiction is what I crave. Another writer that I find endlessly readable is Ken Bruen. While Pelecanos, Ellroy, and Leonard are American, with novels that primarily revolve around Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and Detroit respectively, Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor novels are set in Galway, Ireland.
Life isn’t easy for Jack Taylor, a former Garda Siochana (the Irish national police) turned private investigator. While he may have a talent for finding things, he also has a knack for hard drinking and hard living, which of course wreak havoc on his mind and body. Drug and alcohol fueled benders happen often throughout the series, but thanks to a massive infusion of black humor, the reading is fast, fun, and furious from start to finish. Jack Taylor is a seriously flawed character, but there’s never any doubt that he’s one of the good guys who’s just trying to do the right thing. If anyone deserves a break, it’s our man Jack Taylor.
Private investigation work isn’t a young man’s game, especially the way Jack Taylor does it. I imagine that once he hits his early sixties, he’ll tire of the brutal Galway weather, brutal cases, and brutal beatings that he’s endured over the years. Maybe he’ll get lucky and score a big case that’ll leave him with enough money for a move to a warmer and less hostile climate. I mean, “the one big score” scenario occasionally works (at least temporarily) for career criminals!
I picture Jack moving to the Florida Keys; Islamorada, or maybe Marathon, because Key West would be far too obvious. He’ll spend his mornings bonefishing and his afternoons lazing on the beach, reading his favorite crime fiction novels. He’ll have cut back on his drinking in a big way, limiting himself to an occasional beer, or maybe something a bit more tropical. When it comes time for a casual meal, he’ll have gone All American: a cheeseburger, french fries, and maybe even a milkshake. And for those times when our hero is feeling a bit homesick (because you can take the man out of Ireland, but you’ll never take the Ireland out of the man), that’s when The Jack Taylor Boozy Shake comes to the rescue.
I suppose I could have gone with the standard issue Irish Whiskey for this drink (i.e. Jameson, Powers, Bushmills, or maybe even Paddy), but Jack Taylor isn’t your standard issue Irishman. Perhaps as a subconscious nod to Jack’s chain smoking nemesis Father Malachy, I decided to go with the cask strength version of the Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey which has the smoke of an Islay whisky, but lacks the extreme medicinal qualities that you would find in something like Laphroiag. The Connemara also has a cocoa or chocolate quality that I find goes really well with vanilla ice cream (The West Coast Office turned me on to this combination. Ardbeg poured over vanilla ice cream is his thing. So is “whisky cheese”, but that’s an entirely different thing). Comforting and soothing. American and Irish. That’s what I was going for with this Boozy Shake creation. I wonder if Jack would like it.
Here’s the recipe…
The Jack Taylor
- 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream
- 1 ounce of milk
- 2 ounces of Connemara Cask Strength Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey
- 1 Golden Oreo Cookie
- 1 Amarena Fabri Cherry
Directions: Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve in your glass of choice and garnish with one Amarena Cherry.