Lessons I learned contemplating a $50 pour of Pappy Van Winkle 12 year

Lessons I learned contemplating a $50 pour of Pappy Van Winkle 12 year

My birthday is Tuesday, but we decided to get a leg up on celebrating the big 48, with my annual visit to my favorite St. Louis seafood restaurant Peacemaker Lobster & Crab.

I love their bar. ¬†It sits well, their beer selection is tremendous and and their spirits selection, while not vast – contains many of my favorites. ¬†So as I’m sitting there last night perusing the spirits and cocktail menu, I stumble on to Pappy Van Winkle¬†on the menu. ¬†I believe it was the 12 year. ¬†I inquired of the price for a pour and was not surprised that it was $50.00. ¬†As much as I wanted to treat myself to a really special birthday gift, at that moment I was hit with the reality that all bourbon lovers are not created equally.

As I said no to the rare sighting of Pappy’s in St. Louis and yes to a glorious $15.00 pour W.L. Weller’s 12 year I came up with three new rules for my liquor consumption.

My glorious pour of 12 year W.L. Weller

#1. I will never pay more than $75.00 for a bottle of anything.
I would like to say $50.00 but I’m going to be generous to myself. ¬†I find most of my favorite whiskey comes in around $25 to $35 anyway, and with store loyalty programs that price is easily $5.00 cheaper on the right days. ¬†As a budget conscious drinker,¬†I have to accept that there will be bottles I just won’t own. ¬†But this is why I love and plan to attend more whiskey events such as “Whiskey In The Winter,” where you are able to taste and sample many of the finer and more expensive whiskies from all over the world.

#2. It makes more financial sense to build a better home bar
wl-weller-12-yearI said no to the $50.00 pour and yes to the $15.00 pour. ¬†That means for the amount I paid for generous 2 oz pour, I bought half a bottle of W.L. Weller’s 12 year. (On average, the bottle retails around $35.00).

It was my birthday and I was celebrating, and doing so – within reason – is part of the fun. Yes, you’re going to have to buy half a bottle of whiskey once in awhile. ¬†It’s called being a part of the human experience and that is what all of this is about isn’t it.

But building a better home bar makes sense for all times you want your whiskey when you’re not out celebrating. ¬†So, I plan on building my home bar based on the same principals that real bars use, a three tier system of “Well”, “Call,” and “Premium” liquors.

#3 The tier system can work
In my home bar, I like to keep whiskey, scotch, tequila, vodka and rum. ¬†I’m not a gin person, but I may get some to have on hand just in case. ¬†When it comes to whiskey, I keep an inexpensive half gallon of Jim Beam ($20.00 on sale). ¬†I find Jim Beam or Jack Daniels to be just perfect for any random night where I feel like having a sip, but want to save my better stuff.

My Tiers
Well: Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Four Roses
Call: Elijah Craig, Knob Creek, Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark,¬†Four Roses Single Barrel, Bulleit, Basil Hayden, Woodford Reserve, StilL 630, Defiance, Mulligans.
Premium:¬†Whistle Pig, Blanton’s, Angel’s Envy, High West

Well: Jamison,
Call: Glenfiddich, Dewars, Tullamore Dew
Premium: Taliskers, Laphroaig

Well: Jose Cuervo Gold
Call: Sauza Hornitos, Jose Cuervo Silver
Premium:¬†Patron Silver, Patron Anejo, Hussong’s Black Jug

At the moment, I do not drink enough vodka and rum to warrant the tiers, but as my palate grows, these two will be added.

If you as well feel the pinch when you order the double-digit priced glass of liquor, remember that it is okay to do – within reason. ¬†And of course, we will all have different ranges of “within reason.” ¬†Hopefully someday, someway we will all get to the point where the finer things in spirits are easier to come by.




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