Military Special Bourbon

Military Special is a brand found exclusively on US military bases, providing troops with bargain basement priced liquor. Since it’s produced for the government, the contracts obviously go to the lowest bidder, and predictably the quality is generally accepted as less than what we’ll call “refined”. The different bottles have different awesome little pictures of military regalia to inspire its customers to greatness, and are made of a thin, safe plastic. I say safe because I imagine the decision to go with plastic serves two purposes:

-Its cheap. Like, I’ve had bottled water with sturdier plastic.

-When PFC Ding-dong whips the empty bottle across the room in his on-base housing upon hearing what Jodie’s been up to with his lady, it will cause less damage where it lands than a heavy glass bottle would.

I was first introduced to this brand in San Antonio when I saw MS Rum at Lackland AF base while visiting a friend. While perusing the booze aisle for fuel for the night’s impending shenanigans, I noticed the rum’s familiar location of origin and immediately pegged it as rebranded Port Royal (a heinous and painful poison). I was fascinated that all of these bar staple liquors were available in bottles with pictures of canons, eagles, flags, and fighter jets. That trip was a lot of fun, I saw the Alamo, goofed off, ate some great bbq, and was searched before getting back on my plane AFTER I had cleared TSA (must’ve looked shady).

Fast forward a few years, and this same friend procured me the MS bourbon, assuring me that it was a poorly kept secret that Heaven Hill made it, and sold it on the cheap to the government. To say I was excited would be an understatement, this was a rare and special gift for a civilian like myself.


MS bourbon has a color similar to the “severely dehydrated” end of the spectrum on a “what should my pee look like” chart. It smells like burning, and tastes like the first whiskey you remember trying. It’s loud, dirty, burns, and is all oak flavor.

Truth be told, I kind of like it in a cocktail. It makes the bourbon flavor cut through any blend. I’ve been doing a splash of bitters, a cherry, and MS bourbon on the rocks for about half the bottle now, and I gotta say it has really grown on me.

Til’ next time biscuiteers!

-Charlie Mewshaw