Technically Drinking: a manifesto

The classic Louisiana cocktail, Corpse Reviver #2

Let’s talk about getting you what you want, but having it be something new. Let’s talk about empowerment. Let’s talk about education. That’s what I’m all about. I want you to be drinking new drinks. Drinks you like. Drinks that open new windows of perception for you.

I like gin & tonic, Maker’s neat, light lager, Pinot Grigio, or Cabernet Sauvignon just as much as the next guy, but if you limit yourself to those beverages, let me say, you will be missing out.

You don’t need to know everything about what’s behind the bar. You just need to cultivate a sense of adventure and and a willingness to test the boundaries of what you do and do not like. If you follow me through this blog, you will be rewarded incredibly. I promise.

How do we do that? There’s this fantastical thing called, “training a palate,” which is talked about with almost mystic reverence in many foodie circles. But what does this actually mean? For me, “training a palate” translates to, “knowing what you like, what you don’t like, and (most importantly) why…”

That’s what we’re going to be talking about here. How do we get you what you like? Let’s open up drinking culture to everyone so that we can talk about how to get everyone out of their shells and into the stuff which they will really, truly enjoy. Let’s not make it about that stuffy bartender or sommelier looking down over their jigger, tastevin, or tap handle at you, but let’s meet them half-way and take the fight back to them.

Your barman or woman are there for you. Let’s be very clear about this. They should be there to serve you. If they take any pride in their work, this should be the case. That’s why they call it the “service industry.”

At the same time, we in the industry get a little bored serving that 25th glass of Argentinian Malbec, another Stoli Martini, yet another Bud Light.

Let’s make consumption a dialogue. My dream situation is that the dialogue between drink professional and consumer always goes something like this:

You, the consumer, say, “I’m really in the mood for Pinot Noir and he wants a gin gimlet, but what are you really exited about on your menu?”

I, the service industry professional, say, “Oh, awesome, I’m really digging this Valpolicella Classico and have you ever had a Corpse Reviver #2? It’s like a gimlet, but with a little anise flavor and Lillet blanc in it, are you okay with that?”

You say, “Yes, that sounds great. I’ve never heard of either of those before, but if you’re behind them, I trust your taste.”

And the drinks show up, and you hate them, or you love them, but now you’ve learned that, a) your bartender is or is not to be trusted, b) and that you’ve added another sensory experience to your memory bank. But remember, the bartender wants to make you happy. The service industry is directly incentivized in America and he or she wants to get you happy, entertained, fulfilled, and probably drunk. He’s not going to serve you drinks he thinks you won’t like.

I’m here to help you explain that sensory experience. To help you describe what you do and don’t like in a concise and detailed semantic language. Words like “tannin”, “acid”, “dry”, “sweet”, “fruity”, “sulfites” and “organic” are thrown around in wine, cocktail, and beer talk left and right and the problem is they don’t mean the same thing to you as they mean to the person you’re talking to, and that’s why you end up drinking concoctions you don’t like.

I’m a bartender, sommelier, alcoholic beverage enthusiast, thinking imbiber, and occasional drunk. Most of the time I’m able to turn that getting drunk into a learning experience about what I like, and I’d like to get you there too. Ultimately, life is a series of experiences, and there is much value in raising the glass of life in various fashions. So, please, put yourself at ease, and I will guide you through the wide world of booze in the most unpretentious way possible.

About Morgan

Liquid enthusiast. Sommelier and wine communicator living and working in New York City.
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