Saturday, May 5, 2012

Alcohol Substitutions


This is not about finding ways to avoid consuming alcohol like exercising, talking to your 12 step sponsor or going to the dog park.  This is about the fact that bars - even high end ones - will substitute rot gut liquor for the brand I request. 

The most recent example of this occurred at Le Perigord in Midtown Manhattan, a throwback, the kind of restaurant that you went to in the 70s for important occasions like your grandmother's birthday, 8th grade graduation (against your will knowing that there would be no Bay City Rollers in the background), Mother's Day, etc...  I ordered a Crown Royal, neat, with a couple of splashes water.  There is no way to hide the taste of the whiskey when prepared this way.  I took a sip of what they brought me.  It was clearly some kind of "well" bourbon.  I mentioned to the waiter that I didn't think it was Crown Royal.  He offered to quiz the bartender about the drink on my behalf.  When he returned, he said that it was indeed Crown Royal and brought me another, rot gut bourbon.  About 10 minutes later, the head waiter brought me a Crown Royal explaining they had made a mistake and given me Makers Mark.  MISTAKE, NO SHIT!  I also drink Makers and it was not that either.  Do these people really believe bourbon drinkers don't have sophisticated bourbon/whiskey palates?

Now, I know you are thinking, "Crown Royal, who cares?  That's not a premium whiskey.  What's her beef."  Well, I am a consumate bourbon drinker and over the years have learned that bourbon triggers my migraines.  So, I search for bourbons/whiskeys that don't trigger the headaches, but are drinkable.  Crown is one of them. Therefore, it is extremely important that I don't get something that I am not ordering.

That aside, when I am paying $15 per ounce and a half, give me the fuck what I am asking for.  I will start calling out places that substitute bourbons/whiskeys on this blog.



  1. As a mostly vodka drinker these days (luckily for a traveler in post Soviet Asia, though while Bourbon does more damage I still have fond Maker's Mark memories), I am lucky. Love the ridiculous expensive ones but have found the cheapest bar "well" versions superior to Smirnoff & many mid level brands!

  2. I agree! In most places in England, Smirnoff is premium. Give me the UsAirways Finlandia over Smirnoff anyday.