Whiskey Expo & Revelation

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]
What the Expo looks like on the inside. Lots of people, Lots to consider for sampling.
A typical display at the expo.
How to chose?
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 Day after…and it’s aftermath…

The TARDIS of alcohol unloaded and on the kitchen table.
On the way home we both came to the same conclusion — we really need to get an inventory of all the bottles we have together so we can not buy more of the same, and know what we have. The picture below should give you some sort of clue on the exact size of the problem. Not counting duplicates of special bottles, we’re looking at about 125 different spirits in the TARDIS of alcohol.  Now, what to do about all this….Yeah, that’s actually a discussion we had. For those who don’t know me in real life, I’ll talk with just about everyone (if given the chance). This won’t be much of a shock then… Whilst talking with one of the presenters at Whiskey Expo, she mentioned that her husband professionally blogs about spirits — and works a spirits association. I asked whether he’d be willing to give any advice on how to get going in this arena. Eric and I were able to connect a couple weeks back. As I explained to him, I’m trying to get better at blogging and have this to use as a platform –but that it’s not my intention to use this as a platform to do anything else. I just want to share my experiences, likes/dislikes, and whatever falls out of my head. Facebook is such a limiting area as many of my acquaintances, there, don’t hold the same sets of interests — which is good on a great number of things, and has its’ own set of problems. So I was curious to learn what sort of advice he’d be able/willing to give. Eric basically told that sharing _my_ experiences is up to me. There’s really not a generally accepted “format” to reviewing stuff. [Professionally — there’s a format and process for everything..and I do mean EVERYTHING.] For what I’m doing, show the whatever and write up my notes….pretty straight forward. (And I might get to understand how to do this whole wordpress thing on a more technical level as I go along.)   I think I’ll start writing about what all we have in our collection. I’m not a professional. I’m not going to pretend to BE a professional. I’m just some guy, ok. If anyone actually starts reading this and feels like being an ass — fine, I’ll still ignore you. (As a professional project manager, I catch a lot of flak from people who think they are right and are attempting to derail a conversation. I’ve learned how to ignore all levels of toxic…this would be nothing new.) What I’m thinking is this will be more of a set of portable notes that I’m publicly sharing. What you get from it is totally up to you. We all have different tastes, desires, and wants, from drinks — I’m just putting my notes out there. I will be doing a write up on the 125 different bottles in the TARDIS of Alcohol…just not at 1 sitting.  Most likely not on any sort of fixed schedule either. I will be also sharing how I make some of the stuff that we enjoy. I figure it can’t hurt to share what I do so to prove to you  that _you_ can do it too…So liqueurs that I make, complex drinks (beer, egg nog, cider, etc), interesting cocktails we run across — ALL will be available as I can write them up. Feel free to share your experiences with me too…I like to learn. Now a word of warning about the whole presentation of this site: My host doesn’t make it easy to write these posts and charges for absolutely everything when it comes to getting assistance. AND THEN, if you get an offshore ‘helper’ they answer the question THEY want to answer…not helpful to those of us who know JUST enough. So bare with me as I learn how to make this whole site better… <More to Come…>

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