The Whiskey Standard

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I was thinking about the Einstein photographs where:
"...On the way there, I stopped and bought a case of scotch. I knew people might be reluctant to talk to me, and I knew that most people were happy to accept a bottle of scotch instead of money if you offered it in exchange for their help. So, I get to the building and nobody's there. I find the superintendent, give him a fifth of scotch, and he opens up Einstein's office so I can take some photos.�
Today I ran into this from Liquor Locusts:
The Whiskey Standard
In writing and thinking about these blog posts, I ponder what went into making me a liquorlocust, as it were. There are many things and as time goes by I will try and share some of my formative years.

One thing that comes to mind is playing in my Grandmother�s house when I was a kid. There was a spare bedroom in the basement that us kids played in a lot to get out of the adult�s hair. In the closet, there were always three cases, full, of Old Crow bourbon. My grandmother was certainly a woman who would enjoy a drink, but she did not drink all that much to my knowledge. At the time I did not think much of it, the bourbon was just something that was in the closet, just like old, out of date clothes and knick-knacks.

As I got older, though, I kind of wondered about it. As far as I could tell, it never varied, there were always three cases. Finally, asking the reason, it was all made clear to me. My Grandmother, it should be said, lived through the Depression as an adult, raising children. (She also lived through Prohibition as an adult for that matter) And that, as for most people, was an experience that made a lasting impression on her.

One impression was that you could count on whiskey. It did not go bad. If you wanted, you could drink it. But more importantly you could always spend it. In some ways, it was better than money. It was inflation proof. It did not suffer from devaluation or inflation. There were always people who would trade you for whiskey. They would fix your car, paint your house, doctors would look at your kids, people would sell you food, all for that wonderful commodity-whiskey. So, the Old Crow in the basement was just another example of frugality and preparation by a generation who learned that it was important. Kind of like having money in a coffee can in the pantry, Grandma always had whiskey in the basement to pay for things if that became necessary. I took this lesson to heart. My Grandma instilled in me the idea that whiskey is as good as gold � perhaps better if you are thirsty or snakebit.

As to why Old Crow, I never learned. This was not her bourbon of choice, although she did drink it. But, for whatever reason, this was the whiskey she used for her emergency savings plan. Thanks for the lesson, Grandma.
An interesting thought -- Whiskey was certainly a valuable trade-good in colonial America and in fact, the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790's was in direct response to treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to centralize and fund the national debt. One of the comments left at Liquor Locusts had a wonderful insight to early American life:
In one of our old family wills the old man leaves the still (Yes, we lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Did you need to ask?) to a son, and the son was required to provide his mother with some outrageous amount, several gallons if I remember correctly, of whiskey every month for the duration of her life. We speculated that the old man either wanted her to have money or stay blasted. There was no indication of which in any surviving document.
Heh...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 18, 2010 9:16 AM.

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