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View Full Version : Post-Prohibition NYC Whiskey Window Shopping



ChainWhip
08-05-2013, 15:26
ChapG posted this in the Malt Maniacs group today and it's worth repeating here...

http://www.shorpy.com/node/15779



Washington, D.C., circa 1934. "Leon's Delicatessen, 1131 14th Street NW. Window display of whiskey." Courtesy of Leon Slavin (1893-1975), who, according to his obituary, "obtained the first off-sale retail liquor license in Washington after the repeal of Prohibition." 8x10 negative by Theodor Horydczak.


Link to picture:

http://www.shorpy.com/files/images/SHORPY_5a49026u.jpg

Notable highlights include the Ryes (Four Roses, Globetrotters, Paul Jones) on the far-left of the picture & the sheer number of Seagrams on display.

ChainWhip
08-05-2013, 15:26
Apologies for the error in the thread title, but it should say Washington DC & not NYC.

darylld911
08-05-2013, 15:51
Awesome picture!! I can only imagine what that stuff tasted like :yum:

ChainWhip
08-05-2013, 16:28
I'd like to see Four Roses resurrect that rye! =]b

squire
08-05-2013, 18:38
What's more interesting to me is Paul Jones (a real Person) owned the Four Roses distillery in 1934 and the Rye whisky in those bottles was made by the A. P. Stitzel distillery which was owned by Pappy Van Winkle.

ChainWhip
08-05-2013, 20:14
What's more interesting to me is Paul Jones (a real Person) owned the Four Roses distillery in 1934 and the Rye whisky in those bottles was made by the A. P. Stitzel distillery which was owned by Pappy Van Winkle.

I thought somebody said Stitzel never made rye? Could be totally mistaken though - fascinating info Squire!

smknjoe
08-05-2013, 20:22
I thought somebody said Stitzel never made rye? Could be totally mistaken though - fascinating info Squire!

Squire, or someone here, should be able to elaborate more, but I'm pretty sure they did either in small quantanties or for a short period of time (or both.)

Neat picture Johnny.

RVTsteve
08-05-2013, 20:49
Wow. That is cool. Thanks for sharing.

Gillman
08-05-2013, 21:18
Great picture with amazing period detail. Many brands are still available today, e.g. Four Roses, Seagram 7 Crown, Old Taylor, Pinch scotch, Ron Carioca (rum), Fleischmann Gin, etc. Note the blend of straight whiskeys in the bottom row, bottled with the store's name, Leon. He had a straight rye bottled for his store, too.

I spent quite a bit of time looking at other pictures on the site and most are stunning especially when you magnify them to full monitor size. There are a couple of saloon interiors where it's like you are standing at the bar and can see absinthe or Old Crow bottles except it's 1902 or something.

Funny thing is, a lot has changed but a lot hasn't. There are parts of Toronto that look very similar still to the buildings shown in these 100 year old + pictures. There was a pawn shop I saw whose equivalent is on Church Street in this city just north of King Street downtown. Even the liquor store display window is similar to many on the avenues in NYC east of Lexington, say. Or you'll see a depiction of a bell to show a phone booth and many here grew up with those signs. We still have light poles with electric wires almost exactly like in many of these pics. We could have been them...

Gary

squire
08-05-2013, 21:55
Yes, Stitzel made rye, Wellers Malt Rye, Hollis Pure Rye, also rye recipe Bourbons, corn whisky, blended whisky as well as Weller Dry Gin, Peach, Apple and Grape Brandy under their own labels. Weller also made contract whisky and a number of private label brands.

A lot of these labels are beautifully reproduced in Sally Van Winkle Campbell's book, "Always Fine Bourbon", which is a history of her Grandfather, Pappy Van Winkle and the story of Old Fitzgerald.

Restaurant man
08-05-2013, 22:17
Yes, Stitzel made rye, Wellers Malt Rye, Hollis Pure Rye, also rye recipe Bourbons, corn whisky, blended whisky as well as Weller Dry Gin, Peach, Apple and Grape Brandy under their own labels. Weller also made contract whisky and a number of private label brands.

A lot of these labels are beautifully reproduced in Sally Van Winkle Campbell's book, "Always Fine Bourbon", which is a history of her Grandfather, Pappy Van Winkle and the story of Old Fitzgerald.

