$10 burgers & handheldsOctober 24, 2014
Gin on Gin JulepSeptember 23, 2015
I recently spent the week in Washington, D.C. on business. As my usual fashion, I built in a day or so two to see the sights in a new town. I haven’t been to DC since I was in high school with the band for the President Elect Bush 41 Inauguration parade. I was more interested in getting laid by one of the flag girls on the trip than the history and sights of DC then so now it’s time to do it right. There is so many cool things to see and do. Washington D.C, Here I come.
As it turns out, McKeever had recently been in Washington and suggested a few locations I visit that didn’t involve sights, at least not of the historic kind. I ventured out on a slow Tuesday late afternoon for a happy hour with intentions of going to Jack Rose Dining Saloon. This place should be on everyone’s list to see if you ever get to the DC area. They were voted the one of the best Whiskey bars in America. They have over 1800 bottles of all kinds of whiskey, knowledgeable bartenders and some decent food.
Now I mentioned that I had intentions of going to Jack Rose. I did some research of my own and found a new bar in town that was close to Jack Rose but touted a little more personality. Rebellion Bar on 18th and T St. I showed up just as it opened and was greeted by Brian behind the bar. He suggested one of their homemade barrel-aged Old Fashioneds. Not bad at all. I believe it was Old Forester juice with all the fixens inside. This place is not huge but a nice feeling neighborhood bar with plenty of whiskey selections. Next I was turned on to an Old Ezra 101 from the Heaven Hill distillery. It’s a great pour. I like the sweetness but also the “heat” that your mouth gets drinking a 101 proof bourbon. This was also really good in an Old Fashioned. I wasn’t quite sure if it was the bourbon or it was how well Brian made the drink that make it taste really good so I had to have a second just to make sure. I ordered their take on Mac n Cheese with bacon for an early supper. It can be filling and a full meal if you want it to be. Nice flavor and it was definitely good.
I left there and headed a little deeper into the downtown for a cigar bar called Shelly’s Back Room. This was definitely a cigar bar and if you don’t like them, stay out. Everyone in the place had one and were not afraid to take big draws and fill the room with smoke. The kind of place that your wife knows where you were when you get home and have to shower before even thinking about getting into her nice clean bed. I ordered up a La Gloria Churchill and stayed on the Old Fashioned train. One drink turned into a few to many and a nice parking ticket for going past my meter time. Totally forgot about those stupid street meters. I had their jalapeño burger for dinner. I would recommend that. Good flavor and perfectly cooked.
On Wednesday afternoon, I started my quest to some liquor stores in the area to see what I could find someting magical. DC did not disappoint. Schneider’s on Capitol Hill (close to Union Station) has a great selection and they had their own barrel of Four Roses 11yr single Barrel OBSO. They were kind enough to let me sample it while in the store (Why do they have an open bottle of this in the back room? You know, for tastings… that’s what I would do.) I was also looking for the Old Ezra 101 that I liked so much last night. No luck here but I’ll keep looking.
There is a ton of Pappy products on the walls of liquor stores and bars. Washington is not lacking their allotment. The problem is they want stupid money for it. 12yr Lot B was selling for $499 in some stores. One place had a 23yr for $2500. No thanks, I happen to know a few places in Phoenix I could enjoy that kind of pour for much cheaper.
Now I did find one of Julian’s offering to Japan back in the early 2000’s. Very Old St. Nick in the 12, 15, and 22 year as well as a few bottles of the Rare Perfection 25. The prices went from $225 for the 12yr up to $550 for the Rare Perfection. Not a bargain but VERY interesting to see and touch. They even had the Japanese writing on the back label. A Four Roses Super Premium bottle also hiding up in the dust for $300 as well.
Calvert Woodley is a great store in the Cleveland Park area with a pretty good selection but my score was at Sherry’s. I found the Old Ezra I was looking for. They had 5 bottles of it and I own them all now. Not that expensive of stuff but something about it I really like. I also found a new offering from the Bowman Distillery. Abraham Bowman Double Barrel. The society already has a few of the John Bowman and Bowman Brothers in the fold so it was nice to see a few bottles of this selection making its way to the Rickhouse in AZ.
Thursday night was the night for Jack Rose. It is definitely a sight to see. The walls are covered with whiskey bottles and the menu is an inch thick. If you can’t find a drink you like here, go back to beer. I was there just a few short minutes before I was asked if I would like to go down to the Whiskey Cellar downstairs for a GlenLivet tasting. “Why Hell Yes I do!!” They had a bottle of the 12, the 18, and this year’s Nadurra. As a bourbon drinker, I have to say the gateway scotch for me seems to be the GlenLivet 18 this night. A few kind words to the bartender, a wink, and a smile to the hostess got me a few more tastings of the 18. Kindness goes a long way. The bar down here is a nice little den of some pretty special bourbons. Parker’s Heritage Wheat Whisky 13yr was a great find. I spotted an Old Fitzgerald in a really cool decanter bottle. I’m told it was bottled the year after Julian died in ‘86. I also found one of the original Four Roses Whiskeys for Monticello in Frankfort. There is no shortage of really cool old whiskeys that’s available to the general masses willing to pay for it at Jack Rose.
While Jack Rose was a great stop, it’s a bit stuffy in here and I miss my new friends over at Rebellion. A short walk down the hill and I’m back. The Thursday Night football game was on and the place was packed. The energy was great and people were mingling everywhere. I sat at the end of the bar and ordered up an Old Fashioned with my new favorite Old Ezra 101. I have the Mac and Cheese again but adding some chicken to it is the way to go. Another drink and a boring game at halftime, I call it a night and start to head back to the hotel. Or so I thought… I made my way up to the bar to say my good nights to some people I was talking to earlier and I run into Wes Westlye. Wes is the owner, operator, and Whisky extraordinaire of this fine establishment. He’s done a hell of a job getting this place up and running and stocked with some great bourbons. He offers me another Old Fashioned and a stool. It’s never a good idea to turn down a good mans booze so I have a seat and grab a new cocktail. After talking awhile, he introduces me to his partner and we share a pour or his Willet 23yr he’s got signed by the distiller hiding up high in the bar. This stuff was pretty amazing. I’m then offered a Glenlivet 15 to try. The Welcome Wagon is definitely here. Another final tasting, THE Jack Daniels Sinatra Edition. You all know I’m in my happy Jack Daniel’s place now. The night had to end and some bacon candy was my midnight snack. This is cooked up bacon strips covered in maple, brown sugar and a bourbon glaze. A great way to finish the night.
I did manage to see all the sights in DC I wanted to see and also got in my evening fun as well. The Monuments were amazing to see and an awesome reminder of our forefathers who gave us the opportunity to live free and our military who fought in wars to keep us free.
If you ever get out to the Washington DC area, find your way over to these places and enjoy.
Tell Wes at Rebellion the Copper State Bourbon Society says “Hi” while you’re there…
I’ll end with a Thomas Jefferson quote that sums up the trip nicely,
“…A little rebellion now and then is a good thing”
Copper State Bourbon Society