Last year, I attended the inaugural Water of Life charity tasting, hosted by ER doc and whisky buff extraordinaire Matthew Lurin, and at the time I recommended the event to anyone looking for “an intimate, relaxed whisky tasting.” After this year’s blowout of a fundraiser, I’d like to amend my recommendation to include anyone seeking sincere hospitality, passionate conversation and whiskies you’ll never see—let alone taste—anywhere else.
Held at Midtown Loft and Terrace, the event included 30+ tables with over 100 whiskies across all categories: Scotch, Irish, American, Canadian and beyond. There was a well-stocked buffet and a bar, plus special cocktails from Whisky Blasphemy. The upper floor, with an open terrace, hosted VIPs and Ultra-VIPs for cigars, private dates, and special master classes. And there was a killer raffle, the proceeds of which directly and completely supported The Life Raft Group‘s efforts to find a cure for GIST.
As they did last year, organizers set up the event in a speed-dating format, and attendees were meant to rotate from table to table every 15 minutes or so. And just as happened last year, this system didn’t always function seamlessly. People made a sincere effort, at least initially, but eventually the schedules were forgotten and folks mingled and moseyed around more or less as they wished. The event didn’t suffer for it—everyone seemed quite happy. Whisky will do that! Each table’s host was excited to welcome guests, whether they were experienced drammers or just getting to know uisge beatha, and the enthusiasm that permeated the event was palpable. This year’s tasting completely outshone the one in 2015, meaning Matthew and co. have their work cut out for them next year!
Below, check out some photos I snapped on the night. If you’re interested in attending next year’s event, visit lrgwateroflife.org or join the Facebook group, where Matthew is constantly teasing juicy hints of what’s to come. Remember: This is a fundraiser, so you can buy that ticket with the virtuous knowledge that you’re doing good in the world.
I extend huge thanks to Matthew for having me as his guest again this year—and sincerest condolences on the loss of his stepdad, for whom Matthew started this event in the first place and who passed away just the day before the tasting. His death stands as a reminder of the reason we were all there and a catalyst to continue supporting research to end GIST. And if drinking whisky gets us there, well—all the better, eh?