I'll admit that I've become a cocktail snob. As I've been learning at home about bartending I've put my usual geek focus into it. When I go out it's hard to not be all "born again" on people. I've gotten to the point where I recognize that people should drink what they like, not what books or people tell you they should like. That said, I still have a lot of judgment in me for the bars who are serving the drinks. I used to get my nose out of joint from badly mixed cocktails, but I've come to understand that I just need to assess a bar for its capabilities and order accordingly. Here are a few things that I look for in a bar, and how that effects what I'll order so that I have a satisfying experience.
Anyone who has visited my home knows that I have a pretty extensive home bar. The world of cocktails is a big hobby of mine these days, and I've been slowly filling out my bar over of the last year. Luckily, I have a wife who supports my hobby, and so we have dedicated a fair amount of shelving space to the cause. That said, we do live in an apartment, and at the end of the day we only have so much space to spare. My home bar is now well beyond the simple list of a basic bar that you can find all over the web.
Last week I took a long, laptop-free weekend vacation in Rome. It was my first time in Italy and I had a blast. There were a lot of good things packed in there, from being in the middle of EuroPride to eating at a fantastic seafood restaurant. One thing that I had decided to do was to finally explore coffee. Drinking coffee is quintessentially Italian, and I figured "when in Rome, do as the Romans." I've never been a fan of coffee – I'm a hardcore tea drinker. I've never understood everyone's fascination with the bitter beverage, especially since the caffeine factor is a non-starter.
This is the kind of place you would walk right by. There is a crooked sign on the side of a building for the Quarry House Tavern and then some narrow stairs descending into the ground behind it are the only other outward sign. You walk down into a basement with a bar and bunch of tables, a bunch of them occupied with folks drinking $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can. This is not the normal kind of place I'd roll into looking for a good drink, but Colleen knows my taste in beer and she'd been wanting to bring me here for a while.
What am I celebrating? Well my frickity taxes are done. This past year was extremely ooky in the tax department but I've got them done and two weeks early to boot. Whew!
How am I celebrating? After all that, I am kicking back with one of my favorite beers, Duvel. I love Belgians and this is the best for kicking back and raising a glass in triumph. And who better to drink with when dealing with the IRS than the devil himself? ;-)
If you've not done your taxes yet - get started! Geez. And if you haven't tried Duvel before, then you really are out of the loop.
I'm a big fan of Dogfish Head ales and I love my ales hoppy. My "round-the-corner" liquor store has started to carry them and so I have been on a 60 Minute IPA tear lately. This past weekend when I went in to restock I was tempted by the fruit of another and stood in front of the cooler door trying to decide what to do. I had seen the Raison
I am an avid tea drinker. Both my tongue and tummy do not like coffee very much but I go through a pot of tea every day. Between Colleen and I, we can easily down four or five pots on a rainy Saturday. Our standard tea for some time now has been Upton Tea's Blue Flower Earl Grey. It has just the right level of bergomot for us and is pretty to boot.
My mom and I did a short weekend tour of Northern Virginia wine country this past weekend as our belated Mother's Day get-away. I just want to make a few notes now so I don't forget everything from it. We stopped at a total of 8 wineries, 4 on the way out to Front Royal and 4 on the way back. We both ended up buying wine even though we hadn't planned on it. So the biggest "note to self" for future wine trips is to plan on buying. We were both surprised at how open we were to the sweeter wines since generally we turn our noses up at them.
I have been on a three-year hiatus with brewing but I am just about ready to get back into the swing of things. It is summer which makes it a little more difficult, but I have a PLAN. I have gone through the shed and inventoried and am gathering the replacements and new items I need.