It was a last-second decision. Before we left for Bollywood Tadka in East Brunswick, I grabbed a bottle of Glenlivet 12. As stated earlier on this blog, usually I go with Johnnie Red when it comes to Indian food. Or, if I think I am about to be reamed by some ultra-spicy food, I’ll take a large can of Lime-a-Rita. But tonight was different. Something told me to go with the unopened Glenlivet I had just received for Christmas. It’s one of my favorite scotches, so why not? I have already documented the tremendous compliment Scotch pays to Indian food, and how this whiskey (or whisky) seems to be downed-the-hatch by the Indian people themselves. British colonialism did leave one positive product so it would seem. As I entered the restaurant, I held the door open for three Indian guys on their way in. One stayed behind, thanked me, and said, “We’re still waiting for the bottle to come”.
So I sat down with my parents, they sat down behind us. Another large group walked in. Gradually, they became a party of 22. All Indian men. Out came two 1.75 L bottles of Glenlivet. The owner of the restaurant came over to us, smiled, and pointed at their table to show me. The guys who were there turned around and smiled and nodded. Back to that group of three who came in with us. The last of their table showed up a few minutes later. I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around. It was the owner again, pointing to yet another table with Glenlivet. Did I happen to get caught in the Twilight Zone?
The large party increased. One by one people came in, and sure enough, at least three or four more bottles of Glenlivet were pulled out. The owner kept coming over and pointing it out. Smiles were exchanged between tables. It was getting hilarious at this point. Finally, I offered the owner some Glenlivet. He indulged, and we drank a toast to the New Year…and the abundance of Scotch flowing in the aisles.
As the party finally leveled off, I counted (you guessed it) three additional bottles of Glenlivet. Regular ones, large ones, and gift sets. I had to pinch myself. I say 10 bottles in the title as a placeholder. It was probably more. After another excellent meal, we headed out. One of the guys in the party got up and came over to me. He apologized for his table being so loud due to it being a friend’s birthday. I said absolutely not, and to have fun and enjoy themselves. Still, how incredibly considerate of him. Then I said, “I see you have a lot of Glenlivet over there”, and pulled my bottle out of the bag. He replied, “That’s all we drink. It’s pure. It’s all you need. Keeps you warm and you’ll never get a hangover”. Indeed. I had even offered some to our waiter, and although he declined, admitted that was his favorite too, and the only Scotch he drank.
I challenge someone to come forward and tell me what this is all about. Did I stumble upon some kind of Indian culinary or social secret? Or was this a big coincidence? Either way, it was a damn good time. A night where any possible differences meant nothing. Just good food, good booze, and good fun. This is the stuff I really love writing about.