For most of the last 8 years, my wife and I have made an effort to have one distinct date night. Not a “dinner & a movie” sort of date — we got past that LONG ago. Nope — about 180 degrees from sitting and turning off the brain for a couple of hours. The really upscale spirits purveyor that we frequent organizes what they call Whiskey Expo. Think a beer festival, without the loud, obnoxious drunks with pretzel necklaces. Not that it wouldn’t be difficult to get smashed at an event like this. That would be extremely easy and would take about half the time– and irritate all the other attendees. (That has other ramifications I suspect…) Vine & Table works with a sister company to get this organized. Some places get all freaked out over “Black Friday” or the Super Bowl; well this is THEIR Super Black Friday…if that can become a thing. I know the organizers and they put a ton of work into this event. They really work to make certain that every year is special, thought out, and not unnecessarily chaotic. (There is a bit of chaos at the beginning…getting everyone signed in and situated…but that part of any event has to be somewhat chaotic.) So a bit about what we see there…and there’s a lot to see… There are about 45 tables in the venue. Each table has between 3 and 15 different spirits on them. –You don’t try to have a sample of everyone of the spirits — hardly. — As a matter of fact I wouldn’t even begin to think it’s possible to try every one of the spirits. — [As I sit here writing that sentence, my liver, kidneys, eyes, nose, and subconscious, all started screaming what a bad idea that would be….I have to concur] A few days before the event a pour list is emailed to all the attendees. This way one can attempt to make a plan for trying to taste the offerings that you think you might find interesting. There’s a map of how things will be laid out. Which distributor will be where and what will be available to be consumed. There’s a lot to think about here… A LOT… We often make a rough plan, then find it trampled on and discarded about 45 minutes into the event. Why would it be trampled and discarded? Oh, that’s easy– you step up to table _x_ to try bottle of <insert something that caught your eye> and get talking to the maker/owner/distributor, and find out a bit about what you’ve just drank. Then they say “you really need to talk to my friends at <insert another table number here> and get them to tell you how they found <insert new spirit bottle here>…” Yeah, I’m a sucker for a good story about a drink..and if the drink tasty, there’s a good chance that I’ll acquire a bottle for the TARDIS of Alcohol. Who doesn’t like a good story? When the story is about a beverage that somehow it makes it even tastier. — At least this is our experiences. And those spirits that have a spirit of their own somehow just taste better — and can cheer you up from a rotten day. So Saturday morning, after we’d both completed our workouts, and were suitably caffeinated, we started on the hard part — what to pick up… Looking over our tasting notes (and figuring what tables we missed that we thought we REALLY wanted to visit). I think we planned on getting like 10 bottles…that is until we got to the store…ummm..that kinda went out the door too. All the bottles we picked up on Saturday.
The Cheese’s process of getting Hard Cider started. Nothing fancy..seriously.
Also – first serious attempt at a more complex blog post