Wednesday, February 24, 2010
What I've Learned: Year Three
It's February again, which means another year of this nonsense has come and gone. But time doesn't pass without leaving a little residue on the ol' gray matter, so here's...
What I've Learned in my Third Year of Boozeblogging
~ Some spiced rums are very good, some are downright awful, and a lot are in between. Proceed with caution.
~ Living in a warm, sunny region is undoubtedly pleasant, but I really like being able to reach out the back door and chill my gin in a snowbank.
~ People representing liquor brands frequently contact me hoping I'll be interested their product(s). Some will send mass emails describing how awesome their stuff is and telling me why I should like it. Others will mail me a bottle. Guess which approach works.
~ Buy limes & lemons in bulk. It's cheaper, and you're less likely to be out of them at that crucial moment when your friend unexpectedly switches from white wine to Mai Tais.
~ My love affair with rye continues unabated. Hey, if it's good enough for the World's Toughest Milkman, it's good enough for me.
~ Watching sheer panic unfold during the Great Angostura Drought of '09 was hilarious (mainly because I had a full bottle)
~ There is no shame in buying a nut grinder solely to make orgeat with.
~ I fully realize I'm in the minority here, but I garnish my drinks at home. Even when no one is looking. I can't help it- it's part of the experience.
~ No matter how many ways it's described to me in glowing terms, I just can't embrace infusing booze with meat. However, I find the idea of snake wine strangely appealing.
~ My freezer now contains ice in cube, ball, small hemisphere, irregularly faceted, and sometimes cylindrical forms. Don't judge me.
~ Speaking of ice balls, find a way to make some at home. Regardless of whatever method you choose (like this one, this one, or this one), making them is fun as hell and they work great.
~ It is amazing how people who claim to not like whiskey will warm up to a correctly-made Old-Fashioned.
~ If you are offered the chance to judge a cocktail competition, do it. You will taste some great drinks, see some nifty bartending techniques and meet some very nice people. It will also force you to really think about what makes a good cocktail.
~ You can never have too many bitters.
~ There is considerable overlap between the foodie and booze nerd communities. No offense to the gourmands, but if I've got fifty bucks to spend on food & booze, I'm dropping two dollars at Taco Bell and the rest goes to the liquor store.* I'm going to get a lot more mileage from a bottle of Chartreuse than a fancy dinner.
~ Booze storage seems to follow a natural progression. I started with a liquor cabinet. Then it became a liquor closet. I now have a free-standing shelving unit in my basement. I'm guessing in the next year or two I'll be building a shed.
~ It is impossible to be morose if you are drinking from a tiki mug.
~ The reason I know what "Herkimer diamonds" are is directly attributable to my interest in cocktails. I'm still unsure if this is good or bad.
~ There are a lot of problems that can be remedied simply by judiciously applying Havana Club Barrel Proof.
~ As I pointed out in the last two installments of What I've Learned, the booze geek community remains a friendly, generous and encouraging collection of people. Most are wickedly knowledgeable, many are wonderfully off-kilter, and more than a few are genuinely inspiring. They all need to keep up the good work.
*This is obviously an exaggeration. I'd probably spend only about a buck twenty-five at Taco Bell.