Here at, the only thing I might like talking about more than a good eat is a great dram. Recently, as part of Spirits Month in October, I penned a story for Tasting Table featuring D.C.’s Jack Rose Dining Saloon, and proprietor Bill Thomas, showcasing his tips for how to survive and navigate a 2,000 bottle whiskey list.Jake Emen Tasting Table story Jack Rose

The tips obviously apply when you’re visiting Jack Rose, but they could apply all across the board. They’re really about learning how to conserve your cash and make some smart decisions while enjoying whiskey, as well as bringing home some of that knowledge and using it at the liquor store, too.

For instance, here’s an excerpt from the story, talking about Pappy Van Winkle, and how while it’s all the rage, it’s certainly not the best bang for your buck, and it’s not your only choice, either:

While the mere mention of Pappy Van Winkle sends many a whiskey fan into a spending spree, there are more cost-effective alternatives. Thomas recommends looking back to the time before the Pappy Van Winkle lineup was produced by Buffalo Trace. The eponymous Pappy Van Winkle helmed the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, which opened in 1935 and produced brands such as Rebel Yell and Old Fitzgerald. The distillery was sold in 1972, at which point his son, Julian Van Winkle Jr., created the Old Rip Van Winkle brand with whiskey made during the Stitzel-Weller days.

Today, you can find vintage Stitzel-Weller offerings on the shelves of Jack Rose and other bars for a fraction of the price of the Pappy lineup. You’ll be trying excellent whiskey while keeping your budget in check, and also bringing home some knowledge to share the next time “Pappy’s” inevitably comes up.

That’s just one of several tips the piece deals with. As always, it was great to pay a visit to Jack Rose and do some firsthand research.

Boost your whiskey knowledge & continue to Tasting Table to read the full story.