Pappy Van Winkle is the world's most sought-after bourbon. The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery celebrated "Pappy Van Winkle Day" two weeks ago, when this year's whiskey was released to stores and bars nationwide. A limited number of bottles have made their way to Washington, with bottles popping up (so far) at Jack Rose, Cafe Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar, Acadiana and Shelly's Back Room.
As you can probably guess, it's not cheap: A bottle of the smooth, delicious 20-year-old Pappy has a suggested retail price of $130, though it usually sells for much more than that when you can actually find it. At a bar, you might pay anywhere from $30 to $45 for a pour of 1.5 to 2 ounces.
If you want to try this elusive spirit or its sister bourbons in Washington, the cheapest way is to go to Meridian Pint.
Yes, a beer bar.
General Manager Drew Swift says the bar currently has the 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Special Reserve, along with two lesser bourbons from the same distillery: the 10-year-old Old Rip Van Winkle, which is 107 proof (compared to the elder Pappy's 90), and the 12-year-old Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot "B." Meridian Pint's pricing scheme, Swift says, is "$1 a year" for a 1.5-ounce pour, meaning you can try the Pappy for $20. (By comparison, Acadiana sells the 20-year-old for $29, which was the cheapest I had found so far.)
Meridian Pint has been closed for the last two days due to a power outage on 11th Street – Kangaroo Boxing Club and Maple have also been shut down – but it's reopening tonight at 5 p.m. A glass of Pappy sounds like just the thing for a celebration.