Lifestyle By Ethan Gibson / April 19, 2019 There it is. The small brick building with a green canopy. Everything is covered in a foot of snow and the roads are slick, but we made it! I haven’t been in this building in a decade. My best friend from childhood and I step out of the truck, grumble about how cold Michigan is, and walk into the place where my love for bourbon began 10 years ago.At first glance, nothing has changed. The owner looks the same and apparently isn’t aging. There seems to be more bourbon than I remember. We immediately start looking past the un-aging owner to see what kind of bourbon we’re going to drink tonight. I left Michigan a long time ago and don’t return often, so a celebratory drink is in order. Andrew, my friend, points out a few good bourbons. We discuss the options, change our minds a few times, and leave with a bottle of Mitcher’s Bourbon in hand. Back into the frigid cold, we start the truck and head back to home.Let’s enjoy a bourbon outside, shall we?I grab the Mitchers and pour a couple fingers into some glasses while we stand in my mom’s kitchen. We sip and start talking about our newly acquired bourbon – some of the flavors we’re experiencing and what we like about it. The conversation turns back to our “first love.” You know – that ONE bourbon that set your senses on fire. The bourbon that really stopped you in your tracks. The conversation goes backwards from there, to other life experiences and whiskeys ignited this passion for spirits.As we reminisce, we realize how our love for whiskey has evolved over the years. Not only with what we’re drinking (young adults without greats jobs can’t drink Bookers) and how we’re drinking it. Eventually, we grew up, got “real” jobs (we could finally afford Bookers), refined our palettes, and most likely fell victim to some of the fads in the bourbon world. The biggest and worst change was…wait for it…we almost exclusively drink whiskey indoors these days.Re-wind 10 years from this moment. Same weather. I enter the same store I previously mentioned but I don’t scan the shelves. I grab a bottle of whiskey that fits my friends and mine’s budget – and our budget was nil. We’d get ten of our best friends together, grab a bunch of fire wood, and march off into the snowy, wooded, darkness. Why would we go outside in a snowstorm when we could just stay inside and relax amongst friends? I couldn’t tell you why – but this I know…whiskey tastes better outside.Being in the moment. The smell of the fire. The harsh contrast of sipping warm whiskey and the cool breeze. Snow falling. Sharing a bottle that a dedicated distiller put all of their, love, energy and soul into – and now you’re sharing that bottle among your friends and family. Moments like that are some of my most cherished memories. One of life’s greatest joys.Since those days in a patch of forest outside of town, and now during our annual reunions in northern Michigan, everything has changed. From knowing nothing about whiskey, to starting a distillery that will hopefully let others have similar experiences. Everything is different except one thing – my closest friends and family make it a point to open a bottle, light a fire, and talk under the stars.