I grew up on Pabst Blue Ribbon and Tanqueray Gin. That’s what my parents drank so based on default and my bank account, that’s what I ordered in college at the bars with my friends. Those unfortunate beverages slightly morphed when I landed my first real job in my early twenties: PBR upgraded to Miller Light, Tanqueray migrated to Sapphire and White Zinfandel joined the party. Thankfully a trip to Napa in my late twenties fixed the wine problem, buying a cabin in northern Wisconsin and the Leinenkugel family addressed the beer issue, and the Northwoods supper club Brandy Old Fashioned opened me to an entire world of updated, classic craft cocktail possibilities.
These days I am open to trying most anything, but draw the line on items like wine coolers, syrupy mixers and sadly, beer. I’ve tried to enjoy and love on the craft beer movement, but I feel like seventy pounds of sludge lands in my gut every time I attempt to drink one, so I just don’t. I absolutely delight in scrutinizing every drink menu before choosing a concoction that fits my mood, the weather, my hairstyle and shoe choice for the evening. I typically don’t prefer overly sweet drinks as I enjoy tasting the alcohol. If there were a cocktail “sweetness to bitter” meter, with sweet being all the way to the left and bitter all the way to the right, I’d land somewhere in the middle, just off to the right toward bitter.
I’m willing to try anything once, and most things twice. I love all base alcohols, but lean mostly toward whiskey, gin and vodka. I have to remind myself to play with rums and tequilas. There’s a whole lineup of secondary liqueurs and syrups that I enjoy cracking into and playing with. I recently learned about the different Scotch producing regions, and finally found one that I love: Dalmore. And a few weeks ago at a local craft bar I tried a cocktail that included a homemade shrub among it’s interesting list of ingredients. The taste of that beverage left me stunned and intrigued. You’ll be seeing shrubs and complex syrups on here consistently going forward.
That’s what I love about cocktailing. My tastes evolve, the world of alcoholic beverages continues to change, and there’s always something new to try. Not to mention plenty of classics that stand the test of time, and I invite you to join me in trying them all, one apéritif at a time.