Alibi V.16 No.15 • April 12-18, 2007 

Hip Hops

Anchor’s Old Potrero

Old-world spirit

We thought we had the old American mash down: Jack for long nights; Beam for cheap ones; Maker’s Mark for show-off ones; and Knob Creek for those rare instances when we’re not broke or already drunk.

When one of us got the other this bottle of Anchor’s Old Potrero as a birthday present, we thought we knew what we were getting into. Let’s just put it this way, that birthday was in July and the bottle ain’t gone yet.

Old Potrero, an 18th century-style spirit, is the strongest tasting stuff we’ve ever tried to sip—makes Everclear or Absinthe look like Snapple. This burning, herby and malted liquor is made from 100-percent rye malt mash and is aged in uncharred oak barrels. That last bit is important, because whiskey (which it does resemble, but the single malt scotch kind) is colored usually from charred barrels. We have no clue what makes this stuff brown.

The first thing that hits is a stench of flowers soaked in grain alcohol—not bad but strong. In fact, huffing the nose is like putting an ether rag to your face. There is only one note to this beast, no complexity, no surprise aftertaste: Rye and toasted sugar. It’s pleasant for one small glass and then starts to kill your taste buds altogether.

Our recommendation? Drink one tumbler a week. It’ll put hair on your chest and virtually allow you to drink anything else like a champion.

Dairy Pairy: Stinking Bishop encrusted with candied pecans

Soundtrack: Pirate songs