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Podcast Summary:

“Anyway, I’ll Drink to That” is a Boozn Sam’s production, exploring the fun, quirky, and fascinating tales of drinks (Jack Daniels and Frank Sinatra in this episode) that define culture, history and the world. Every drink has a story to tell, and I’m going to tell it…as true as I can. Hosted by Sam, from Boozn Sam’s. Saddle up with a good cocktail and give me a few minutes of your time for a mystery surrounding a drink that changed the world.

Episode 6 Details:

One Chairman, Two Broken Countries, and Four Famous Words

The Chairman of the Board was drinking his nectar from the Gods and presenting, while the creator of the sweet nectar he sipped was long past dead. This nectar was a special nectar from a dry country in Tennessee. And the creator was a famous man. A distiller who learned his craft from a slave at the house of a rabbi.

Transcript of Podcast:

*This is the entire podcast episode in written form. Do not read if you want the audio version to be spoiled.

The Chairman of the Board looked at those around him and hefted the drink in his hand – three ice cubes, a two finger pour, and one splash of water. He met their gaze and they met his, waiting for his words.

“Ladies and Gentleman,” He said. “This is the nectar of the Gods.”

There was laughter. He’d broken the ice and set the tone for the night. While they were expecting a relaxed meeting, the nerves always strain a little before the first words are said. It was always that way. 

“I’ll take one.” Said the gentleman across from him, to a passing server.

“Me too.” Echoed another, between puffs of a cigarette.

With formalities out of the way the chairman of the board settled in, content with the start. He’d done this many times before. There was nothing to worry about. And the drink helped too. Lightened the mood. 

Jackie would be happy to hear it. After all, it was on that recommendation, when at a smokey bar in New York City Jackie said, “That’s a good place to start.”

It was. 

And also a neat place to end. 

But, tonight, many years later, things were just getting started. He had a full night planned for the people that had dragged themselves out of their homes after dark, dressed clean and professional, and showed up because he had asked them to. 

He had to make it worth their time. 

Years ago that might have worried him, but he’d been The Chairman of the Board for a long time now. He had this. 

And he did. 

For the next hour and half. With them gathered around him in an intimate setting, he shared his words with them. He sipped his two finger pour until nothing remained but melting ice. Then he ordered another round and started over again. 

Sweat gathered on this brow and glistened in the lights. He tugged at his collar. Adjusted his sport coat. And continued on. With a brief stop now and again for those gathered to collect themselves. After all, no one wanted to hear him drone on and on and on for hours.

He could do that, if he wanted to. That was not the question. He considered it, as he took a moment to pause and look into the bottom of another empty round of his famous drink. 

A drink created almost a hundred years ago, right after a period of great upheaval. The country was bleeding. Literally. Brothers lined up and filled each other with hot lead, only to have a man, at one of the deadliest battle sites in history, with the bodies still warm and decomposing beneath his feet, remark on the four score and seven year ago when they had started on this path.

Back then the world was a different place for Nathan. But, also for Jasper. It wasn’t until circumstance brought the two men together at the home of a third man, Dan, that the healing could begin. 

You see, the Unities States was nearing the end of a blood civil war that pitted deep idealogical ideas against each other. Resentments and emotion were deeply harbored by both sides, and would be long after the war. 

But, none of that mattered to the men gathered. Jasper, well it was easier for him, up until a certain point. But, Nathan, all of it was hard. And he was the one with the secret. A gift that could help Jasper. 

Which, day after day he shared with Jasper, trusting the man, and wanting the story, the history and culture to continue. 

Nathan had come a long way. Not as far as his ancestors. But, he’d been born at a time where iron and brutality and force were the law of the land, and, regardless of race and color, those laws are good for no one.

That’s why North battled South, idea against idea, translated into action, into death, bullets and cannons, death and loss, so that one nation could truly dedicate themselves to the proposition that all men are created equal and become one nation, indivisible by God. 

With the ground already consecrated, all the survivors could do was resolve that those dead did not die in vain. 

Here was a first step. A modest undertaking by many standards. That, a hundred years later would mark a monumental leap forward in people of different communities working together. 

But, at the time, it was simply Nathan and Jasper working together for a common goal, a goal that could bring two people together with a bottle between them, laughing and enjoying the company of one another, focused on the things that made the alike. Not the ways they were different. 

It was a risk for both. One fought convention and the other 89 years of slavery. That’s enough time to span generations. To embed patterns and habits, which are nothing more than thoughts, which may seem like nothing. 

But, represent everything when put into action.

When pulled from the satchel, in cold little balls, and jammed into the lonnnggg muzzles of rifles, 

aimed at the faces, 

which carried the eyes close enough to look back at you

While it was an idea that divided the country, it was also an idea that brought parts of it back together. 

Like it had here. When two people who should not have had a friendship, relied on each other to change the world, and show everyone that a new dawn was arising and together individuals could solidify the idea that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

They did so through an unlikely mechanism too. A drink. That brought people together. The same drink that made The Chairman of the Board’s job easier many years later. 

He knew all of these things already. He was a smart guy. The visits to the birthplace of the drink didn’t hurt either. 

There he’d learned the stories. 

Discovered the unique process and water that made gave this drink it’s special appeal.

It was that special taste the Chairman of the Board liked.

So, he kept on with his words. 

And those gathered kept on listening with rapt attention, hoping it would never end. For, they appreciated the escape from the mundane. The realization of the exceptional they all hoped the world would always contain, which did contain it right, here in this moment, with this chairman, and his drink. 

As he raised a glass to them, he continued.

“I’ve got you, deep in the heart of me 

So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me.”

And he took a drink from stage as the room stared unblinking his direction.

They had a lot in common, Ol’ Blue Eyes, Nathan, and Jasper. They’d all come from nothing. And a drink brought them together. 

Perfect on the rocks.

Or as a shot, letting the liquid linger for a moment in your mouth to enjoy all the unique flavors, before swallowing it down.

It wasn’t for the faint of heart, of course. But, progress never is. Which is why it took Nathan, a slave, to take a chance and teach a white boy, Jasper, better known by a different name, at a reverend’s house a craft from the West Indies. A home tradition that would become an international legend.

A distillation process that involved removing impurities from a spirit through the use of charcoal. That left behind a mellow, brown whiskey known after the name of the man who started the distillery down south, in Tennessee. 

Jasper Daniels

Better know as Jack Daniels.