An Alamo Drafthouse screening of the original “True Grit” (you know, the one with John Wayne) on Sunday isn’t any ordinary showing of the film.
Present for a bourbon tasting and cocktail presentation beforehand and a Q&A afterward is John Wayne’s son Ethan, as well as world renowned bartender Francesco Lafranconi, to present a very special bottle of booze: the Duke Bourbon Whiskey, a blend of 5 to 10-year-old bourbons aged in charred barrels to recreate the bottles of whiskey that John Wayne had left stashed away after his death.
It turns out that in addition to being an actor whose legendary work essentially defined what it meant to make a western in the 20th century, John Wayne was also a bit of a drinks connoisseur who enjoyed sharing the best of the world’s spirits with his friends.
His son, now 53, “remembers his father telling him about his dream to create his own whiskey, his own Scotch and, of course, his very own tequila,” according to a press release. “Naturally, they would be aged just right and crafted in an authentic style that could be enjoyed in the finest clubs and restaurants, around the campfire with a big steak and roasted potatoes, on a boat while fishing, or after a hard day of shooting for the silver screen.”
That dream didn’t come to fruition during the actor’s lifetime, but it’s one that Ethan Wayne resurrected when he opened his father’s crate of bottles and tumblers dating all the way back to 1963. The bottles were comprised of a lot of John Wayne’s favorites — and echoes of their flavor profiles exist now in the Duke, the bourbon that Ethan Wayne and others have produced in honor of his father’s memory.
If you purchase a $13 ticket to Sunday’s one-night-only screening, you’ll be able to try the bourbon and watch Lafranconi pour some cocktails featuring the bourbon before the show starts. Afterward, he and Ethan Wayne will participate in a Q&A.
Lafranconi has worked at bars around the world and now trains beverage professionals at his Academy of Spirits and Fine Service, a 12-week education program, so film-goers will be in good hands if they want to sip on a cocktail during “True Grit,” a 1969 movie in which John Wayne plays U.S. Marshal “Rooster” Cogburn tracking a murderer into Indian territory.
“True Grit” screening, 6:45 p.m. Sunday. $13. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, 1120 S. Lamar Blvd. drafthouse.com.