Recently, a regular reader of this blog asked me what my life (travels, observations, fevered rantings, etc.) had to do with beverage, this being a beverage blog and all. Fair question.
And to that I say- everything.
Since I first started working back in 1973, I have been in the hospitality business. Server, Cocktailer, Bartender, Bar Manager and finally, working to direct and support over 100 bars all over the U.S. It is all I’ve ever done, in all my working life. I cannot separate my life from the bar, since it has been my life, all my life.
It is woven through the fabric of my existence. I think about it every single day, whether working or not, because it forms the base of my perspective... I see everything through its lens.
So when I am writing these essays, which gives me no end of pleasure, I write from the perspective that my life and beverage are not separate. That, in fact, Life itself and beverage are not separate. I cannot imagine life without the extra specialness beverage brings to it.
On this blog site, you have so many really smart people... Jack, who covers the industry so well and thoroughly; Stephen, who is the odds-on expert on everything you will now or will ever want to know about beer; The Venerable Plotkin, who is the last word on All Things Bar; Donna, Ken, Gary, the others... all experts in their field, excellent, engaging writers, pillars of the industry.
And then there’s me. I got nuthin’. They have forgotten more than I will ever know. They are The Real Deal. Yeah, I know the industry, but not like Jack and Donna and Robert. I know more than most about beer, but I’m no Stephen. I have a certificate that says I’m a sommelier, but wouldn’t even open a bottle in front of Ken...
I’m just a bar chick with a passable ability to string words together, who has spent 70.84% of her life working the stick, slinging the drinks, driving the Big Bar Bus and running great bars. Beverage is my life. My life is beverage.
And that’s the thing. I write about beverage as it is interwoven into life. As it is interwoven into MY life, in a way that I hope is entertaining.
Beverages make the moments of our lives special. The hammock on the beach, the picnics in the park, the sunsets, boat rides, celebrations, holidays, brunches, camp outs, ball games, birthdays, vacations.... all are great on their own, but add a fruity Mai Tai, a Chianti in a basket bottle, a salty Margarita, a frosty cold malted beverage, a sparkling Mimosa, a chewy craft brew, a lilting champagne ...whatever.. to any event and it becomes specialer... that’s right, once again, the English language being not big enough for me, specialer!
I mean, imagine a barbecue without brewski’s, an Italian wedding without Prosecco and crappy cardboard cookies, a vacation without umbrella drinks, tapas without a Rioja, cheese and crackers without over-oaked chardonnay.. can you? Would you want to?
So I write about how these and many other beverages are woven through my awareness and my enjoyment of the events of my life...that Vinho Verde in Lisbon, the rosé in Provence, the Mojitos in Key West, the Whiskey on the River Bush in Northern Ireland, the ice cold milk at the family camp, the World of Port in Sintra, teatime on the QE2, tankards of dunkel at Oktoberfest ...
Because of beverage- all beverage, leaded or not- these moments were indelibly etched into my psyche even more tangibly then they might have otherwise been, because I added, through beverage, a physical touchstone to an existential experience, making it more real and concrete through the marriage.
And that, my friends, is what I am trying to do here... to share my view, through snark and humor, that beverage is not just a mood alterer or social lubricant or a profit vehicle or a business commodity, but, when used properly, in moderation, a fundamental element in enhancing the wonderful, memorable moments of your life to make them MORE wonderful and MORE memorable. And I do that by telling you my stories.
So when I write about my life on these pages, I am writing about beverage because, for me, beverage isn’t just something to drink or sell...it’s the blood in my veins, the cherry on top, the icing on the cake, the silver lining, the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow. And my life is more specialer for it.
I’ll drink to that.