We’ve reached the high point of pre-Super Bowl hype. All of the biggest parties occur in the run up to the game, and that means out-of-town high rollers have flocked to the city.
A number of Houston bars and restaurants are attempting to lure these well-heeled Super Bowl visitors with rare spirits. From three year verticals of Pappy Van Winkle to “the best bourbon you’ll never taste,” serious drinkers have lots of enticing options. Here are a few favorites:
Glenfiddich 50 Single Malt Scotch at B&B Butchers
The ultra-popular steakhouse has secured one of just 50 available bottles of Glenfiddich 50. The company’s website describes the taste as “initially very sweet with a zesty orange marmalade and vanilla toffee, which then cascades through a wonderful series of layers: aromatic herbs, floral and soft fruits, silky oak tannin and hints of gentle smoke.” Retail price on the bottle is $25,000, but securing one would be almost impossible, which makes B&B’s price of $3,000 for a one-and-a-half ounce pour seem almost reasonable.
Pappy Van Winkle Flights at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
The Galleria-area location of the luxury meat temple has reserved three years of the highly allocated bourbon to allow diners to taste either the way the individual spirits evolves over the years or the differences between the different ages that are released in the same year. For example, a flight of the 2016 offerings — the 12-year, 15-year, 20-year, and 23-year — costs $110; full pours start at $50 for the 2016 12-year and go up to $200 for the 23-year from 2014.
In addition, the Westheimer location also offers the coveted Buffalo Trace Antique Collection: George T. Stagg ($45 for the 2016), Thomas H. Handy Sazerac ($45), William Larue Weller ($45), Sazerac 18 ($90), and Eagle Rare 17-year ($45).
Knappogue Castle 1951 at Reserve 101
Considering both the quality and the quantity of whiskey that Reserve 101 serves, when owner Mike Raymond declares a spirit to be a unicorn, count on it being a very special dram. Distilled in 1951 and aged in sherry casks for 36 years, Knappogue Castle 1951 is one of the rarest Irish whiskey in the world. It will sell for about $700 per shot.
Of course, Raymond has busted out a few other high coveted spirits, including Yamazaki Sherry Cask ($200), Booker’s rye ($100), and a 57-year old Glen Grant ($365). The bar is opening at 11 am all week to take advantage of the crowds.
A.H. Hirsch 16-year at Julep
A spirit with such a storied history that it’s the subject of a book titled, The Best Bourbon You’ll Never Taste, A.H. Hirsch 16 has developed a cult-like following. A one-ounce pour sells for $250.
If that seems too steep, Julep will also host bartenders Jose Luis Leon and Benjamin Padrón Novoa from Mexico City’s acclaimed Licoría Limantour for a two-night pop-up of innovative cocktails, tacos, and music from DJ Gracie Chavez and DJ Navo, founders of Bombón, Houston’s ultimate tropical dance party (10 pm to 2 am on Friday and Saturday)
Brora 38-year at Anvil Bar & Refuge
Recently featured in The Wall Street Journal, this Scotch from a distillery that’s been closed since 1983 is currently featured as the bar’s break-even bottle, which means it’s sold to consumers at the bar’s cost. With a retail price of $2,200, that means a shot is $77.
“It’s an all-time favorite of mine,” Anvil owner Bobby Heugel tells the WSJ. “I just wish I could be there every time someone ordered it so I could tell them why it’s so special.”
Of course, Anvil’s extensive spirits list offers rare options across all categories, including agave and a recently expanded Brandy selection. The best bet for savoring the experience is to go earlier in the night before it fills up.