“Impetuous” is my favorite line of dialogue from the classic John Wayne film “The Quiet Man” and a fitting theme for St. Patrick’s Day. Now you are probably saying what in hell does an Armenian know about that day and how would he even think of wine on that day as well. The old saying is that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and that seems to be true. In the old days when I was just a tot, I remember going to some of the neighborhood establishments in Windsor, where my Father’s family lived for years. My Father and his cronies would order trays of shells on draught. That was the quaint way, as we Americans would say of having draft beer in glasses, and by the way, back then a shell was only a quarter, so even a tray of them would not be expensive. The other quaint thing that I remember and I don’t hear anyone doing it these days, is that they used to add green food dye to the beer for that day, and the odds are that there was never any green beer left the next day.
All of this rambling is for me to get to wine on St. Patrick’s Day, so try to keep up with me and there will not be any Blarney. During my High School years, I helped with the planning for some of the Armenian Youth Federation events that were held in Detroit and the main venue that we used was the old Detroit Statler-Hilton Hotel in downtown Detroit, alas this grand old hotel is no longer around. My contact person there at the hotel must have had a great expense account, because he would invite me for lunches and dinners at the hotel to go over the plans. Most of the times we met at the Trader Vic’s restaurant to eat and specially to drink and as a kid I thought it was a great way to spend an afternoon.
We are finally getting to the wine. It was just before St. Patrick’s Day and he suggested that we have a special drink and it was called Black Velvet. I was so naïve at the time, I thought that Black Velvet was just a “bar” whiskey or what they call a “well whiskey” now. The bartender came to our table with two big “boombas.” Now a “boomba” might be a local Detroit name for a large glass tankard, and I mean a really large glass. In one hand the bartender had a bottle of Guinness Stout and in the other hand a bottle of champagne, and it was just an American “champagne” and you will understand that it does not have to be a Dom Perignon. The two different bottles were poured at the same time into the boomba, and I was told that the secret to drinking Black Velvet was to finish the drink before the champagne stopped effervescing. I only needed one, but my contact person had a couple; and there was no way that I could have had a second one as I was already seeing Leprechauns. This must have been a Detroit version of this drink, because years later I had one and it was a mug of Guinness with some champagne floating on the top of the stout. Trust me, the Detroit version is far superior.