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Shipping Spirits

February 18, 2011

With any luck I’ll be home when the UPS driver swings by today. He’ll need a signature of an adult over 21 years old to drop off the package, because it’s filled with booze. According to the packing slip, 21.5 pounds of it to be precise.

It begs the question why I would order booze by mail when I have at least two serviceable liquor stores within a thirty-minute drive.

The answer is easy. Not only did they not have what I was looking for, it was unlikely they could even order it. But that doesn’t explain all 21.5 pounds. You see, I hate to pay shipping charges, and if I ordered enough stuff shipping would be waived. So I went on a bit of a shopping spree.

Uh oh.

Now, just so I could get one bottle of booze, I’m expecting six. Where I will put them all remains an open question since my liquor cabinet is already beyond capacity. What could have inspired me to such desperate feats of madness?

It’s called Rye Dog.

If you remember, a while back I met New York State distiller Cheryl Lins. She makes two stunning absinthes. I’m still continuing to nurse my Meadows of Love. Well, since we left her, Delaware Phoenix has purchased a bigger still and has branched out into making whiskey.

What does whiskey have to do with absinthe? Not a heck of a lot. They are both distilled. And they are both things that Cheryl likes to drink.

The Rye Dog is an unaged rye whiskey. She also has barrels of rye aging at the distillery, but one will have to wait even longer for those. Until then, there are only these first few bottles available for sale at only a handful of retailers in New York. Given the skill of her craftsmanship, her passion for ingredients, and her dedication to the craft, I didn’t even blink at shelling out $67 for a bottle of the stuff.

It’s crazy expensive, I know. But sometimes you just have a feeling that something is going to be wonderful.

This goes against all my rational booze shopping behaviors. This isn’t based off an F. Paul Pacult recommendation. It isn’t at an advantageous intersection between price and quality. I can’t even say it’s one of my long-time favorites and thus worth the price. Although it did take a gold medal at the New York International Spirits Competition.

Hopefully by next Friday, I’ll be able to tell you all about it.

For those who are eager to know what else is in the box, here is the list:
1)    Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
2)    Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
3)    Teacher’s Scotch
4)    Evan Williams black label bourbon
5)    Cabin Still bourbon

This part of the order sounds more like me. I’ve written about the sweet vermouth and it’s one of my pantry stables. The Canton is stunning, and it will go great from warming winter beverages – think bourbon and ginger – to refreshing spring and summer ones – think gin, lime and ginger. I’m hoping the Teacher’s will appeal to my Macallan-loving father-in-law as a more reasonably priced alternative to his favorite dram. Finally, I’m curious about doing a cheap bourbon tasting. The Evan Williams was just named the best buy of the year from Malt Advocate, and people seem to speak highly of Cabin Still. We’ll see.

I was debating between that second bottle of bourbon and a bottle of the American Fruits sour cherry cordial. And I kept on going back and forth. But ultimately, given that I was buying a full-sized bottle of ginger liqueur that is used only a tablespoonful at a time, I decided that having some extra bourbon around wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

All I knew was that I needed to make it to $150 to get free shipping.

Mind you, all of this business went to Astor Wines & Spirits in NYC just because they had the good sense to buy a couple of cases of Rye Dog from the Delaware Phoenix Distillery. And also because they were clever enough to know that I would spend a lot more money with them if I could skip out on shipping fees. It’s a win for me, a win for them, and a win for the distillery.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to buy the stuff locally. But I’m just glad that I can get my hands on it at all.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Stevo permalink
    February 18, 2011 5:36 pm

    Daniel, you said on your corresponding Facebook post: “I’m a cheap bastard.” I’m sorry, but if you are willing to spend $67 on a bottle of booze, sight unseen, you are not cheap. Cautious on where and how you spend your money? Probably. Always looking to get the most from your dollar? Definitely. Cheap? No.

    I’m cheap. There is no way I would spend close to 70 bucks on a single bottle of booze, I don’t care how good it is. But then again, I’d lay out some dough for a nice pair of Italian loafers, so maybe it’s all relative.

    Sorry about all the question marks. Obviously these are rhetorical questions and they don’t beg a reply.

  2. February 18, 2011 6:30 pm

    Free shipping is a trap sometimes, I swear — it makes you spend more money than you would have, just to avoid paying for shipping. At least in your case, you’ll eventually use everything you bought, so it will end up being worth it. I have to admit, I do the same thing with Amazon — must add another $13, or whatever, just so I don’t have to pay for shipping.

  3. February 21, 2011 12:00 pm

    I’m not a big fan of the Evan Williams. It’s cheap, but not something you are going to want to sip by itself.

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