Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What I've Learned: Year Two


Around this time last year I did a retrospective-ish list of stuff I'd learned during my first year of using the web to foist my booze-centric thoughts and pictures on an unwitting public. I figure if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What I’ve Learned in my Second Year of Boozeblogging

~ Make your own syrups. It’s easier than you think and totally worth it.

~ I’m still surprised (and pleased) when people leave comments- especially people I don’t know personally. I just assume the only people who visit this site are the same seven booze nerds.

~ I like to use unpopular ingredients. I take it as a personal challenge to find some way to make them work in a drink. The more hopeless an ingredient appears, the stronger my compulsion to use it. Sick, I know.

~ Tovolo ice cube trays are a great investment. Please disregard the people who claim they are difficult to use. Yes, it takes *slightly* more time to remove the cubes than from a rigid plastic tray, but c’mon folks- anything worthwhile requires a little effort.

~ The first rule of Fight Club Liquors is: do not talk about Fight Club Liquors.

~ Even though Thursday Drink Night is big-time fun by yourself, it’s even more so if you can get several booze nerds in the same place for it. Not only does it help distribute the workload, but the conversation is priceless.

~ Apparently if you live in Sweden you have access to an unholy variety of rum.

~ Since starting this site 2 years ago, I’ve been asked to do the same sort of thing I do here for a magazine and a newsletter. I certainly appreciate the opportunities, but now I’m gripped by the question of whether people like articles about booze better when they’re accompanied by a cartoon…or whether they like cartoons better when accompanied by an article about booze.

~ A good channel knife makes all the difference

~ Boozeblogging may cause bottles of liquor to show up frequently and unexpectedly at your front door. I now know my UPS man very well.

~ Various vintages of Mr. Boston’s bar guides can be found for pennies at flea markets and similar venues. Even if you don’t like the recipes, they’re a great way to get a sense of drinking trends throughout the years.

~ I had a Bloody Mary in New Orleans that was so good I want to go back almost solely to have another one.

~ Some brand reps at trade shows are great and some are awful. For every friendly, knowledgeable outgoing rep there seems to be one who could care less. Hint: If you want me to be interested in your product, then YOU should appear to be interested in your product. If you ‘re trying to promote your stuff with no information whatsoever and are clearly unable (or unwilling) to answer even rudimentary questions, then you’re not really putting your best foot forward. And behaving as though you’d rather be anywhere else doing anything else and not even having a business card isn’t going to leave me with a terribly positive view of your product.

~ Steel juicers are better than cast aluminum ones.

~ If you’re a drink geek, you owe it to yourself to attend Tales of the Cocktail. If nothing else, you’ll meet several other people who are just as concerned about the coarseness of their crushed ice as you are.

~ This time last year, I characterized my fellow boozebloggers as unbelievably friendly, generous and encouraging. They continue to be exactly those things, and having met many of them in person since then, I’m glad to know them. I hope they’ll all still be here this time next year.

~ It would be a hell of a lot easier if I just took photos of the drinks.


Anonymous said...

A good channel knife makes all the difference

Since I have already detailed (at nauseating length) my 2008-09 Adventures in Channel Knives, I will just say that the OXO is still kicking ass. I really hope this is the end of that particular saga.

Love your blawg, dude :)

Anonymous said...

Wow how time flies! Congratulations on two years sir, look forward to seeing you at Tales again this year I hope?

Anonymous said...

Congrats on 2 years, Craig. You're absolutely right about TDN-even better participating with a group on location.

Kelsey Crenshaw said...

Taking Pictures would be easier and then there is the lighting aspects of picture taking. I am glad to read this and to have you linked on my blog and no you don't even know me or probably wouldn't if it weren't for this medium. Great writing.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Craig to your 2 years! at the next Tales i will have made my first..(i started in june last year)
How time flies.I remember when i started reading booze blogs, the first one i got to was KP and then yours;-)

Hope to meet you and the rest of the nerds at Tales.


frederic said...

Still in search of a good channel knife. My OXO is dull and makes horrible twists (I don't think it was ever sharp, but the zester works like a charm); I have to figure out a way to sharpen it. And the no name one I just got makes too deep of a cut and has too much drag (only the very tip is sharpened).

