I’ve often been overheard saying “never waste the 25-year McCallan on a Dewar’s drinker”. Admittedly, the expensive single malt scotch, particularly an Island scotch, is an acquired taste. Some folks just don’t like the finer things, and that’s ok. The problem is, many folks become spoiled with mediocrity, and it’s a pure function of economics. Most good things cost money.
Which is exactly why our guests won’t suffer bad cigars, cheap ammunition or poor cuts of meat. Why serve beef when you can serve buffalo? The humidor will always have a good supply of Cubans, not because I’m a Castro-loving, embargo busting communist sympathizer but because they simply offer the best tobacco and finest wrappings. For those without the palate to appreciate we’ve got plenty of good Arturo Fuente’s, Padron’s and Rocky Patels. I mean no offense to those that like this brand, but no cans of Natural Light or Coor’s will be found in our bar fridge. If you don’t like the taste of Shiner, Fat Tire or Spaten, well you’re gonna learn.
I’m not shy about going the extra mile for such things, whether it’s appreciated or not. The thing is, if it were not so, I’d have to have my own personal stash hidden away in my room, which just doesn’t seem right, does it? I want people to be exposed to fine tasting things if I can facilitate it. That’s part of my job. Last month half of the Marines hinted on the bus that they may have squirreled away some of our towels in their suitcases…”like a bath robe!”, they said. This is a definite hat’s off to the personal touches of my wife. Many have said that these gents would be happy sleeping on a cot, which is probably true…but why bother with that? This isn’t just about the hunt; it’s about the experience.
So what one thing does just about everyone universally enjoy (or not) where I can expose them to the finest quality example around? COFFEE. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve become a coffee snob. Just ask anyone that knows me. But what does that mean, exactly? I can remember when I was a young Lance Corporal up on Thompson Hill down at Ft. Sill. Our crusty old breed ‘Gunner’ Bollman used to boil up his bitche’s brew in a Vietnam era squad stove, and drank it black as motor oil. He was deeply offended when I accepted a cup and promptly poured in a package of MRE cocoa powder, creamer and 4 packs of sugar. The man lived on this ‘lifer juice’ and had a small pot of it at the ready, 24/7, rain or shine.
It’s only now that I can somewhat appreciate where he was coming from, although the coffee I have come to love is leaps and bounds from his blend of java. I owe this in no small part to the Double Shot Coffee Company in Tulsa, OK. Owner and roastmaster general, Brian Franklin, churns out some of the best coffee I have ever tasted, and some of it can only be found at the Double Shot. He roasts several types of beans from a variety of regions, and only serves and sells what is the freshest of the lot. I should confess that my taste buds are just now refining themselves to be able to taste and appreciate the nuances and essences that his coffees produce. But at one time all scotch was Glenlivet to me; now I can sniff out the Ardbegs with the best aficionados. Such efforts take time and practice.
Many of our guests have already complimented the coffee. Do they taste the essence of berries, the slightest hint of caramel or appreciate the complexities of microclimates and all the varietals? Probably not. But I do. I may not turn them into ‘combat connoisseurs’ with master palates and refined tastes, but by-God I’ll sure give them a taste of what’s out there.
That’s part of what we are all about at the Bowman Lodge. Treating these men like kings. The entire experience is what counts, and I intend to give them the best we have to offer. They have fought and sacrificed in many regards what is the best of themselves. Health. Limbs. Sanity. Peace of mind. There are no warrior-kings left in the world, not like the old days. But in my humble opinion these fine gentlemen should be the new royalty in America. They are to be heralded for their experiences, their dedication to their nation and to each other. There just aren’t enough proper thanks. So I will continue to toast them– whether it’s with artilleryman’s grog, a wee dram of 18-year Highland Park or a fine cup of Double Shot’s finest joe.
Brian has so graciously decided to donate a few pounds of his fine roasts to the Lodge for our guests to enjoy. He certainly doesn’t have to do this. I could probably serve up some Folger’s filter packs and nobody would be the wiser or even care. But I would know. And Brian would, too. This is his way of showing his appreciation and respect for our wounded warriors, and he should be applauded!
For those of you in the Tulsa area, please stop by and say hello to Brian and all his merry gang of baristas at the Double Shot Coffee Company. Or you can order some of his stuff online at:www.doubleshotcoffee.com. You won’t be sorry……