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A Wannabe's Guide to Aspirational Whiskey Drinking

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A more attainable alternative to the rare and pricey Pappy Van Winkle.

Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery

Bourbon: it's corn for drunks. 51% corn, distilled, aged in charred oak barrels, bottled at greater-than-or-equal-to 40 percent alcohol per volume. That's it. That's bourbon.

Not this one, though. This bourbon's not quite that simple. This is the hallowed Pappy Van Winkle. Some say it's overrated, but for us — whiskey-drinkin' blowhard not-quite-sophisticates — this is our white whale. Pappy Van Winkle: 15, 20, or 23 years old.

We gotta try this bourbon! (Sigh.) But we can't. We'll never be able to. It's rarer than rare. It's smaller than small-batch. Only about seven or eight thousand cases of Pappy are distributed every year, a tiny fraction of what the big boys like Jim Beam put out. And that's too bad, because it's better than whatever booze we've ever had (even though, uh, we've never had it).

The rarest, the finest, the greatest, the smoothest, the god of all bourbons — it's a ghost. $50 an ounce. $100 a pour. Waiting lists. Whiskey heists. A bourbon black market with bottles fetching several thousands of dollars. Mass hysteria.

Pssst: There's a better way.

At popular beer nerd haven Strangeways on Fitzhugh, mere mortals like you and I can drink bourbon damn near as good as the hallowed Pappy for a fraction of the price (and frenzy). Strangeways sells Pappy Lite — Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon, aged 10 years — for $16 a pour. That's a couple fingers of America's finest for the cost of a few burritos.

It's approximately a billion times less than what you'll pay for true Pappy elsewhere in Dallas — when you can find it — and it saves you from this: You, standing at a tiny-ass, jam-packed bar in Uptown. Cocktail menu in hand, nervously surveying a crowded landscape of white people wearing boat shoes, talking yourself into the following: "Hey, [insert absurd amount of money you absolutely do not have] doesn't seem so unreasonable. After all, it is Pappy!"

Instead, at Strangeways, you can comfortably drink a wonderful bourbon. It ain't 23-year-old Pappy, but it's close enough for someone like yourself, who paid last week's tab in quarters (and thus did not do laundry).

You just ordered an elitist-ass bourbon all on your own. And you didn't blow half your rent doing so while, asses to elbows, Captain Toms ShoeVest McNorthFace shouted to his skeleton bride, over the drub of house music, that his dad made his first million selling Mitt Romney a space yacht.

Maybe you should order another.


2429 North Fitzhugh Avenue, , TX 75204 (214) 823-7800 Visit Website