Henry G. Crowgey, KENTUCKY BOURBON: THE EARLY YEARS OF WHISKEYMAKING
MIXOLOGIST: THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COCKTAIL, Vol. 1
MIXOLOGIST: THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COCKTAIL, Vol. 2
Oscar Getz, WHISKEY: AN AMERICAN PICTORIAL HISTORY
William Grimes, STRAIGHT UP OR ON THE ROCKS
Bars for Rye Patriots
A slowly growing list of bars, lounges, and restaurants around the country that serve rye whiskey AND meet two of the following criteria:
A) Historically-appropriate cocktails. B) An intact pre-Prohibition interior. C) Excellent service and attention to detail.
1)Savoy Grill, Kansas City, MO. Opened in 1903, this restaurant (the oldest still in operation in Kansas City) is historically intact. President Harry S. Truman's favorite booth was #4. The menu takes one back to the French-influenced fine dining climate of 1960s America: lobster, steak, escargot, liver, crab, clams, frog legs, prime rib. The incredible Art Nouveau interior provides a striking counterpoint to the classic dishes. Celebrities such as William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, and W.C. Fields all enjoyed meals and drinks here. You can still order a rye Manhattan at the original bar (and get it in an historically appropriate glass). Next time you're in KC, drop in, order a cocktail, and imagine what life was like before the pall of Prohibition settled over the land.
2) Bradstreet Crafthouse, Minneapolis, MN. This bar is neither historic nor blue collar. It's in the newest and fanciest hotel in downtown Minneapolis, the Graves 601. But the drinks--mostly pre-Prohibition favorites, occasionally hipped up with modern twists--reflect a rigorous understanding of the cocktail renaissance in a way that leaves other bars in the Upper Midwest behind. They pay attention to the smallest things, like ice (four kinds) and bitters (fifteen kinds). Most importantly, they make a number of drinks with rye. In fact, they go out of their way to claim they have the largest selection of rye whiskeys of any bar in the Twin Cities. The Art Nouveau-inspired surroundings combine with these flourishes to make it an experience not to be missed.
3)Eastern Standard, Boston, MA. So when was the last time you walked into a bar, ordered an Old Fashioned with "the house rye," and had the waitress--the waitress--say: "Oh, you mean the six-year old baby Saz? Great!" The bar manager, Jackson Cannon, selects his own barrels of Sazerac from the Buffalo Trace distillery every year, just for this establishment. Throw in a top-notch raw bar, one of the best hamburgers in Boston, and an absolutely beautiful cocktail menu that reflects a deep knowledge of pre-Prohibition drinking culture, and you have a must-go-to bar. Let's just say that though it's only six years old, this place has won plenty of "best of..." awards because it does everything right. The bar is beautiful to look at, the seating situates you in the middle of the action, the service is exceptional, and the drinks are beautifully crafted. Be careful with this one. It might ruin you for other drinking establishments.