My Formative Years - a Cocktail Chef
My discovery and enjoyment of cocktails goes way back. I remember as a child, and far too young to even understand what alcohol really was, I was fascinated by the concept of cocktails and bartending. As the years progressed, I kept thinking how much fun it would be to go through bartending school and learn how to master the art of cocktail alchemy.
Eventually, I found myself old enough to go into cocktail bars. Having had a well rounded college background behind me, I knew the names of “Harvey Wallbanger”, “Sex On The Beach”, “Orgasm”, “Screwdriver”, Margarita, “Smith And Kerns”, and there was also this drink called a Martini that nobody really ever ordered. However, I always found myself at a loss when it came time to order. This is because I didn’t truly understand what a cocktail was, or grasp the importance of the ingredients that they were made of.
I found that it was far easier to wrap my head around the issues related to wine. I mean your beginning choices are simple, it’s either red or white. There are of course far deeper aspects of wine. After spending years learning to appreciate the complexities of a fine Pinot Noir and understanding the subtleties of an oaky Chardonnay, I’ve reached the point where a bottle of wine that costs less then $15 is rot-gut, and barely suited for cooking with.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, my tastes have also evolved an appreciation for the multitude of microbrews we have, as well as the wide variety of different coffees that are roasted in this area.
Something I’ve recently come to realize is that there is something important to note about being a connoisseur of wine, beer, and coffee. The level of interaction with these beverages is essentially as an observer. It’s like being able to go into a fine restaurant, and know how to read the menu and order just the right items. Cocktails are different. With cocktails, you’re role is closer to that of a chef. Sure, anybody can slop some gin into a glass, drop in an olive, and call it a Martini, but there is more to it then that. Shaken, stirred, gin, vodka, vermouth, olive, twist, orange bitters… there are lots of things to consider and understand if you are to provide your guests with a Martini that they will remember.
This is the journey I am on, to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the cocktail. This site will be my vehicle for sharing my experiences with you, and hopefully helping you to learn along with me.
Article reprinted with permission from www.DrinkBoy.com