Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The story of Pappy Van Winkle Jell-O shots lances the boil of libations snobbery.

I wouldn't waste Pappy Van Winkle on Jell-O shots. However, I absolutely WOULD use it as a marinade for frozen weenies.

Steve Coomes picks up the story at Insider Louisville.

Meta gains national news attention, praise and threats over Pappy Jell-O shots

I had to go, and I had to know.

To Meta to taste a Pappy Van Winkle Jell-O shot last Friday and learn how this brilliant and borderline scandalous — for Bourbon Country anyway — promotion turned out for Jeremy Johnson, co-owner of the craft cocktail bar.

Johnson grabbed headlines on Thursday after informing Insider Louisville he was taking a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15-year-old bourbon and a bottle of 12-year-old and turning those sought-after sippers into Jell-O shots.

Sales were brisk ... and snobs were outraged.

For the most part, Johnson said the Pappy shots were praised by people who “got what we were doing, tasted them and really liked them.” But some regarded using such rare whiskey as blasphemy and were downright vicious in their commentary.

Johnson received an email death threat (Hey, smart guy, you can trace those things) and another threat to burn the bar down. A thread on contains a litany of splenetic remarks toward Johnson, his bar and the commonwealth — all because he turned bourbon into a Jell-O shot.

Could it be that Jell-O shots are the egalitarian answer to the question, "Whither bourbon snobbery?"

“People are missing one big point: We took a bottle of Pappy and (150) people got to try it rather than two or three. I think that’s pretty cool.”

Johnson offers a cross-disciplinary conclusion, one that I wish could be applied to beer, too.

Overall, Johnson thinks the whole buy-at-all-costs bourbon craze is way out of hand, and he recalled a story of a Napa Valley winemaker who treated several peers to a dinner at which he served them popsicles made from Ch√Ęteau d’Yquem, a pricey French wine known for its complexity and sweetness.

“They freaked out, they couldn’t believe he did that,” Johnson said. “He told them that at the end of the day, it’s just grape juice, and if they started believing their own hype, then they’re really screwed.”

My friend Tony S. took this ball and promptly ran with it.

Better yet, how about a whole Pappy dinner? Cocktail weenie appetizer, salad with pappy vinaigrette, pork loin with Pappy bourbon mustard sauce, bread pudding with Pappy bourbon sauce.

Boom! I replied that the only form of Pappy to be made unavailable at the dinner was "by the glass," but Tony already was one step ahead of me.

Of course, any bourbon event such as this needs a signature cocktail, I suggest:

86 proof Yellowstone (of a dusty bottle--complete with a faded and broken tax seal--discovered in a basement cabinet of a bungalow owned by someone's old maid aunt who purchased the fifth at Taylor Drugs sometime between Sputnik and the Beatles' "Ed Sullivan Show" appearance for her brother (who visited every Sunday afternoon and dutifully cut her lawn and--in spite of their parents' leadership in the Temperance movement back after the War to End All Wars--acquired a taste for the demon liquor hanging out with those fish-eating, papists at the tavern after returning from THE War.)

While only aged in new charred white oak barrels for four to six years, surely the 50 year bottle-conditioning ought to make it delightful.

Served either neat (for the Foodies), with a splash of water (for the intelligentsia), or with your choice of Big K Cola or the ever-popular "Orange Drink" (for the hipster).

Dude. I have a couple bottles of Dark Lord hidden away. Beef stew?

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