Posts tagged ‘Doc Holliday’

The Top Ten Historical People to Drink Bourbon with

Have you ever been reading a history book, and thought, “I’d like to have a drink with that person?”  As a historian and avid bourbon drinker, this happens to me often.  So, here are the ten people I would most like to have a few glasses of bourbon with.  Obviously, this is an anachronistic list because bourbon whiskey as we know and love it did not originate until the 18th century, and it was not made official by Congress until 1964.  The only qualifications for this list are that the person had to have lived at some point, and that person must have lived most of their life prior to 1900 (a list of more contemporary bourbon companions is in the works).

10. Mithridates VI of Pontus (Mithridates the Great) (134 BCE-63 BCE)  – Mithridates was arguably Rome’s greatest enemy.  He spent most of his adult life chipping away at Rome’s territory, until he was eventually holed up in his tower, where he tried to kill himself by consuming poison.  However, he had built up such an immunity to poison over his life that he ended up having his servant stab him to death instead.  In addition to being a ruthless militarist, Mithridates was also one of antiquity’s most famous polyglots, claiming to speak around 30 languages fluently.  All things considered, Mithridates the Great is one of the most epic individuals to have ever lived.  Mithridates’ bourbon:  Fighting Cock 6 year.  Its big, bold, and finishes with a bang.  Mithridates was always one to go big or go home.  Its also a bourbon of the people, not elitist, much like Mithridates and the way he fought the Romans.

9. Charles Earl Bowles (Black Bart) (c. 1829-c. 1888) – Black Bart is perhaps the most famous criminal of the American West, mostly for his gentile style and the poems that he left behind.  Supposedly, he never even loaded his gun.  He simply relied on intimidation to hold up the stagecoaches he robbed.  Like most Wild West characters, separating fact from fiction is nearly impossible with Black Bart.  However, that does not mean that he would be any less of a bourbon partner.  He was a poet with some great stories to tell over a glass or two.  Black Bart’s bourbon:  Wild Turkey American Spirit.  Black Bart was not an American, but he came to embody the romance and ruthlessness of the American West.  I’ve got him drinking a top shelf bourbon that’s a little rough around the edges.

8. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) – To my knowledge, the only one of America’s founders to have a bourbon named after him/her is Thomas Jefferson, which puts him on my list of people to drink bourbon with.  In addition to his political exploits, he was also interested in a variety of different things, from farming to architecture.  He also had an eye for aesthetics rather than pragmatics, which is probably why Monticello was a failed business venture that left Jefferson in debt most of his life.  Like Mithridates, he spoke many languages (between 5 and 10), which would have made him a great bourbon companion.  Jefferson’s bourbon:  Jefferson’s Reserve, Presidential Select.  Come on, the bourbon is named after Jefferson’s presidency.  What else would he drink?

7. Henry “Long Ben” Every (1659-c. 1696) – Henry Every has been dubbed “The King of the Pirates,” primarily because he was never caught.  Of course, nobody actually knows what happened to Every after he stopped pilfering the Atlantic.  I like to think that he lived happily on Madagascar for many years.  That is where I’d like to sit and drink bourbon with “Long Ben” Every and hear his crazy seafaring stories.  Long Ben’s bourbon:  Jim Beam Devil’s Cut.  Devil’s Cut just sounds the bourbon that a pirate would drink.

6. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) – Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius, one of the few pure geniuses ever (in my opinion).  Unfortunately, many of his inventions were too far ahead of his time to be practical, which is why he would be a fascinating person to meet during time travel.  He was notoriously mysterious and reclusive during his lifetime, all the while pressing his mind to its limits for the sake of satisfying his own curiosity.  That’s certainly one recipe for a good bourbon companion.  Da Vinci’s bourbon:  Angel’s Envy.  It’s innovative, and a little off the beaten path.  It’s also hard to find, just like Da Vinci himself.

5. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) – Oscar Wilde is one of the most quotable people I’ve read, which makes me think he would be a great bourbon partner.  Bourbon is not a drink for those who simply desire intoxication.  It is a complex drink that invites deep thought as well as light banter.  I believe Oscar Wilde would excel at both.  How many people have a top ten list of just their quotes?  http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-quotes-by-oscar-wilde.php  Oscar’s bourbon:  Blanton’s Original Single Barrel.  This bourbon is certainly one of the most iconic bottles in bourbon, with its orb-shape and racehorse stopper.  It is also incredibly smooth and seductive, much like the beautiful sexuality that Oscar Wilde loved so dearly.

