The Brooklyn Growler

"Life is all skittles and beer." — Tom Lehrer

Bourbons for the Apocalypse

Yes, OK, I take umbrage with Philip Gourevitch’s Ten American Whiskeys That Made the World News in 2010 a Bit Less Unbearable over in that New Yorker rag.

It’s not because I disagree with pairing whiskey with politics. No. As 2010 closes, the U.S. Senate has done its level-best to make drinking compulsory in understanding its decisions. If not for it. At least for me. The GOP has long been a party of monsters. It is now unafraid to stand revealed.

I digress.

At first I was heartened by Mr. Gourevitch’s blog post. I saw Four Roses and was excited. An unopened bottle of Four Roses was in my home, awaiting its deployment in some Friday-night Manhattans.

Four Roses is one of those cheap-ish bourbons that are always welcome. Prior to its Kentucky distillery being bought out by Japan’s Kirin Brewery, Four Roses was known as being little more than amber-colored paint thinner.

Today, it’s a fine mix of sippin’ bourbon. Straight, it runs a little hot. But with an ice cube or two, Four Roses releases its flavors of oak and spices and gold kryptonite and rich mahogany… It’s nice.

Gourevitch’s list stops at nine, and I’m OK with that. I also can’t argue with his taste in American whiskeys. I wouldn’t turn down a glass of any of them. Still, I stumble.

The list, which includes Noah’s Mill and Pappy Van Winkle, 15 year, has the caveat – “None of them costs much more than a night of beers at most American bars.” If you’re drinking those two, you’re having a pretty good night at the bar – even in New York. I think Gourevitch is drinking with Paul Rudd at nine-dollar beer night, every night.

You can do well for under forty bucks (thirty bucks even). There’s another list that can be made. I assembled my own. These are some bourbons (and its buddies) that aren’t very expensive and hold their own both straight and on ice, as well as in cocktails.

  1. Buffalo Trace
  2. Four Roses
  3. Wild Turkey
  4. W.L. Weller, seven year
  5. Evan Williams
  6. Rittenhouse (rye)
  7. Famous Grouse (scotch whisky)
  8. Bulleit
  9. Old Overholt (rye)
  10. Rebel Yell

Make haste to your liquor store. We have 2011 and its political horrors and world upheavals to look forward to yet.

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