Last month I looked at the calendar and realized that I started this blog a year ago. I remember thinking that the absolute last thing I was going to do was one of those “Happy Birthday/anniversary”-type posts.
But then I changed my mind. I do that.
What prompted me was a regular feature that Esquire magazine does called “What I’ve Learned”. It’s my favorite part of the magazine*, and for those who haven’t seen it, the magazine asks a notable personality to provide whatever observations on life they feel are worthwhile. Here's a good one.
Never one to shy away from freely spouting my own crackpot take on things, I decided it was high time to jump in myself:
~~~ What I’ve Learned in OneYear of Boozeblogging~~~
~ The boozeblogging/online cocktail community is comprised of unbelievably friendly, generous, and encouraging people. Although I’ve yet to meet any of them in person, I’ve had many fun & informative exchanges via email and comments, and everyone I’ve gotten to know has been very kind. Interacting with my fellow drink geeks is a big reason why I continue to be enthusiastic about learning as much as I can about cocktails.
~ Starting a blog when you’re expecting your first child may not have been the brightest thing to do from a frequency-of-posting standpoint.
~ Pennsylvania has got to be one of the lousiest places in the entire country to buy booze. I knew this prior to starting my blog, but I didn’t fully realize just how maddening it can be until I attempted to try to lay hands on some slightly-off-the-beaten-path drink ingredients.
Rather than going into a full-bore rant, I’ll direct interested readers to this article, which does a pretty good job of providing a glimpse into the lunacy that is PA’s liquor sales system. This one is good as well. (Thanks to Cynthia for bringing these articles to my attention)
~ There is no substitute for fresh squeezed juice.
~ A year ago I hadn’t the faintest idea what the hell Falernum, Orgeat, or Pimento Dram were. Not only did I learn, but I now know people who actually make their own from scratch.
~ Don’t fear the brown! ’07 was the year I really embraced whisk(e)y. My mother-in-law turned me onto Scotch, and I discovered I really, really like rye. And though my taste for Bourbon has been spotty over the years, I recently ran across a few that I’d knock small children aside to get at (I’m talkin’ about you, 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle!).
~ Oregon apparently has a disproportionate amount of skilled and talented bartenders. While they are indisputably nifty as individuals, they recently decided to increase their prowess by several levels of magnitude and become collectively awesome.
~ People can get excited about bitters. Really excited.
~ I am now unable to go past any used book store without stopping in to forage for old bar guides.
~ On recycling day, all my neighbors’ bins empty out with a series of dull thuds. Mine sounds like an avalanche in a chandelier store.
~ I own an antique lime squeezer and not one, but two manual ice crushers. People will give you these things once they become aware of your interest in cocktails.
~ Even though I knew this before starting a blog, I have an incredibly loving, patient, and understanding wife. Aside from allowing my bottles & barware to take up an inordinate amount of space in the house, she also is willing to try all the recipes (no matter how odd) I scrounge up.
And if that wasn’t enough knowledge & wisdom for you, Gabriel over at Cocktailnerd recently posted a fun and educational list that highlights the things he learned about crafting cocktails during a lengthy power outage. Print it out and store it with your extra batteries and candles!
*Apologies to Mr. Wondrich