Let Me Wine about Sake and Whiskey

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've got to be honest with you, and please don't hate me for what I'm about to say. I'm not a big wine fan. Nor am I a big sake fan, brandy fan, whiskey fan, gin fan, or vermouth fan. Vodka, Midori, Bailey's and other mixer liquors are a different matter, but that's another post all together. I learned to love those in college. Refined drinks were just too expensive and not cool enough for my parties and get-tipsy-quick attitude. Plus, I'm just not a big drinker anymore. I might have a drink once a month, if that. Catch me a year ago and you would see that was a bit different.

Often you might have found me on any given Friday or Saturday night very wet boned, wrapping my arm around a friend to keep myself up, a drink in that hand and the other prolly holding a cig (it's literally the only time I smoke and how to tell I'm pretty close to drunk if not already) or someone's tush.

My parties were off the hook. I was known for my Fear Factor-esque spicy lime grasshopper jell-o shots (with real grasshoppers), and my SUPERSHOT. A shot glass that was about 5 times taller than a normal shot glass. I later found out that it was just a really tall and slim flower vase that I mistook for a highball shot glass when I bought it. Still, I have good memories, even more bad ones, and I think a blackout tied to that thing. My liquor bookshelf was better stocked than most bars.

Nowadays I just keep a few choice alcohols around for cooking purposes. I keep a thing of vodka in the freezer and a bottle of rum in the pantry just in case, but they rarely get used.

I find my lack of wine knowledge is sad. As a foodie, and as a graduate of UCD where I took more than a few wine classes, I know little about wine. I mean I know how the grapes are grown, barely is malted, rice washed, processed, labeled, cared for, etc. But the flavors and tasting of wine and the appreciation of it is so foreign to me.

Wine primarily serves only as an ingredient in this kitchen, but I'm slowly changing that. I'm not just buying it only when the recipe ordains it. I am trying to be adventurous and learn more about wine, reviewing old books and reading any articles I come across. Many friends and fellow bloggers are giving me great advice. I'm even finding a few I like and keeping them on-hand now for those times Rob and I find a quiet evening by ourselves or with friends. Or boredom. Whichever.

I think it's about time to break out of my wine shell, my brandy box, my anti-sake sanctuary and brave this spirited new world.


  1. Ah... well, I say let's you, Rob, me and a few others pack up and head to Apple Hill or Amador before the season ends! They're best places to learn and taste and not feel intimidated...
    Also, I'm still not much of a whiskey drinker, but it works verrry well in chocolate recipes.

  2. Your grasshopper shot sounds like something special. If I didn't drink so much wine, I could eat even more food without gaining weight; even still, I would never give up wine. It is so fun to learn about it, cook with it and drink it. It's awesome that you're expanding your horizons. My husband likes good scotch once in awhile, but no matter how good the stuff is, I can't drink it. Don't feel bad if it takes some getting used to--or just stick to wine!

  3. You could do what I did and buy a cocktail book then come up with the crazy plan to drink all of them within a year. You get an awesome liquor cabinet (at no small cost), find a few favorites and stop before you finish the challenge, concerned that you are becoming an alcoholic.

  4. Kristy - I agree, that sounds like a total blast! Still not sure on whiskey and chocolate though...

    Julie - The grasshopper has become legend now. LOL

    Mer - I think I did that. I called it my Sophmore year. Ha ha. I have a few favs alread cocktail wise. Grasshoppers (the mint and white coco liquor kind), cosmos, sidecars, whiskey sours, and Pom w/ Blueberry Stoli & Sprite are my favs.

  5. Hahahha! You just brought back some memories for me of UCSB!!! The first time I ever got drunk was hilarious- vodka shots playing a card game (bulls**t), drinking Jungle Juice and my roomie begging me to stop walking funny down our dorm hall! ROFL!

    I'm not much of a drinker anymore myself...but I will say this- it's pretty funny to watch me drink one wine cooler. I get a bit tipsy (remember my YAY for Liquor entry? I was a bit tipsy when my husband took that picture! HAHAHA!).

  6. I'm more of a liquor fan than wine/beer *shrug*

  7. Great post! It is fun to hear about antics from college days :)

    I also know very little about the whole pairing wine with food deal, but I would love to learn more. Please keep us updated on any "shibby" discoveries you make.

    Also, I have never actually used the word "shibby" prior to this. Scary... :)

  8. It's getting to be cold and flu season so I feel obligated to stock up the bar this time of year...you know, for medicinal purposes!

    I've always enjoyed wine but known very little/next to nothing about it. I found the Napa tasting experience too intimidating the first time I tried it. Recently, we've been touring the Santa Barbara wine regions and I've been slowly discovering that the whole wine experience is very fun and romantic. Focus on learning about a couple of favorites and then you find yourself hungry (thirsty?) for more. We actually just installed a small wine cellar a couple of weeks ago to hold our new-found treasures.

  9. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! "Supershot." Henh (sniff.) Dude, you rawk.

    Start with sake- go for the milky or Niggori- they're mild and tasty warm, and it's just that time of year. At least on this coast.

    Go forth, young Garrett, and good luck!

  10. I'm not a fan of drinks with a lot of ingredients........leads to too many headaches the next morning. Give me a vodka tonic with a squeeze of lime any day. