Whisky, Straight: How Millennials are Loving a Dram

“Bye, bye Miss American Pie!

Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry

And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye

Singin' this'll be the day that I die, This'll be the day that I die.”


The times they are a-changin

Remember the big, booming voice of Don Maclean pouring out of the radio? The good old boys might’ve been drinking whiskey, and rye, and waving good bye to Miss American Pie quite a few decades ago, but there’s no waving good bye to a good glass of whisky, is there? And, the drink of the gods has cast its magic spell on the millennial. The millennial has warmed up to whisky, trading chilled beers for a dram of scotch, or single malt. No more just a drink for big, old, rusty men with booming voices and strange tales, generation Y is riding high on the whisky wave. And, it is a bold move.

The Millennial Dream

Before you ponder why it is a bold move, imagine waking up and gazing out of the window at the world outside. As you blink, the view you’d woken up to flickers, and dissolves. A new scene pops up in its place, followed by another, and then, another. Before you know, it is all gone. Only a faint traces linger, before a new image takes over. Another episode from Black Mirror? Another nightmare from the past? Sadly, not quite. Welcome to a day in life of a millennial. No, it is not as glamorous as the sitcoms make it out to be. And, the millennial dream? Living independently in swanky Manhattan apartments may be a reality. Pockets may get heavier, pay cheques may get fatter, but life for a millennial is not as rosy as it seems.

The commercial boom of the 20th century has ushered in a world which thrives on short-lived visual stimuli. Remember Joey’s Ichiban ad stint from FRIENDS? Yes, the show ended a long time ago, yet Joey’s purple lips stayed on in popular imagination. That is what ads do. They stick to you.

Take a walk down the streets of any metropolitan city around the world, the mushrooming hoardings, and glow signs boards will attract your attention. There is no escape. There is a visual explosion, and it is taking over the lives of people. Of all things that the cutthroat lifestyle has put at stake, communication has suffered the most. Spare a moment to ponder upon how a major chunk of interaction that takes place nowadays happens in virtual environments. Social media has taken over. There is no more the time for a lazy Sunday afternoon siesta, or catching up with the neighbours, and friends. And, the millennial, born into the whirlwind of a rapidly changing world devoid of memory, and interaction is caught in a frenzy. This generation may be touted as the one that just Netflixes, and chills, yet the flashy lifestyle is only a cover-up of the precarious reality that lies within.

Whiskey Lullaby

Raymond Chandler’s hard-hitting detective Philip Marlowe did not shy away from downing pegs of whisky while solving crimes. Who can forget mad scientist Rick Sanchez from the popular sitcom Rick and Morty, gulping down whisky like it was nobody’s business? Whisky has always been a part of popular culture. And, then there’s a certain Don Draper (Mad Men much guys?), running a riot in the ad world, and swallowing a good measure of whisky. No wonder that whiskey has finally captured a millennial’s fancy.

But, a millennial’s growing fondness for whisky reflects more than their fondness for popular cultural iconography. Whisky is a gendered spirit, thought to be fit for hardy men only, not even boys. A whisky drinking woman is risqué, and stuff that femme fatales are made up of. Yet, with the budding millennial attraction to whisky, drinking trends all over the world are up for a toss. The millennial populations has as many women, if not more, as men. Millennial women are taking to drinking whisky in pubs, and bars, breaking the ‘petite cocktails only’ stereotype. Women may still be just an accessory when it comes to whisky advertisements, but the millennial’s preference for the spirit is surely heading towards an ungendered, unbiased drinking experience. To a millennial, sipping on a dram of whisky is like Adam savouring the forbidden fruit.

At the turn of the 21st century, as the milling crowds fill up the city streets, dreams run haywire, the stakes even higher. And, the millennial’s leaning towards whisky marks a coming of age. Here a step forward to that elusive adulthood which seems enticing, but only from a distance. Prufrock wondered if he could dare to eat a peach. And, here is the millennial, already daring, already dreaming, and pouring themselves a glass of amber poison, audacious enough to take the plunge.