4. Jesus of Nazareth (7-2 BCE-30-36 CE) – Regardless of your personal beliefs regarding Jesus of Nazareth, somewhat that has sparked the amount of controversy that he has would be a great bourbon companion.  His following indicates that he was an intelligent and captivating speaker, which is definitely one thing to look for in a bourbon companion.  Honestly, I’d like to just talk with him to see what was really going on in his mind.  Jesus’ bourbon:  Honestly, he would probably just supply his own.

3. Socrates (c. 470 BCE-399 BCE) – In many ways, my first introduction to Socrates was when I slowly began to learn the powers of the mind, and the powers of language.  For this reason, I would love to have a drink with the man who is partially responsible for my journey into intellectual history.  He loved a good conversation, and most good conversations are enhanced by bourbon.  Socrates’ bourbon:  Old Grand-Dad 114 proof.  As one of the grandfather’s of Western thought, it is only fitting that Socrates drink the best the Grand-Dad of bourbon (Basil Hayden, Sr.) has to offer.

2. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) – Like Da Vinci, Franklin was pretty damn close to being a pure genius.  His curiosity knew no bounds, and his intellect followed closely behind.  He was a strong proponent of a few glasses of the good stuff, and I’m sure he would have been a strong endorser of bourbon had it been around in his lifetime.  Like Oscar Wilde, Franklin could be both a genius and a rabble-rouser in the same hour, which makes him a pretty solid bourbon companion.  Ben Franklin’s bourbon:  Hooker’s House.  Obviously, Franklin’s propensity for prostitutes makes this bourbon the logical choice.  In addition, Hooker’s House is an innovative bourbon created by finishing the bourbon in Pinot Noir casks before bottling it.  Creativity and sex were definitely two of Franklin’s hallmarks.

1. John Henry “Doc” Holliday (1851-1887) – As is the case with Black Bart and many other legends of the American West, separating fact from fiction with Doc Holliday is nearly impossible.  However, in the case of Doc Holliday, there are several themes among all his biographers and Hollywood portrayals.  Doc Holliday was a smooth-talking Georgian with a penchant for bourbon, poker, and a prostitute called Kate.  Hence, Doc Holliday is the historical figure I would most like to drink bourbon with.  Doc Holliday’s bourbon:  William Larue Weller.   I’ve got Doc drinking a bourbon that tastes great, but will also have the alcohol content to cure his tuberculosis.  Although William Weller is hard to get, Doc Holliday could sweet talk just about anybody with that soft, seductive Georgia accent.

Those are my top ten bourbon companions, what are yours?  Let me know what you think and let it ride!

The Top Ten Movie Characters to Drink Bourbon with

If you are anything like me, you’ve watched movies before where you have thought, “I would love to hang out with that character.”  I’ve often thought like that with drinking bourbon in mind, so here is my list of my top ten(ish) movie characters that I’d like to drink bourbon with.  Since the list is completely hypothetical, I’ve also tried to guess what bourbon I think the different characters on my list would drink.  For the record, I’m assuming the movie character is buying the bottle, not me, so I’m not necessarily sticking to value bourbons on this one.

10.  The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman) – Pirate Radio.  The Count is a rebel, with a certain attitude of reverence where it is needed.  Therefore, I believe The Count would be a great bourbon companion.  He can also tell some great stories.  The Count’s bourbon:  Woodford Reserve.  The Count lives at sea, so he has to drink something he can readily get his hands on, but I also believe that he knows a great bourbon when he sees it.  Woodford Reserve might be the best readily available bourbon on the market.

9.  Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) – The Lord of the Rings.  There are many characters from Lord of the Rings who would be good drinking companions, but the first scene at the Prancing Pony were we meet Strider convinces me that Strider/Aragorn drinks bourbon, and he drinks it neat.  Aragorn’s bourbon:  Eagle Rare 10 year Single Barrel.  It is a bourbon that packs more punch that you might expect.  It is not pretentious, but it knows it is great bourbon.

8.  The Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood) – The Man with No Name Trilogy.  A dangerous, but entertaining character, and definitely the person you want on your side during a gunfight.  The Man with No Name’s bourbon:  Wild Turkey 101.  It is rye-forward and in your face, plus its available almost everywhere for those who travel a lot.  I don’t see this cowboy going for the top shelf too often.

