Scotch before whiskey …

The St. Paul Scotch & Whiskey Fest aims to make the Happy Gnome guests even happier.

Scotch before whiskey …

Jay Boller

WHAT: St. Paul Scotch and Whiskey Fest WHEN: Sat., Oct. 24 WHERE: The Happy Gnome, 498 Selby Ave., St. Paul TICKETS: $10 If America is about one thing, it’s about whiskey. From our surliest cowboys to our most distinguished moguls, either a rip from a flask or a sip from a refined tumbler set the tone for our nation. Whiskey’s a great leveler, the greatest liquor and being celebrated at The Happy Gnome ‘s second annual St. Paul Scotch and Whiskey Fest this weekend âÄî the nation’s largest, according to the Gnome. If America’s about another thing, it’s about big-ass festivals, and The Happy Gnome is neatly coupling both those essential Americana ingredients. The festival features over 300 bottles of whiskey, scotch and bourbon that run the gamut from pedestrian to expensive and rare. âÄú[The event is] not formal, but it’s not âÄòcome and slam as many shots of Jameson as you can,âÄô âÄú said Happy Gnome general manager Catherine Pflueger . âÄúPeople who come to a scotch festival are there to sample scotch.âÄù And sample they will. A $10 ticket provides a tote bag, water, brochure and, of course, a glass. From there, $2 to $200 half-ounce samples will be doled out from more than 28 providers under two heated tents. The Macallan 55 Year Old in Lalique is the prize pig of the bunch and in turn fetches the $200 price tag. A rare, cherished single malt, a bottle of the stuff checks in at more than $14,000. The festival is a departure from the standard expression of whiskey festivals âÄî events where patrons spend $150 and drink âÄôtil they fall down, said Happy Gnome beverage director Nick Settich. So when the bagpipes sound at noon to summon the imbibing masses, CarlsonâÄôs CEOs-in-training as well as St. Paul’s farmers-in training can rejoice in the majesty of brown, warm America.