By Ryan Glasspiegel – Follow SportsRapport on Twitter
As any bourbon or rye enthusiast who has spent a day calling every liquor store in their city only to be laughed at and told in an exasperated tone of voice, “No, we get that once or twice a year and it gets snatched up within a couple days.” can attest, Pappy Van Winkle is IMPOSSIBLE to find. It only happens when you’re not looking for it.
Wright Thompson, Grantland’s whiskey and grease correspondent, writes:
When Pappyphiles find a bar that serves it, we make a mental note. There’s a Thai restaurant in Columbia, Mo., that sells it, for some reason. In Vegas, there’s a bar in the basement of the Venetian. I know a hotel in Lyon, France, and where to go in Birmingham or Atlanta, and just a few days ago in Chicago, I knocked back four of ‘em at a restaurant. There are others. You’ll have to find your own damn Pappy. It’s there, on the shelf of a bar or liquor store, waiting for a lush like you.
There is, to the best of my knowledge, only one airport bar in America that serves Pappy. Not long ago, I missed a connection and, despite it being the middle of the day,. I walked in with a computer bag and a roller-board suitcase, looking like any other road warrior. Then I ordered. The waiter’s demeanor visibly changed.
I’ve been lucky enough to find it twice and it really isn’t an exaggeration to say that it’s life-altering. It goes down smoother than a light beer but packs a punch strong enough that a glass of it neat (and one would NEVER contaminate such an exquisite bourbon with a mixer–ice is honestly a stretch) can easily last 45 minutes and leave you with the pleasant buzz of a luxurious meal.
To the dismay of many and delight of others, this space will chronicle restaurants and–although probably much less often–liquor stores that have the Kayser Soze of whiskeys in stock.
The first submission comes from reader Matt, who found 13-year old Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina in Las Vegas for $17 for a glass.