Citizen Public House Introduces the ‘Pappy Meal’

The Fenway bar has been accumulating a cache of the world’s most coveted whiskey. Now they’re finally releasing it to the masses.

citizen public house

Citizen Public House’s “Pappy Meal” which includes house-made beef jerky, a toy, and a rocks glass full of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Photo by Alex Lau

Over the course of three-and-a-half years, bartender Sean Frederick and the team at Citizen Public House has quietly been accumulating Boston’s biggest supply of Old Rip Van Winkle whiskey. If you’re not familiar with brown spirits, be forewarned: that knowledge could incite a greedy mob that would put Black Friday to shame. The bourbon is not only considered the best in the world, but the minuscule production levels make it an exclusive commodity that inspires black market pricing and bidding wars on eBay. It’s so scarce that owner and master distiller Julian Van Winkle has been known to get in on the action, bidding on extremely rare bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, his family’s reserve line that’s been aged for up to 23 years.

“We’re always trying to think of ways to offer serious beverages in a fun, irreverent way,” says Frederick. “This was taking one of our secret strengths, this stockpile of highly sought after whiskey, and having a coming-out party for it. We spent over three years meticulously harboring this embarrassment of riches and we decided it was time to share it.”

After years of careful hoarding, Citizen Public House is going to be releasing their secret stash in a special package they’re calling the “Pappy Meal.” Every Monday, starting on April 14, a limited supply (Frederick anticipates about a half dozen) of “meal” sets will be available on the daily special board. The “Pappy Meal” will come housed in  a Western-themed box and will include a rotating two-ounce pour of Van Winkle whiskey in a house-branded bottle, a serving of chef Joe Levandowski’s bread-and-butter pickles, a bag of house-made beef jerky (brined and cured in Tamari, ginger, coriander, yuzu, and cardamom), a toy, and various surprises like Citizen Public House temporary tattoos and buttons.

Citizen public house

Citizen Public House is one of the few bars to carry the full lineup of Pappy Van Winkle whiskeys. Photo by Alex Lau

“When a guest starts laying out $30 or $50 of their hard-earned money for a straight pour of whiskey, we think there should be some ceremony to it. When someone finally gets their hands on this whiskey, we want them to feel like Ralphie Parker on Christmas morning unwrapping his Red Rider BB gun,” Frederick says.

The price of the “Pappy Meal” will vary depending on the age of the whiskey being featured. Younger vintages like the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year will start on the lower end ($30), whereas as older, more coveted offerings will hover around $90. “We have a supply of Van Winkle that any other bar in the country would kill for, and we’ve decided to share it,” says Frederick. “It’s not a museum piece. They’re not trophies. It’s meant to be poured and enjoyed, so we’re sharing the love.”

Every Monday starting on April 14, 5 p.m. – 2 a.m., 1310 Boylston St., Boston; info: 617-450-9000 or citizenpub.com.