Slow & Low Photo Essay

A pharmaceutical remedy to the common cold used to be snuffed out by a little rye dosed with a little candy. A man by the name of Van Beil introduced the country to the bottle and the “rye and rock” trademark. America gained interest and drank rock and rye until the indelible black mark of Prohibition entered the frame. Sips of whiskey became low-key, and even lower in quality, subsequently, rocks of candy continued falling into pours at the old saloon; adding just enough sweetness to the fuel inside patrons’ glasses. But, eventually, Repeal arrived, Scotch and Irish were legally imported back to the States and Bourbon developed into a booming industry. Rock and rye, consequently, fell into the drowning margins of history. 

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Our first destination were the Twin Cities. We spent a week visiting cocktail bar, watching the World Cup and pairing whiskey with bacon.

Our first destination were the Twin Cities. We spent a week visiting cocktail bar, watching the World Cup and pairing whiskey with bacon.

Decades later, Cooper Spirits asked if the abandoned, American classic could be revived. They delved into the history books to resurrect rock and rye by using the recipes of the past. Their outcome was Slow & Low Rock and Rye–a deliciously sweet, bottled old fashioned, draped in Americana. But a recipe wasn’t the only relic to return. S&L combined the bootlegging spirit with the sweet sips of the speakeasy by converting a 1970’s G20 van into a modern rolling whiskey lounge. 

I spent a month driving around Chicago and the surrounding area, fighting off Cubs traffic and dodging drivers next to me taking selfies.

I spent a month driving around Chicago and the surrounding area, fighting off Cubs traffic and dodging drivers next to me taking selfies.

The tour concluded in Wisconsin. I had some strange times while driving for two weeks in the land of cheese and beer, but also met some great folks.

The tour concluded in Wisconsin. I had some strange times while driving for two weeks in the land of cheese and beer, but also met some great folks.

The van tours across the country honoring the tales of the past and sharing the future of the spirit. S&L recaptured the invention of a once highly-proclaimed spirit by moving forward with a modern ethos, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Rye.” Author Jordan Peterson says, “No one standing still can triumph.” The S&L van is literally a mobile force, that’s propelling forward and never forfeiting two riches of human nature: freedom and whiskey. 

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