Friday, March 11, 2011

What I've Learned: Year Four


Looking at my calendar, I realized that February had come and gone, which means I've been blogging about cocktails, booze, and other related subjects for 4 years. If boozeblogging operated like high school or college, it's possible I'd be graduating now. But since this sort of thing appears to have no fixed endpoint, I suppose I'll keep at it.

What I've Learned in my Fourth Year of Boozeblogging

~ The number of people I know who celebrate Repeal Day is almost equal to those I know who celebrate Christmas.

~ Putting cinnamon sticks in a nut grinder will result in poorly processed cinnamon and a broken nut grinder.

~ One of the great pleasures of boozeblogging is stumping spellcheck on a regular basis.

~ Apparently absinthe was a fad...and it's over. (Translation: Someone outside of Manhattan is now aware of it).

~ If someone offers you the chance to bartend at an actual bar, take it. Regardless of whether you enjoyed the experience or not, you will realize that making drinks at home and tending a bar are very different things.

~ Speaking of which, bartending is hard work. If you are at a bar, don't provide your bartender with unnecessary grief. Wait your turn, use your inside voice, and keep your hands to yourself. ..Y'know, the same stuff you should've learned in preschool.

~ Oh, and tip, you cheap bastard.

~ If you ever wanted to constantly know what, where and when all your friends are drinking, join Facebook and Twitter.

~ Buying eleven bottles of apfelkorn in one go is worth it just for the look of disapproval/puzzlement on the clerk's face. *

~ One of the great unexpected benefits of boozeblogging is getting pen pals from around the world. If you had asked me four years ago if I thought I'd have friends in places like Sweden, Brazil, Australia and the UK because of a cocktail blog, I never would have imagined it.

~ I would rather have a lousy drink in good company than the other way around.

~ Compared to a few years back, there are a ton of cocktail-centric events happening all year long. I wish I had the time and money to attend more of them. (Note to self: Get more time and money)

~ Cocktail geeks will begin making and selling their own drink ingredients if they feel the market is not meeting their needs.

~ I have no idea what oleo-saccharum is, but I keep seeing it mentioned, so I guess I'm gonna have to go find out.

~ Mail that sloshes and gurgles will brighten almost any day.

~ Tiki-style drinking has clearly expanded beyond a small cadre of nerds in Hawaiian shirts trying to decipher decades-old recipes. Skilled, conscientious bartenders are evangelizing good tiki drinks all over the place, so let's enjoy them while we can.

~ I continue to be amazed at how poorly some liquor brand reps handle their outreach to the cocktail writing community. Many brand reps do an admirable job promoting their product(s), but a troublingly high number still conduct their business in a lazy and clueless fashion. Here's a tip: The speed at which I delete your press release is roughly equivalent to the time you spent crafting it and bothering to find out who you're sending it to.

~ If somebody opens up a place near you with a cocktail program comprised of all-original drinks that use homemade and seasonal ingredients, you should go there.

~ Likewise, if such a place has a guest bartender from another city stop in for a night, make a point of dropping in for a drink and meeting that person. I guarantee you'll learn something.

~ Unexpectedly finding a set of actual old-fashioned-sized old-fashioned glasses is a real treat. Thanks, Target!

~ This is the fourth year in a row I'm mentioning it, but it bears repeating: My fellow boozebloggers remain an inordinately friendly, supportive, and generous bunch. Both in person and online, virtually every one of them I've had the pleasure to know has been gracious and positive, and I'm looking forward to another year in their company.

*It was at a ridiculously cheap closeout price. What was I supposed to do...just leave it there?