Inventory for February 26th, 2017
Welcome back to this week’s inventory! Read all about why David Wondrich despises the bar stool, Bacardi’s stake in Illegal Mezcal, the world’s oldest Van Winkle Bottle that’ll be available soon, Dandelyan’s epic win at the newly re-launched Class Bar Awards, and Jägermeister’s new sippable edition. Cheers!
It takes more to being a good bar regular than just showing up. What exactly? Let David Wondrich show you the way. In his piece on just that topic in Lucky Peach, he describes exactly what being a good regular entails. For all you barflies out there, this is a must read.
Why David Wondrich Hates Barstools
Wondrich says it best himself, he doesn’t mind them a barstool so much at 2.15pm on a Tuesday “But when 6:30 p.m. rolls around and you’re trying to get a drink and the bar is palisaded with a Trumpian wall of backs; when putting in a simple drink order means you have to stick your head into someone’s side eye-patrolled personal space and yell past their ear; when reaching over the tight-packed shoulders to get your Martini is like playing one of those rigged claw games—then, barstools suck”. Trumpian wall of backs. HA! He argues that barstools represent a private taking of what should be a public space. Wondrich documents the history of the barstool, noting that those cheesy Western saloon movies in which one cowboy hits another over the head with his stool never actually existed, because bars didn’t have stools. Oyster counters and soda fountains did, but not bars. At least in America. In Irish bars you got your drink at the bar but stood by the tables along the wall, French-style cafes and German-style lager gardens had their own little table/communal beer bench thing going on. Only during Prohibition did speakeasy runners take their style cues from places where one could still drink legally. Namely London, Paris, and Havana. And those places had barstools.
Apparently “One of the reasons those non-American American bars had stools is that they allowed women to drink there, and hoisting a foot up on the brass rail and leaning into a shot of hooch was somehow considered unladylike”. Sure, sure. That sounds reasonable. And since speakeasies invited ladies too, they had to have the stool. Once drinking became legal again, there was still some weird laws re: “saloons” (read Wondrich’s piece on the details) so the bars just stuck to their stools. He suggests trying to drink at a place that finds no use for them, “such as J.J. Foley’s in South Boston, you’ll appreciate how doing away with them creates an easy, egalitarian flow at the bar and makes the whole place more social”.
Bacardi Buys Minority Stake in Illegal Mezcal
The Spirits Business reports: “Bacardi has confirmed its acquisition of a minority stake in Ilegal Mezcal, but dismissed speculation that the firm is in discussions to buy a stake in India’s Radico Khaitan”. Bacardi invested an undisclosed amount into Ilegal Mezcal but the producer will continue to operate independently under its founder, maintaining its own business structure and current employees. “The brand, said to be “one of the leading artisanal mezcals” in the US, will be distributed nationally by Southern Glazer’s and will sit under the firm’s Transatlantic Spirits unit.
World’s Oldest Van Winkle Bottle to be Sold
The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery is set to launch an “extra special, one-time bottling” of 25-year-old Van Winkle Bourbon to be sold at $1,800. The Spirits Business reports that the bottling is made up from just 11 barrels that will yield 710 bottles. The liquid was distilled at the Kentucky-based Van Winkle family distillery in 1989 and the barrels have been aged on the lower levels of a warehouse until 1992, when they were relocated. They continued to age a further 12 years before being transferred into stainless steel tanks to halt the ageing process. “The resulting liquid is presented in a handmade glass decanter by Glencarin Crystal Studio, which is engraved, individually numbered, and finished with a silver stopper. A glass top for the decanter is also included”. Old Rip Van Winkle’s president Julian Van Winkle says “We are excited to be able to offer something so unique and rare for our most devoted fans”.
Dandelyan Wins Four Gongs at relaunched Class Bar Awards
After six years of absence, the awards (now managed by Agile Media) made a comeback in London. The Dandelyan won the awards for Best Bar, Best Hotel Bar, and Best Drinks Menu. Dandelyan’s head bartender Aidan Bowie won the Bartender of the Year vote. Several team members of the Nightjar and the Oriole went on to win supporting awards. The Lifetime Achievement awards went to Jake Burger of The Distillery and Portobello Road, Burger has spent 20 years at the forefront of the drinks business.
Manifest: Jägermeister Launches High End Sipping Bottle
Jägermeister launched its high end sipping bottle “Manifest” in Berlin last week. A number of exclusive guests were allowed to try Jägermeister’s second special edition bottle, besides the winter herbs version. The new bottle is still made on a basis of 56 herbs but produced from five, instead of four, macerata. Its allowed to age in small oak barrels and thus lives on in the Jägermeister tradition. It will cost around 30 Euro in travel-retail and will be available from April 2017 onwards. Cheers!
Foto: Photo via Shutterstock.