And it's not just the rum I'm envious of in Sweden, but the wide variety of bottled Swedish Punsches for sale...

Rick D said...

Who are you and how did this get in my reader?

Anonymous said...

For the record, the rum selection in Sweden is abysmal. Most of the rums that Tiare is using have been bought from various places around Europe.
Basically in Sweden, for white rum we have Bacardi or Havana Club. For dark we have Havana Club, Appleton V/X, Myer's Dark, some Rum Plantation bottles and a couple of Martinique rums. That's it. No demerara rums, no overproof, no finer sippers. There is a larger selection available through special order through the distributers, but considering we have probably the most expensive booze on the planet, we are better off just ordering over the net from other countries.

Dr. Bamboo said...

Chasa- That '08 -'09 channel knife saga resulted in BOTH of us getting good knives, so I say it was worth it ;-)

Jay- Thanks! I'm going to do my darndest to be at Tales again this year.

Sam- Thanks also! hopefully we can get another group TDN happening as soon aspossible

Kelsey- Thanks for the kind words. And now I know you!

Tiare- You MUST be at Tales. We will accept no excuses. ;-)

Frederic- Maybe you got a lemon? Mine works great. But if you find a way to sharpen those, please let me know.

Rick- very funny! :-)

Shirow- Good points...but you DO have Havana Club!

Chip and Andy said...

Happy Birthday!

OK, so maybe not birthday, but congrats on two years! And looking forward to many more from you!

Anonymous said...

Followed through from Liqurious... I missed out on year one but having just started out myself, this was an interesting look into the potential future as well as a knowing glance as what's already happened. Keep up the good work!

And I wanna start a TDN!

Unknown said...

I see that the recent TDN winner used Meyer Lemon juice...whee!

I wanna visit on a Thursday sometime to be your citrus bitch, and see what I can learn. :)

Matthew said...

I like to use unpopular ingredients. I take it as a personal challenge to find some way to make them work in a drink.

Do you have any suggestions for drinks that use Suze? I bought a bottle to make White Negronis, and haven't really seen any drinks that use it.

Congrats on two years!

Kaiser Penguin said...


Congrats on the two years good sir! I love that you take challenging ingredients... Hello Mr. Zirbenz, on and the cocktails you create with them are sexy and often tasty.

I'll second the joy of a live TDN.

Cheers my good man!

Michael Dietsch said...

Happy anniversary, Craig!

Dr. Bamboo said...

C&A: Thanks! I'll try to do this as along as I can.

Japhet: Thanks a bunch for stopping by- I've got you on my links list...nice site!

Batgirl: "citrus bitch" is a fantastic phrase! It needs to be on a T-shirt or something similar. Also, you can get in on TDN anytime. I'll email you the details.

Matthew: Unfortunately, I've never tried suze (or know where to get it for that matter). But I guarantee someone out there in the booze geek community does!

Rick: Thanks! You DO realize you're to blame for this, right?
Also, I'm working on a recipe w/ Zirbenz as we speak. ;-)

Michael: Thanks to you as well! I'm assuming I'll see you at Tales this year?

BonzoGal said...

Citrus Bitch FTW!

Congratulations, Craig!!!

Unknown said...

Re: "Citrus Bitch"

I hereby publicly surrender all claim and copyright to you, seeing as how you're the perfect dude to design the logo! :) Have at it!

Anonymous said...

Good Doctor:
Greetings my friend. Many apologies for my mostly silent year. Since going back to school, my content generation has severely dropped off, as has my communication. Kate says hi as well. In any case, we hope to be joining you on the prowl at Tales again this year, and it's been a pleasure sharing the newsletter with you.

Anonymous said...

belated cheers on the anniversary!

I'm about 9 months into my booze-blogging saga. I'm currently trying to think of a good way to sharpen my Oxo channel knife, and am awaiting a stainless version of my Ebaloy juicer.

nerdling said...

Boozenerd Commenter #7 sez:

Those Bloody Marys were effing awesome. Meet you there for Tales kickoff in...96 days?

Алекс said...

Blog + alcohol in Bulgaria :))