This Bourbon Tastes Like Heaven

A few years ago I had a business dinner at The Slanted Door with some colleagues from work. And if I were asked the question – what was the best meal you’ve ever had in your life? – that dinner would rank near the top. I don’t know what it was, because let’s face it, most business dinners tend to lean towards tedious.

The people weren’t just colleagues, they were, and still are friends. And we had sort of schemed and planned about how we could put together this dinner with just this group of people (and not have to have any those, well, more tedious people come along) and it totally worked out. And the weather was nice and the view of the bay was gorgeous. And we somehow escaped the office and had time to hang out at the bar and just mosey our way into a relaxed dinner. And the food and the drinks were utterly fantastic. The whole evening was perfection. And I don’t think it is just me, because to this day I get texts from those people every time they have dinner there and we reminisce. Good times.

There are two things about that meal that stick out in my mind. First, the California Halibut from the raw bar, which just melts in your mouth (I think we had three or four orders of it). Second, the Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 Year Reserve Whiskey. I cannot possibly hope to recreate the California Halibut, but The Pappy, that I can definitely do.

At the Slanted Door they serve The Pappy in a double old fashioned glass with the biggest ice cube you’ve ever seen. This ice cube is almost cartoon-ish. We saw someone drinking it and became fascinated by this ice cube. I didn’t really even care what the drink was, I just wanted to be holding that glass with that ice cube in it.

I’m not sure who was the first person to order but suddenly we all had The Pappy in our hands. And it turns out that the ice cube is one thing, but The Pappy, well…it’s LOVELY. It tastes like sunshine and cozy and warm and relax, with just a touch of honey. I tell everyone that I send to the Slanted Door that they must make time to sit in the bar and have this drink.

Getting my hands on The Pappy was pretty straightforward. I tried for months (years actually!) to find a tray that would make the cartoon-ish ice cubes.

And then I found it. And no surprise that it came from the editors of my most favorite magazine, Wired.

The carefully hand-carved orb of ice used to chill our last Yamazaki single malt in Tokyo wasn’t just for show. As master bartenders there know, a 2-inch diameter ball of cold has a lower surface-area-to-volume ratio than a typical cube. That means it melts more slowly, preventing vintage hooch from warming up and getting watered down. Japan’s mixologists hire apprentices to chisel perfect frozen spheres, but if you aren’t so flush, pick up DIY molds (two trays for $16) from the MoMA store.

And if this one perfect evening wasn’t enough, what was the sexiest character on TV (Raylan Givens, “a tall, good looking white man with a shitload of swagger”) played by the sexiest actor on TV (Timothy Olyphant) offered in last week’s episode of Justified?

Yes, you guessed it, a glass of The Pappy.

4 responses to This Bourbon Tastes Like Heaven

  1. Now I know what drink to order the Dave for his birthday dinner on Saturday. And Dave loves the bourbon, so it should be right up his alley. Can’t WAIT to try it.

  2. Kim

    Headed to San Fran next weekend for a convention…will have to get to the slanted door. I am actually in Pleasanton, any other good restaurant recommendations?? Love the new blog….

  3. @Fritz – Check out High West Rendezvous Rye too. It’s distilled right here in lil’ ol’ Utah!! Also, if you’re in town for a visit it is a fabulous place for dinner and their mixed drinks are insanely good – like whiskey + home made lemonade infused with lavender, etc. Yum!!! XOXO

    @Kim – I’ll send you a FB note with some of my favorite places!! XOXO

    @Piero – Hope to see you soon!! XOXO

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