7.  William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) – Gangs of New York.  This is a dangerous choice because Bill the Butcher is a dangerous character.  However, he is rich, so he would probably pay for the drinks.  He has some crazy stories, but I would probably only want to drink with him once.  One thing is for sure, the Butcher drinks bourbon, and he is always an entertaining conversationalist.  The Butcher’s bourbon:  Booker’s.  It is a big bourbon that will put hair on your chest, ranging from 123 to 129 proof.  It has great flavor and complexity, but unlike other bourbons of Booker’s quality, Booker’s is pretty young (6 years aged), which suits the Butcher’s style.

6.  John “Doc” Holliday (Val Kilmer) – Tombstone.  Like Bill the Butcher, Doc Holliday would be much higher on my list of people to drink bourbon with if I was not so worried about being shot and killed when I drank with him.  Also like Bill the Butcher, Doc Holliday is always good conversation, full of brilliant one-liners, making him a very good bourbon companion.  Doc Holliday’s bourbon:  William Larue Weller.  I’ve got Doc drinking a bourbon that tastes great, but will also have the alcohol content to cure his tuberculosis.  Although William Weller is hard to get, I have a feeling that Doc might know a guy…

5.  Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) – Black Snake Moan.  The blues go well with the bourbon, so my favorite bluesman from film should be on my list of people to drink bourbon with.  I could sit for hours and listen to Lazarus play the blues (while we drank bourbon).    Lazarus’ bourbon:  Four Roses Yellow Label.  In the sultry Southern heat, a soft summer bourbon is necessary.  Lazarus is also a man who likes to keep things simple, which is why Four Roses would be the bourbon for him.

4.  Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) – The Lord of the Rings.  Seriously, who wouldn’t want to drink bourbon with a wizard who puffs a pipe and can blow three masted Spanish Galleons with the smoke?  Although, I have a suspicion that after he became Gandalf the White, he switched over to scotch.  Gandalf’s bourbon:  George T. Stagg.  It’s a big bourbon, with a huge flavor profile and a huge alcohol content, a bourbon fit for a wizard.

3.  Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) – Bull Durham.  Baseball and bourbon go very well together, indicated by the career minor leaguer, Crash Davis.  He is shown drinking whiskey several times in the film, including once while he is ironing his clothes in his underwear in the middle of his living room.  As the movie indicates, Crash Davis would have some great stories as well.  I would love to sit and discuss bourbon and baseball with Crash for hours.  Crash’s bourbon:  Jim Beam Black Label.  Crash Davis is a classic, old-school ball player, so I suspect he would drink something pretty standard.  He can put back the white label if he has to, but the 8 year Black Label is his favorite.

2.  Han Solo (Harrison Ford) – Star Wars.  Come on, everyone over the age of 21 who has ever watched Star Wars has wanted to drink with Han Solo.  Obviously, as a bourbon drinker, I am assuming that Han would have drank bourbon were it available to him (although the honest truth is that he probably would drink anything you put in front of him).  Han Solo’s bourbon:  Angel’s Envy.  Han Solo is an original.  He is smooth, with a dark side.  Angel’s Envy is a Kentucky straight bourbon that is finished in port wine barrels, giving it a universal drinkability rarely found in bourbon whiskey.  It is original just like Han Solo, himself.

1.  After much deliberation, the top spot on my list is a tie between two of my favorite Paul Newman characters: “Fast” Eddie Felson (The Color of Money) and Henry Gondorff (The Sting).  It is difficult to say whether I would rather drink bourbon while playing pool with Fast Eddie or while listening to Henry Gondorff’s stories about playing the big con.  Nevertheless, I would most like to drink bourbon with one of these two movie characters.  “Fast” Eddie’s bourbon:  Buffalo Trace.  He’s a value man, and there is no better value bourbon than Buffalo Trace.  Henry Gondorff’s bourbon:  Pappy Van Winkle 15 year.  It is hard to find, but it is might be the best bourbon money can buy.  Several bourbon connoisseurs have told me it is the best bourbon they’ve ever had, regardless of price.  Henry Gondorff likes the finer things in life, and if anyone can get Pappy Van Winkle, its Henry Gondorff.

Those are my favorite bourbon characters (and the bourbons I think they might drink), let me know how I did.  In the meantime, drink your bourbon, watch some good movies, and let it ride!