Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell handed out monogrammed Old Crow bourbon bottles at the Senate Republican conference lunch on Thursday, in a nod to former President Donald Trump’s nickname for him.
Trump first called McConnell “Old Crow” in a July 2021 statement in which the former president called out Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a top McConnell ally, for supporting his chief of staff against Rep. Mo Brooks in a Senate primary, according to CNN. Trump has reused the nickname several times since, including after President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that McConnell supported.
McConnell has claimed to enjoy the nickname, telling CNN that “it’s quite an honor” because “Old Crow is Henry Clay’s favorite bourbon.”
Senate Republicans take turns hosting policy lunches for their colleagues, where they are expected to serve foods traditional to their home states. In addition to the bourbon, McConnell served fried okra, corn pudding, fried chicken and biscuits, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Leader McConnell hosted lunch today pic.twitter.com/rw2b67bYQh
— Doug Andres (@DougAndres) May 5, 2022
The Old Crow bottles distributed by McConnell include a picture of the senator instead of the typical drawing of a bird.
“Kentucky is recognized as the world capital of both bourbon and horses, industries that contribute to our state’s economy and tourism,” McConnell said. “As the world turns its eyes to the Commonwealth for the 148th Kentucky Derby, I’m bringing a little slice of those traditions to the United States Senate.” (RELATED: Hall Of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert Blames ‘Cancel Culture’ For Kentucky Derby Winner’s Failed Drug Test)
Old Crow bourbon has been distilled in Kentucky since 1835, when a Scottish distiller, Dr. James Crow, first produced it, according to ScotchWhiskey.com. It is currently made by Beam Suntory, the same company that distributes Jim Beam.
Clay, the early 19th century Kentucky senator and Secretary of State, reportedly brought a jug of the bourbon with him to Washington, D.C. Several Old Crow advertisements released more than a century after Clay’s death reportedly included the former senator’s likeness.
McConnell has leaned into several nicknames bestowed on him by political opponents. After coal executive and West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship released an ad calling the top Republican “Cocaine Mitch,” McConnell’s team sold t-shirts making light of the insult.