Q: How did the concept originate?
A: The concept for the restaurant, on the whole, was to do farm to table stuff, food that comes from a place and a person and not a factory. Sort of keeping with that idea of torroir. Obviously, whiskey isn't a seasonal thing. It's not gonna change from Fall to Spring but it is something that fits into that overall philosophy of craft spirits along with independent farmers.
Q: How do you set the atmosphere?
A: This is about as traditional a setting to drink whiskey, short of having cigars in here, it checks all the boxes of wood paneling, brick, comfy leather chairs, couches, just trying to do something that's elegant as well as comfortable.
Q: Why Whiskey?
A: Going back to what I was saying about wanting to have things that have a sense torroir, vodka is the anti-torroir. Vodka is something that's been stripped of all of it's character to the point of being neutral. We could have absolutely done rum, mescal or a variety of other things but I think partly because that's what the owners are excited about and like to drink and also the setting we're in. In the financial district and as much as mescal might meet the criteria for all those other things, whiskey is definitely the thing when most people are getting out of the office that's what they're going for.
Q: What are some of the most iconic whiskey offerings?
A: There are bottles in here that are super unique, just in the sense that they're from a distillery that is no longer around, so everyday there was less of it than there was yesterday and that makes them pretty special. Then you've got whiskeys that are sort of, oddball, weirdo things that you're not gonna see anybody else doing something quite like that. For instance, Brimstone, which is a smoked Texas corn whiskey, that is something that came about because they wanted to do a peated whiskey but, obviously, there are no peat bogs in Waco, Texas so keeping with that idea of toree, that we keep coming back to, they said, 'what do we have in abundance?' We've got Texas scrub oak, so they smoked their whiskey with Texas scrub oak and if I poured that for you, whether you know anything about whiskey or not, and I asked, 'where did this come from?' you'd reply, 'this tastes like Texas,' and that's really cool, so that's a fun one.
Q: Any holiday specials?
A: Yeah, we do a bunch of tastings here, sometimes people book the room out, and we'll either do a tour of one region of the world or we'll taste through a bunch of different things that somebody picks out and they want to share with their friends, in addition to doing stuff by the half ounce or the full pour. We also do bottles, so if there's ever something somebody finds and they're totally in love with and they're afraid that it's so rare that it won't be here the next time, we let them purchase the bottle, drink as much as you want, we'll save it for you next time, also people are welcome to buy gifts for people. We had a woman who bought a Van Winkle family rye for her husband for his birthday, which was a nice present.
Q: What does the future hold for the Whiskey Room?
A: As far as whiskeys, we're always changing the menu, whatever becomes available or if somebody calls me and something came their way and they want to pass it on, we like to bring that in. Probably, 85% of the people that come here, the first question out of their mouth is, 'do you guys have cigars in here?' and we don't, although there are some talks about getting a separate room with a vent so we can smoke in there.