RARA-AVIS: Re: Whatever happened to rye?

From: Con Lehane ( con@conlehane.com)
Date: 11 Oct 2007

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, david david <davividavid@...> wrote:
> I haven't had much to say lately, but this topic is
> right down my gullet:
> Old Overholt (or old overcoat, as afficianados have
> affectionately nicknamed it) is a good, smooth, light
> bodied starter rye. I actually think it works better
> >

Once more, I'm astounded by the erudition and arcane knowledge of this group of rare birds. I've read versions of the history David David attributed to Bettridge before, and assume it's accurate. But bourbon didn't replace rye in the bars of New York when I was familiar with them. When I was a young man around the New York bars, we used the term rye to refer to a bunch of blended whiskeys--Imperial, Calvert, Seagrams, and so on, (the Canadian whiskeys were call brands but understood to be rye)---as in rye and ginger, rye and soda, and so on. When I moved to Milwaukee and ordered a rye and water the first time, the grumbling bartender dug around the back shelf for about 10 minutes before fishing out a dust-covered bottle of Old Overholt straight rye that I'd never in my life heard of. The bar liquor in Milwaukee in those days was brandy, as in brandy and sour, whatever the hell that was (though it was not sour, as in whiskey sour), and brandy and schnapps, for which a few drops of schnapps was dribbled onto the top of a shot of brandy--a forerunner of the shooters of later decades. Regional differences, I guess, in that world west of the Hudson.

Con Lehane

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 11 Oct 2007 EDT