It happens enough that I would say it qualifies as some tradition, a way of closing the deal, showing mutual support, friendship or possibly a partnership. I’m talking about the mutual downing of a classic, small, jigger of bourbon. And when you think about it, it’s been an important and symbolic mainstay in many of our iconic and stereotypical moments.
From those dusty gunslingers down at the local saloon engaging in a freewheeling poker game or bellying up to the bar after a rough day of “cowboying”, to the stereotypical scene of a group of sketchy businessmen toasting each other in the dimly lit, somehow sketchy feeling back room of a local dining establishment, a good shot of bourbon or whiskey can be the telltale sign of “sealing the deal”. Likewise, when you see the partners of local firms celebrating a major success or new business opportunity, or perhaps just a simple situation of a couple of friends that haven’t seen each other in quite some time enjoying an outing together, it goes without saying that a shared round of shots can be that capping exclamation point that creates, confirms, or extends a lasting bond.
And then, you know, there’s that whole Polish wedding thing.
What, you ask, you’re head snapping around like I just denounced your favorite pour as swamp water? Polish wedding thing? How in the heck is that related to gunslingers, gangsters, business deals, and whiskey?
Well, maybe more than you know, so sit back, pour yourself a couple of fingers of your favorite, and let me tell you about another tradition where whiskey and bourbon have long played a part in “sealing the deal.”
We all know the drill for wedding receptions, don’t we? Meander into the hall, find a place to call home for the next couple of hours, grab a drink, have some eats, and toast the newly joined bride and groom. But Polish weddings have a little different start to the reception, something that just like all those other scenarios, can be traced to tradition.
You see, we of Polish heritage, (save the jokes, I’ve heard them all), know how to get a wedding reception started, and that entails a good old shot or two upon entering the reception. Although the “official” tradition, when researched, is rumored to consist of vodka, I’ve personally never seen that served as the welcoming shot at any Polish wedding I’ve been to. But there is always plenty of the brown water, hehe. And why not? We are celebrating a life changing union, and as pointed out above, the traditional way of doing this is with that little jigger of whiskey or bourbon goodness. So, as you enter the venue to the reception, you will be greeted by a family member, relative, friend or appointed guardian of the shot table, who will be in charge of your welcoming shot as you arrive.
An icebreaker of sorts, it’s a bonding gesture that says “Hey, we are here as family and friends to support and celebrate this couple and their future.” Of course, there are always the lighter wine and non-alcoholic options for the underage and less inclined, but the act itself of sharing this moment with all involved is not lost. We are a community, we are all friends of the bride and groom, and we all want to see them fulfill their dreams and wishes for that life of happiness and joy.
And the best part is that the shot table remains accessible so that at appropriate times, meaning anytime you want, you can invite the bride, the groom, or anyone for that matter over to that table and share a shot with them to commemorate this special event. It’s a sharing event, and a bond building gesture, signifying friendship, support, and a way that we all can display our approval for the event or occasion.
And I think we can all get behind that, can’t we?
Then we shall all raise a jigger, look each other in the eye with a wink and a smile, and seal the deal with our ceremonial shot of goodness.