Off The Cuff - a discussion of things relatedly unrelated to our clothing. Episode 1
What is it about Whiskey?
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, as it’s properly known, may well be the most American of all liquors in your cabinet. Sure, it’s a derivative of Scotch, but in the truly rugged independent American spirit, by law these spirits must be 51% corn mash, made in Kentucky, in charred American oak barrels, and aged for two years. Streams, farms, forests and patience - the very embodiment of Americana.
Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Mike Ness, Van Morrison, Van Halen, The Who, The Doors, Willie Nelson, George Thorogood (a few times) and countless others have written and performed songs about whiskey. And even more artists have strongly intimated its presence, like the classic “There Stands The Glass” by Webb Pearce.
Mentioned in every music genre from rock-n-roll to country, thematic in poetry and prose, ever-present at boisterous football tailgates and lonely broken-hearted sorrow-drowning, whiskey runs as a current through this great land in myriad ways.
But some of the time, it’s just a nice way to finish a day.
I sat down with Steve Stonecipher of our Park Place store to discuss all things relating to brown liquor. His wealth of knowledge and experience with the stuff, and my willingness to sip it, made for a lively conversation.
”At home I have a silicone ice mold; the large cube or ball has less surface area than crushed or regular cubes, and doesn’t melt as quickly, so the bourbon doesn’t get too watered down. Just enough - a little water actually opens up the bourbon.”
We sipped Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Knob Creek Rye over rocks - actual lava rocks from Hawai’i chilled in the freezer, to cool the whiskey but preserve its flavor characteristics.
”You can certainly get really fancy bourbons, and spend a lot of money doing so, but this Buffalo Trace is a great bourbon, pound-for-pound. And that Knob Creek is really smooth. The rye has a little more spike to it.”
I also chatted with our old friend and former H. Stockton haberdasher Trip Brock, proprietor of The Billiard Academy in Thomasville, GA. While his bar is known more for cold beer and chili dogs, Trip knows a thing or three about whiskey.
”In the evening, my drink of choice is Makers Mark, over ice or with a splash of water. I like the first sweeter notes of caramel and vanilla, and how the smokiness hits you in the gullet and the end of the sip.”
Trip doesn’t go in for mixers or fruit, claiming “they ruin the flavor. The taste of whiskey is what it’s all about. Besides, the sugar in the mixers is what gives you a hangover.”
I asked him about his vessel of choice. “I have a favorite rocks glass, and I can’t really say why it’s so special, except that it’s a little bigger so I don’t have to get up as often to refill it. I can keep watchin’ politics or baseball or an old favorite movie.” Additionally, “I may or may not have occasionally mixed one in a Solo cup for a ‘roadie’. Just don’t tell the sheriff.”
So at the end of a long day, in a long and strange year, treat yourself to a well-deserved glass of the smooth sting of Kentucky Straight Whiskey.
All photography by Bailey Kraft
All Products featured are available on-line and in our stores.
Jacket by Caruso, Granite/Oak Urquhart Plaid
Shirt by Hagen Carmel, Blue/Brown Graph Plaid
Belt by Kleinberg for H. Stockton, Orange Suede O-Ring
Trousers by Hiltl, Sage Corded 5-Pocket Dude
Pocket Square by Robert Jensen, deep burgundy foulard print wool/silk