For most of the country, it’s fall again: it’s getting dark earlier, jackets are coming out of hibernation (for the love of whiskey, please, no leggings) and some much-anticipated TV is coming back. Before you plop down in front of the idiot box (no criticism, trust me, I still find the time to do it for these shows), mix yourself a drink – you’ll be glad you did!

The Walking Dead (AMC) – Seriously, there will be a riot if anything happens to Daryl. Ok, had to get that out of the way. Running from the legions of biters, you don’t have time to age your whiskey. On the farm with Hershel you could’ve had time at least to distill it, though you’d have to find somewhere other than the barn to put your still. Fortunately, it’s not like the Feds are going to come and bust you for it, so put it wherever you want! To feel like you’re drinking your own unaged hooch (and if you’re pretending it’s you with Daryl drinking that ‘shine he found, I’m not judging), put some George Dickel No. 1 in a Mason jar and have at it. I’d suggest a cocktail of some sort (you do want to remember the end of the episode, right?), and No. 1 mixes pretty nicely with most anything. Replace vodka or gin in your favorite cocktails, or try something new. Fruit juice, a splash of tonic water with No. 1 over ice is a tasty, quick drink using what’s likely in your fridge.

Sons of Anarchy (AMC) – It’s a bittersweet season, since it’s the last. What’s going to happen? Who’s gonna die? Who SHOULD die? Ah, the pain of waiting week after week as the final season unfolds. (See how I did that with no spoilers? I’m a fan of waiting til something’s over, then binge-watching it, so I really am trying not to give anything away for those of you that are doing that). Regardless of how you watch it, you’re going to need something to get you through everything that’s going on. I’d suggest a gritty, high-intensity whiskey like Rittenhouse Rye. Tough like Jax, but not overpowering, this 100 proof whiskey has a bite. Like Samcro in an ambush, this stuff can sneak up on you, so be careful!

Ray Donovan (Showtime) – I’m a fan of Liev Schreiber, no matter what show he’s in. X-Men? Definitely. The Manchurian Candidate? Sure thing. OK, I even hated Scream sequels a little bit less because of him. So as a brooding, semi-sociopathic “cleaner” for a couple of show business attorneys in LA? I’m so in. It’s another show that’s not for the faint of heart – the back story that centers around his father Mickey (Jon Voight) isn’t exactly Leave it to Beaver. To honor that Irish Catholic, hard-drinking Donovan family – put some Bushmills in your glass. It’s a good Irish whiskey, but has a bit more bite than Jameson, which I think is called for watching this show. Bushmills Black Bush is my favorite. On my trip to Ireland a few years back, I drank Black Bush with a pint of Smithwick’s ale as a back (say it Smiddicks, please don’t pronounce it the way it looks!). You can’t go wrong with that combination!

The Strain (FX) -You’re going to need something bold to fortify you. I’m surprised at the level of gruesome that a network TV show delivers, episode after episode. I did read the first book (who isn’t a fan of Guillermo del Toro?), but wasn’t all that impressed. But the TV adaptation – one of the few that has nightmare-inducing potential! Evan Williams Single Barrel in your glass should help – neat or with an ice cube, it’s enough whiskey to keep you from running completely away, with a great flavor to remind your tongue that you don’t have one of those vampire things in your mouth.

Winter is coming, but not nearly soon enough for Game of Thrones (HBO) fans. Seriously, April, HBO?! To get you through til it comes back (and to ease the pain of GRRM not having finished the next book YET), give the Four Roses line a try. The regular “yellow label” is a really tasty, every day sort of bourbon that’s easy on the budget at around $20, while you can’t go wrong with either the Small Batch or Single Barrel (between $40-$50).

Pro football – We’re part way into the season. Some of us are potentially happier than others, or it could be a pretty long season. Country songs are all about crying in your beer, but this isn’t a beer site, it’s WHISKEY. Depending on your team, (*cough* Jets *cough*) you might want to make sure you stock up ahead of time, just sayin’. A football game is much longer than a 1 hour TV show, so you should probably keep the proof a little lower, and maybe mix with a lighter hand. A Kentucky Mule made with a good ginger beer like Cock N Bull (because that’s what most of us will be talking) mixed with Clyde May’s Alabama Whiskey will fit the bill nicely.

Whatever your small screen preferences, make sure you have a good whiskey in your glass! (though please don’t spill it if a zombie scares you or those grotesque vamps startle you). Cheers!

Article by: Jeanne Runkle

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