A note: This is not like one of my regular posts, it is in fact not very funny, somewhat sentimental, and more personal than the usual stuff we put up. If that’s not your cup ‘o tea, feel free to skip it.
I encountered a little bit of drinking serendipity the other night and thought I’d share. I was sitting around eating some warmed-up pizza and flipping around on the TV, lamenting no new Lost episodes for the next few weeks. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but as I was used to parking myself in front of the tube for an hour or two most Thursday nights, I ended up there. I flipped around and finally settled on a rerun on the HD channel of the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony (because there’s honestly only so many times I can watch one of the umpteen incarnations of Law & Order in a lifetime). I was half watching, half spaced out. I watched Philadelphia sound-men Gamble and Huff get inducted, then watched Lou Reed ramble on in his intro of Leonard Cohen, followed by Damien Rice doing a pretty good job of covering Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (which thankfully ended up sounding a lot like Jeff Buckley’s cover of it). I really wasn’t planning on watching much more since I knew that Madonna’s induction was coming up, to be intro’d by Justin Timberlake and have Iggy Pop (?!?) cover one of her songs. Not really an injustice my ears felt they could endure.
I was about to flip when they showed that The Ventures were going to be inducted. I’m not super-familiar with their work (and with over 250 albums recorded, it’d be kind of hard to know a lot of their work) but I knew a few tunes they played in the montage when I heard them (like the theme to Hawaii Five-O). They showed them playing, such complicated riffs and sequences, and their faces were all dead calm, illuminated by a small smile. I thought of all the latest bands I could, playing far less complicated pieces and doing it with all the theatricality of a Broadway showing of Les Miserables featuring Meatloaf in every role, and how fake and untalented they all seemed (I mean really, who is this generation’s Hendrix, or Page, or even Eddie Van Halen?). All of the sudden, something clicked in my head, and I raced over to my liquor cabinet and reached all the way in the back to pull out this:
That, my friends, is a bottle of Colorado’s own Stranahan’s whiskey. They only bottle in small batches, and it’s a helluva dram if you’re a whisk(e)y drinker. If you can’t read the bottler’s notes on the bottle, it says that while this particular bottle was being…well bottled, that the bottler was “Listening to The Ventures”. I’d drank nearly the entirety of this bottle and had barely glanced at that comment, only noting it for being a nice little bonus of buying high-quality small-batch whiskey, one of the (many) bonuses of occasionally buying premium hooch. For whatever reason, I remembered it. I swirled the contents of the bottle around, and sure enough, it looked to be just enough for one last glass. So I poured it, beautiful and brown into my favorite lowball glass, and sat back down and enjoyed this fantastic whiskey, smiling to myself that the journey started over three years ago at its bottling was ending up in the same place it started…Listening to The Ventures.