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Mommy, Where'd Pappy Go?: A Corn Liquor Whodunit

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As a Cocktail Week special, here's Alder's bar manager Kevin Denton, with some theories on who stole all that Pappy Van Winkle in Kentucky recently:

[Buffalo Trace's warehouse. Photo: Facebook via Eater National]
Those of us who follow liquor and a goodly handful of booze groupies are aghast at the recent pilfering of a pallet or so of Old Rip Van Winkle Whiskey. In the Walter White era we live in, when miscreants nick some hooch here and sell it there, we applaud them as anti-establishment anti-heroes (think Al Capone, or these drunken monkeys on vacation). In this case, however, we have all but taken up torches and pitchforks to burn the sonofabitch who made this hard-to-come-by sauce even more hard-to-come-by. Well, whodunit? Below you'll find some armchair sleuthing that is sure to impress no one at Kentucky Vice, but is probably still as good a run down of suspects as any. Eater readers, you be the judge:

Suspect #1: Leo Robitschek: As bar manager at Eleven Madison Park, Leo has had unprecedented access to loads of Pappy. Every year at the Big Apple BBQ Bourbon Bar, he sloshes around in the stuff for two days, peddling shots, flights, and cocktails to the increasingly desperate masses. This is the kind of power that would go to anyone's head ? especially his. While the rest of us in the soup line that is "Pappy Allocation Season" wait to get our ration of a bottle or so each for the year, Leo always seems to have the stuff on hand, ready to accept your six-month-old child as payment for a dram or two. I've been there. I've watched him snort up that sour desperation with unhinged, maniacal abandon.

Ok, so, he's got an "in" somewhere up the ladder that keeps him flush with Kentucky go-go sauce, that doesn't necessarily make him a suspect, right? Of course it does, damnit! He's too smart and too cagey to let his stranglehold on the allocation game come loose. BECAUSE HE THRIVES ON THE DESPERATION OF OTHERS. So he takes a handful of his staff of ninja booze thieves down to the rolling hills of Bardstown, liberates a load of juice, and cements his position at the top of the Pappy food chain. Then, he pays it forward with a few cushy complimentary tasting menus for the boss hogs at Big Boy Liquor distributing and everything comes up roses. Old corn liquor will always be available for dudes in starched periwinkle dress shirts packing black cards. And as for Leo, so long as sad, sweaty men continue to line up 35-deep at the Big Apple Bourbon Bar, he will always be on top.

[Photo: Casamigos]

Suspect #2 George Clooney: By now you are probably looking at the screen like a dog that's just been shown a card trick. Clooney? That man has everything: a critically acclaimed film career, a string of smokin' hot girlfriends, a Scrooge McDuck swimming pool full of cash? what in the world does that dude not have? A successful liquor brand, that's what. Casamigos, the brainchild of Clooney and rich dude Rande Gerber, is yet another ultra-premium tequila backed up with celebrity cache and seemingly not much else. Gerber's wife, Cindy Crawford, makes her way into a dry heave-inducing promo video for the brand that features her being caught in bed with Clooney by a tuxedo-clad Gerber. The gag (literally and figuratively) continues as Crawford and Clooney's GF Stacy Kiebler are caught in the sack together by Clooney (who's face reveals, he's totally ok with his lady with another lady), and finally Gerber and Clooney are caught together, bringing the back-slapping, self-congratulatory masturbation-fest full circle. The working title I believe was "Oceans 15." But I digress; we're trying to nail a perp, here.

It makes complete sense that Clooney would steal that load of 'Ol Rip. In the relentless onslaught of the Ocean's franchise, you don't think he picked up a thing or two about B&E? And look me in the eye and tell me Pitt, Cheadle, and the gang wouldn't be up for a shot in the arm with a "Deliverance" flair to it. The fact that they managed to make off with $25k worth of sweet corn hush puppy is the icing on the cake of a near perfect decade-spanning crime spree. Fade to black, "Papa Loves Mambo" cha-cha's through the credits.

But the river runs deeper for George. Casamigos will never have the religious adulation and obsessive covetousness The Pap inspires. Within the bowels of Clooney dwells a Golum, equally torn by his desire to possess and destroy this "precious." Casamigos is the cubic zirconium to the Van Winkle ice. Not with all his fame, money and charm can Clooney be the Old Rip. And that totally salts his ass.

12Angela_Merkel_%282008%29.jpgSuspect #3 Chancellor Angela Merkel: How do I know this? Because we've got her shit tapped. High-five, NSA! Germany is the tentpole of the European Union, the bastion of intelligent growth, the center of innovation and prudent governance. So why can't they make mouth-watering white lightning? The tradition of American whiskey production goes back to early Scottish settlers moonshining in the Appalachian Mountains. Their redneck ingenuity of charring oak barrels for filtration and storage gives us that smooth amber mountain dew. The Germans never would have set their barrels on fire, then filled it up with high-proof alcohol! Our Duck Dynasty heritage of getting loaded and lighting everything on fire is what makes us a great nation. They may have us on education, healthcare, environmental stewardship and sex clubs, but they will never surpass us in stupidity. [Photo: Wikipedia]

Suspect #4 A local Principal in a purple "Grimace" sweatshirt: Local news reported that Bardstown High School Principal Chris Pickett, 51, was a suspect after he was seen entering an Elizabethtown liquor store attempting to sell Pappy 20yr. Upon further investigation (USA Today blew the story prior to investigating it), they found that the man was simply inquiring if he could purchase any Pappy. So for all of you out there that think you can just waltz into a liquor store and buy Old Rip Van Winkle, consider yourself a suspect.
[Daniel Krieger]
Suspect #5 Wylie Dufresne: He definitely did it. I saw the stuff. Someone come arrest him please. Preferably before service? He did it.
— Kevin Denton


50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002


157 Second Avenue, New York, Ny 10003 212 539 1900

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