Extreme Failures of Frugality

This is a bit off-par for the usual 30/week subject matter, but was a truly memorable culinary experience, so I thought I’d share.

Tina and I have a friend from out of town staying with us for a night and decided it would be nice to take him out to a slightly fancy bar in Brooklyn that specializes in bourbon (a favorite of his and ours). Now, even though we don’t count booze in our core frugal budget, we do try not to break the bank when we go out for a cocktail. As such, the bourbon’s we enjoy tend to be of the mid- to low-range varieties. We enjoy a glass of Jim Beam or the basic Evan Williams. When we’re feeling a little fancier, we might splurge for some Bulleit or Woodford Reserve or Basil Hayden’s.

Anyway, the selection of dozens and dozens of bourbons spread out before us was a bit overwhelming, despite the very knowledgeable and helpful bartender. Amongst ourselves, we had a little conversation about whether the most expensive bourbon ($100/oz.) could really be twenty-five times more tasty than the cheapest ($4/oz). In any case, what happened was that I didn’t read the menu carefully enough and ended up ordering a bourbon that I thought was $10/glass (2oz), but discovered when it was set in front of me discovered that it was actually $34. What? Yeah. More than our entire weekly food budget for two ounces of liquid. Without the doubt the most expensive drink I’ve ever had.

However, this mistake did lead to us being able to find out whether the expensive stuff is really that much better. In this particular instance, boy was it. Parker’s Heritage bourbon whiskey might as well be a whole different beverage than the stuff we usually throw back. Frankly, I don’t know if have the language to offer an intelligent review of a bourbon, but this drink was just incredibly robust in flavor. When it first came out of the bottle, the smell of it was so sharp that I almost couldn’t put my mouth to the glass, but after a couple minutes it mellowed into a dark, rich odor of honey.

A truly epic budgeting failure (definitely couldn’t afford to buy a second drink) but through this happy accident I got to appreciate a drink that I never would have had the chutzpah to actually order for myself.


6 Comments on “Extreme Failures of Frugality”

  1. K says:

    Oh man I almost regret reading that story because now I’ll want to try the high end stuff! Jim & Evan are our standard go to whiskeys also, but we love Maker’s Mark and just a couple days ago I bought some “Old Forester Signature” on sale (never heard of it) but really liked it. I don’t drink mine straight though, with a little bit of diet coke and bitters. =)
    We are trying Bittman’s black bean burger recipe right now, the mixture is “resting”, can’t wait to pour a drink and try them out!

    • tinaspins says:

      That was the happiest mistake ever. The Parker’s was a completely different beast than what we normally drink and you could definitely taste that. As the bartender told us, the $100 pours are really because those are crazy one-offs or imported from Japan bourbons. It was a really nice experience to sit in a beautiful space and learn about a drink that love to imbibe.

      • eric says:

        the occasional splurge (or mistake) is sometimes just what the dr. ordered. certainly was in this case!

  2. Daniel says:

    You could think of this another way though–the reason you eat for $30 a week is so you can (once in a while) afford something like this.

    Casual Kitchen

  3. Lucy T. says:

    I totally agree with Dan–you’re so thoughtful about your food spending (yet make such great stuff) that you should feel good about a splurge like this. I’m glad it was so special!

  4. tinaspins says:

    Thanks for giving us justification on the bourbon. It was SO worth it.

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