SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Slainte is a Gaelic term for “To Your Health” or “Cheers.”
It’s also the name of a special, three-week Morningside University May Term class on whiskey appreciation taught by philosophy and humanities professor Brandon Boesch.
Wait, students can get college credit by learning all about brown liquor? Yes, and the class — which is meant for scholars age 21 and over — is actually quite advanced.
“We explore how whiskey is made as well as the history behind different types of whiskeys from around the world,” Boesch told the Sioux City Journal.
So, how did a philosophy professor end up teaching a class on whiskey?
“May Term classes are meant to take professor out of their comfort zones and allow students to explore something new and different,” Boesch said. “From a philosophical level, alcohol was something consumed socially. It puts people in a relaxed mood.”
However, student Morgan Nixon wasn’t feeling relaxed while making a mint julep cocktail in class.
“I don’t know if we’re doing this correctly,” she said, crushing pieces of mint and granulated sugar into a red Solo cup containing bourbon. “Is this how you muddle something?”
“Muddling is just another word for mussing things together,” classmate Maggie Barton noted. “We’re doing it right.”
Apparently, the girls’ concoction tasted OK to computer science student J.R. Albers.
“This is the type of cocktail that can get you into trouble because you can’t taste much alcohol,” he said. “I imagine a mint julep would be perfect when you’re watching the Kentucky Derby.”
“It tastes more tropical to me,” biology student Micki Twedell suggested. “This is something you can drink while relaxing on a beach.”
Albers said he wanted to learn more about whiskey after being introduced to the world of cocktails by his grandfather.
On the other hand, Twedell wanted to test out her drink-making acumen on her brother, a professional bartender in Sioux Falls.
“Actually, I think my brother is a much better bartender than me,” Twedell said after spilling a bit of bourbon while shaking a whiskey sour in a cocktail shaker. “This is harder than it looks.”
In case you were wondering, a whiskey sour is made with bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice and a few bitters.
What it does not contain is any trace of apple, which is something that student Rylee Olson refused to believe.
“I definitely smell apple,” she said, sniffing the aroma. “Or maybe, it smell like apple pie.”
“You’re crazy, it smells like lemonade,” her friend Holly Severance said. “And it tastes like a very frothy lemonade.”
According to Boesch, the froth comes from the incorporation of egg whites.
“Some people get squeamish at the thought of an uncooked egg,” he said. “Still, it gives a whiskey sour some nice texture.”
When the May Term started, Albers said he had very little knowledge of the world of whiskey.
“I didn’t know what to look for in a good whiskey or any of the history,” he said. “This class has really opened my eyes on the subject.”