Tuesday, July 1, 2008

how it all began

When F and I had a neighbor over for drinks recently, we were asked what initially piqued our interest in craft cocktails. I gave the answer that we needed something to do in the evening on our flowerbox-filled balcony. The more I thought about it, the more I regretted my flip response. Fred certainly deserves a bit more credit. The initial plan (back in 2006) was to have a single (! ha ha!) cocktail on Sunday nights. We began the first few Sundays with vodka-based drinks, since we still had a giant bottle of Ketel One left over from our NYE 2004 party.

Then, at week nine, our lives were transformed. It was a very warm evening in mid-August. I believe I requested a gin drink. Fred had up until that point avoided gin, whereas it was my base alcohol of choice. Fred reluctantly searched the web for gin cocktails, and stumbled upon a site called vintagecocktails.com. The featured cocktail was the Pegu, and after the first sip, Fred was hooked. It tasted faintly like grapefruit to me, and was perfectly refreshing. Since then, Fred hasn't wavered in his devotion to gin, though I've discovered a few gin-based drinks that I simply can't stomach (including anything made with Citadelle).

We've added substantially to the NYE leftovers, even going to far as to scour dusty shelves in liquor stores in Indiana for unusual spirits (and a precious bottle of Peychaud's). I scored a 1980's-vintage bottle of Cordial Campari - it's a shame I detest anything raspberry-flavored. I even begged my boss to bring me back a bottle of kummel from Germany. Searching out ever-more-obscure alcohols has become just a little bit of an obsession for me (my current object of lust being: RinQuinQuin).

I guess I could have healthier hobbies. My teetotaling mother would hardly have approved. But this one has encouraged me to meet a good number of fascinating people (and given how pathologically shy I am, that's pretty amazing). I'll drink to that.

1 comment:

Dan S. said...

Trying to remember how we got hooked... I recall trying to find a good drink that I could order at a nice restaurant that was interesting enough to show that I had good taste without being incredibly obscure. It looked like this "Negroni" had potential and I immediately fell for it when I finally had an opportunity to order it. That was probably 2004 or so.

I bought a bottle of Campari and made occasional Negronis and martinis over the next year or two. Then at our company Yankee swap in 2006 I received a small bottle of Knob Creek bourbon. What shall I make with this? How about a Manhattan? Mmm, delicious! Hmm, looks like those are supposed to be made with rye, why don't I try that out?

That's when the slope got really slippery. It didn't help when we spent half of the next company holiday party parked across the bar from a exceedingly pleasant and knowledgeable bartender who turned out to be Joe McGuirk. Since then our home bar has swelled considerably and it's a sad month that doesn't include a visit or two to Green Street. Hard to imagine how we managed beforehand....