SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Slainte is a Gaelic term for “Cheers” or “Cheers.”
It’s also the name of a special three-week Morningside University May Term course in whiskey appreciation taught by philosophy and humanities professor Brandon Boesch.
Wait, can students earn college credit by learning all about brown liquor? Yes, and the class – which is aimed at academics aged 21 and over – is actually quite advanced.
“We explore how whiskey is made as well as the history behind different types of whiskeys from around the world,” Boesch told Sioux City Journal.
So how did a philosophy professor end up teaching a class on whiskey?
“May semester classes are meant to take the professor out of their comfort zone and allow students to explore something new and different,” Boesch said. “From a philosophical point of view, alcohol was something consumed socially. It puts people in a relaxed mood.
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However, student Morgan Nixon didn’t feel relaxed making a julep mint cocktail in class.
“I don’t know if we’re doing this right,” she said, crushing chunks of mint and granulated sugar into a red Solo mug containing bourbon. “Is that how you jam something?”
“Jamming is just another word to muddle things together,” noted classmate Maggie Barton. “We do it well.”
Apparently, the girls’ concoction tasted good to computer science student JR Albers.
“It’s the type of cocktail that can get you in trouble because you can’t taste a lot of alcohol,” he said. “I imagine a mint julep would be perfect when watching the Kentucky Derby.”
“It tastes more tropical to me,” suggested biology student Micki Twedell. “It’s something you can drink while relaxing on a beach.”
Albers said he wanted to learn more about whiskey after being introduced to the world of cocktails by his grandfather.
On the other hand, Twedell wanted to test his beverage-making acumen on his brother, a professional bartender in Sioux Falls.
“I actually think my brother is a much better bartender than me,” Twedell said after spilling some bourbon while shaking sour whiskey in a cocktail shaker. “It’s harder than it looks.”
In case you were wondering, a whiskey sour is made with bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and a few bitters.
What it doesn’t contain is a trace of apple, which student Rylee Olson refused to believe.
“I definitely smell like apples,” she said, sniffing the aroma. “Or maybe it smells like apple pie.”
“You crazy, it smells like lemonade,” her friend Holly Severance said. “And it tastes like very frothy lemonade.”
According to Boesch, the mousse comes from incorporating egg whites.
“Some people are gross at the thought of an uncooked egg,” he said. “Nevertheless, it gives a whiskey sour a nice texture.”
When the May term started, Albers said he had very little knowledge of the whiskey world.
“I didn’t know what to look for in a good whiskey or in history,” he said. “This course really opened my eyes to the subject.”
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