The Whiskey Standard

Posted on April 17, 2010 | By TheEnabler | 1 Comment

In writing and thinking about these blog posts, I ponder what went into making me a liquorlocust, as it were.  There are many things and as time goes by I will try and share some of  my formative years.

One thing that comes to mind is playing in my Grandmother’s house when I was a kid.  There was a spare bedroom in the basement that us kids played in a lot to get out of the adult’s hair.  In the closet, there were always three cases, full, of Old Crow bourbon.  My grandmother was certainly a woman who would enjoy a drink, but she did not drink all that much to my knowledge.  At the time I did not think much of it, the bourbon was just something that was in the closet, just like old, out of date clothes and knick-knacks.

As I got older, though, I kind of wondered about it.  As far as I could tell, it never varied, there were always three cases.  Finally, asking the reason, it was all made clear to me.  My Grandmother, it should be said, lived through the Depression as an adult, raising children. (She also lived through Prohibition as an adult for that matter)  And that, as for most people, was an experience that made a lasting impression on her.

One impression was that you could count on whiskey.  It did not go bad. If you wanted, you could drink it.  But more importantly you could always spend it.  In some ways, it was better than money.  It was inflation proof.  It did not suffer from devaluation or inflation.  There were always people who would trade you for whiskey.  They would fix your car, paint your house, doctors would look at your kids, people would sell you food, all for that wonderful commodity-whiskey.  So, the Old Crow in the basement was just another example of frugality and preparation by a generation who learned that it was important.  Kind of like having money in a coffee can in the pantry, Grandma always had whiskey in the basement to pay for things if that became necessary.  I took this lesson to heart.  My Grandma instilled in me the idea that whiskey is as good as gold – perhaps better if you are thirsty or snakebit.

As to why Old Crow, I never learned.  This was not her bourbon of choice, although she did drink it.  But, for whatever reason, this was the whiskey she used for her emergency savings plan.  Thanks for the lesson, Grandma.

Note: Thinking about this post, I started thinking about the exchange rate. How many bottles of whiskey to fix a car or remove an appendix? Looking at it closely, I realize that there is probably not a fixed rate, but the currency fluctuates. After all, if that Doctor really wants a drink, then the value of the whiskey goes up. If he is some untrustworthy teetotaler, it goes down, although he could still trade it from something else. How many shots of whiskey to the Euro? How much would I give for a whiskey (not as much right now as I would this evening, that is for sure)?

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One Response to “The Whiskey Standard”

  1. Bourbon Heritage Month-What it Means to Me : Liquor Locusts
    September 22nd, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

    […] grew up in a brown liquor family.  You can read my earlier post, The Whiskey Standard, about my grandmother’s bourbon […]

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The Liquor Locusts

The Liquor Locusts

"The harsh, useful things of the world, from pulling teeth to digging potatoes, are best done by men who are as starkly sober as so many convicts in the death-house, but the lovely and useless things, the charming and exhilarating things, are best done by men with, as the phrase is, a few sheets in the wind." ~H.L. Mencken

The Dangers of Thirst

"Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing." ~Jerome K. Jerome

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The Jug of Empire!

The Jug of Empire!

"How solemn and beautiful is the thought that the earliest pioneer of civilization, the van-leader of civilization, is never the steamboat, never the railroad, never the newspaper, never the Sabbath-school, never the missionary -- but always whiskey!" ~Mark Twain