The best way to think about the difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is not in religious or geopolitical terms, fraught as they are, nor even in terms of golf.
As Shane Lowry would have it, “Everyone knows we’re all one country when it comes to golf.” We wouldn’t argue with the Champion Golfer of the Year, not today.
Nope. The way to discuss Northern Ireland versus the Republic is … okay, it’s complicated, and not given to clear-cut disquisition nor explication. We’ll make it simple for you.
It’s the whiskey.
Which is to say, you don’t drink no stinkin’ Bushmills. You just don’t.
This wisdom was received of a former elected prosecuting attorney, Sutherland by name, in the home county of the capital of Grey Goatee Nation. His sentiments rested, in life, with the (Irish) Republicans, the parenthetical clarification only necessary because he was an old-line Irish Catholic Democrat, don’t you know.
In his world, you drank Jameson. We here in the Global HQ have been known to favor Tullamore Dew. Both are products of the Republic. So is Lowry.
Bushmills is distilled in County Antrim, Northern Ireland (the same county where resides Royal Portrush Golf Links).
I was instructed, as a young reporter, by the old prosecutor himself: You don’t drink Bushmills.
I have it on reasonable authority that Bushmills is good. Really pretty damn good.
I don’t have a dog in this fight, but if inadvertently offered a glass of Bushmills, I believe it would be bad form to refuse. Wars have been fought over less.
We recently made the acquaintance of The Sexton, an Irish single malt in a hexagonal black-glass bottle that looks good, tastes pretty good and was priced really good until recently when the distributors-that-be bumped it up by 10 bucks.
The Sexton distillers are vague – deliberately? – on where it’s made, but once I thought to find out, all clues suggested it’s distilled in the same place and its brand owned by the same parent as Bushmills.
A big DQ in the HQ? Sutherland would say so. Even if he weren’t dead, I don’t see why he’d even have to know.