Pretty cool. But who is pappy van winkle? Never heard of him. Is this something I should look out for?

squire
08-05-2013, 22:21
You would be better off making the acquaintance of Old Grand Dad who is after all the head of the Bourbon family.

ChainWhip
08-05-2013, 23:49
We could have been them...

Gary

We are them and they are us... sharing the common human experience. Fascinating photos to be sure - I find myself staring at them and imagining myself in that world also.

Dolph Lundgren
08-06-2013, 13:04
I find myself staring at them and imagining myself in that world also.

Me, too. The clarity makes it seem as if it was taken yesterday. Now if I only had a time travelling Delorian...

squire
08-06-2013, 13:10
Those are some deep thoughts fellas, believe I'll pour some Barton and ponder a bit.

ChainWhip
08-06-2013, 17:05
Those are some deep thoughts fellas, believe I'll pour some Barton and ponder a bit.

For whatever reason, I read that in my head w/ Al Franken's voice.... *shudder* =]b

I think I'll join you w/ a pour of Barton as well.

Gillman
08-06-2013, 19:00
Let's ponder at the bar of circa-1900.

"Why, I think I fancy some of that absinthe in the triangle bottle, with a skosh of sugar and cold water from the marble tower please. Or mebbe some of that fawncy French brandee. Too rich for my blood? Well the Old Crow won't be no different. Gimme some straight rye fella and make it snappy. Steam beer on the side or whatever you Louisiana loafers like.

Why is the bar strangely empty? Call them SB boys over!".

http://www.shorpy.com/node/10027?size=_original#caption

Gary

Gillman
08-06-2013, 19:47
Further on the night of August 6, 1903, at an old absinthe bar in New Orleans:

"Good evening bartender, can a man get a drink in these parts pronto?".

"Sure son, especially as it's mighty quiet here tonight. Are you from this state?".

"Nope, I'm from far away, very far … but someone told me your bar is worth a visit".

"And sure 'nuff it is son, we got every liquor you ever heard tell of and many's you never dreamed of neither".

"Is that a fact?".

"Sure is. That's an odd suit you're wearing son, above the belt it looks like thin underwear with short sleeves. Is that what they wear in your parts? What's that lettering in the center? 'SB'? What's that mean?".

"Ah, it's a long story, one I can tell after a stiff one pops. [Gestures toward the back bar]. Is that any good here, that Old Crow? Where I come from it ain't as good as it used to be".

"It ain't? Well it can't be no gen-u-ine Old Crow I tell ya! It's the best we have!".

"Well gimme some then".

[Barkeep reaches for the bottle and pours a large shot. Stranger lays a dollar on the bartop].

"That greenback is plenty son, they must be printing new money in Washington these days, never seen these bills." [Turns and marvels at the currency].

"Yes, it's real Uncle Sam though, don't fret on it".

"Where'd you say you're from"?

"I didn't say… but what else you got to drink here?".

"Well, our Kirk Pure Rye has no equal in these U-nited States".

"Well gimme some of that pops, I could drink that Crow 24/7, but I want to try a different whiskey".

"'pon my word, can't go wrong sonny. What does '24/7' mean, you talk funny sometimes. What kind of weird white shoes you wearin', what's 'Nike' mean anyway?".

"Pops, you got a great place here, but it's time to go, I have to tell some friends about it, friends from far away … very far… but it's been great talking to you, New Orleans was a great town, still is".

"Son, wait a minute don't go, we got to talk more!".

"Bye old man, see you another time I hope, not sure when, it's been real tough to get this far, but 'SB' that you asked about helped me, can't thank them enough".

"Wait, don't go just yet!".

[Customer departs padding softly on his white rubber shoes. Saloon-keeper stares at him with mouth open].

Gary

ChainWhip
08-06-2013, 21:25
Gary I think you might be an honorary Timelord in disguise ;-)

ChainWhip
08-06-2013, 21:26
Is that sawdust on the floor in the Absinthe bar? Hah... Missing my hometown tonight.

cowdery
08-08-2013, 11:03
In the Leon's pic I spotted a Prohibition left-over, the Old Taylor in the "Spiritus Frumenti" box. I have one in my collection.