Table Talk: Rob Morton
Part two of our ongoing series Table Talk, today we’ve got Rob Morton. As co-owner, whiskey buyer, and hooch slinger of Idle Hands (and the soon to be opened Fool’s Gold) in NYC, Rob’s always got a new bottle for you to try, and zero pretense.
Distiller: How long have you been in the spirits industry?
I’m a newbie with only 4 years of bar ownership.
D: When did you really start to delve more specifically into whiskey?
I started drinking American whiskey around the age of 22. I abused a lot of Evan Williams Black Label and used to argue all the time with bartenders when I would order a bourbon and coke (don’t hate, I was 22!) and they would pour Jack Daniels.
D: Is there an inherent trait that draws you to whisk(e)y?
Whisk(e)y is universal. Scotland, America, Canada, Japan, England, Australia just to name a few all distill their own style of it. You can always have a conversation about whiskey with anyone in a bar. Even if their only story is one night in college when they overdid it on Old Crow.
There is just something way more sexy about all of those brown liquid filled bottles on the bar shelf and in a glass over boring clear spirits.
D: Any ‘dream’ bottles that you’d love to be able to taste some day?
That’s easy - I love to taste some of the Mackinlay Scotch that Ernest Shackleton abandoned in Antarctica that was discovered in 2010 after 100 years of being frozen solid in ice.
D: There’s been a boom in world malt productions, is there something new hitting the market that you’re particularly interested in?
Honestly, all of it. I know that sounds like a cop-out answer, but it’s true. I love seeing what the new breed of distillers are experimenting with even if it’s undrinkable, at least they are out there producing it and trying new things.
D: Current Favorite?
Four Roses Small Batch is always a favorite and I’m currently hoarding and enjoying a bottle of Willet 20 year old bourbon not available on the market that was given to me as a gift from the distillery.
D: Given that the costs of higher-end whiskey can often be prohibitive, is there a more wallet-friendly bottle sitting at the top of your go-to list these days?
As above, the Four Roses Small Batch, and once it warms up a little I’ll start drinking a lot more wheated bourbons; Rebel Reserve, Larceny, Maker’s Mark….
D: Anything else you’d like to add?
Whiskey is all about fun. It’s not about snobbery and pompous attitudes.
Don’t ever let a spirit snob tell you how to take your drink. I see Master Distillers pour 2 ozs of bourbon over a full glass of ice. I like Maker’s and Ginger. Even the cringe-worthy whiskey and coke is acceptable If that’s what you like. I may shoot you a quick look for ordering the last one, but I’ll never tell you that you shouldn’t drink it.