Day 67: Whisky! The Secret to Longer Life

The news this week had an article that caught my eye about a woman named Grace Jones who is 110 years old – the 10th oldest person in the UK. Grace says the secret to her longevity is that she has had a nightcap of Famous Grouse single malt whisky every evening for the last 60 years.

I mentioned the article to my family over dinner tonight and they scoffed at me – saying that when you live to be 110 you can say whatever you want about how you got there and people (like me) will believe you. They have a point – in May, the world’s oldest woman said the secret to a long life is to stay single. Others who have lived to 100 have weighed in and their recommendations are all over the place. My grandmother turned 99 this past August and she doesn’t drink and didn’t stay single. So who knows who has it right, but I prefer to believe in Grace because I like her style and I love whisky!

The article about Grace just happened to come out the day that I had a friend visiting Auckland from the U.S. so we decided to head to the Jefferson – a place that is fast becoming my favorite Auckland attraction. The Jefferson is the whisky bar to end all whisky bars. It is a somewhat hidden attraction in town, nestled underground between Queen Street and Fort Lane. From Fort Lane, the entryway is just a door with a doormat that says Jefferson – you walk down a narrow hallway and enter what feels like an old speakeasy. No windows, comfy stuffed chairs, alcoves to sit in and a bar a mile long with bottle after bottle after bottle of whisky.

img_8137The Jefferson has 600 bottles on display and even more behind the scenes – from blends and bourbons to single malts. Overwhelmed with the selection and don’t know where to start? They have whiskey experts who are used to that – they’ll get a feel for something that you know and like and then offer up options for you that are similar. They’ll bring a few bottles to the table, let you sniff them and see what smells good, and then you can order one of those or try other options. Not sure whether to ask for ice or water? The first time we went they brought a cup of ice and tongs as well as a cup of water with water droppers and put them on the table so we could add (or not) as we wanted.

We had two rounds on Friday. For the first one I asked for something like Laphroaig but not quite as smoky/peaty. This time they actually brought out some Laphroaig bottles and I picked one — the first time I went to the Jefferson, I mentioned Laphroaig and they brought out some other bottles that were similar but different distilleries. For our second round we decided to try a kiwi Whisky as we didn’t know they made any in New Zealand. There weren’t a lot of NZ options but we picked one that was Manuka smoked from Thomson Whisky. It was excellent!

I’ve only been twice now and both times were on a Friday. Earlier in the night it is easy to find a table and was a bit more intimate but toward 8 pm or so it got crowded and felt more like a typical pub. The Jefferson doesn’t have a large food menu but we ordered their schnitzel and beef ribs and they were fantastic. The schnitzel wasn’t at all like traditional schnitzel (more like stuffed rolled chicken) but it was really well prepared.

Grace – if you ever make it to Auckland don’t miss it!


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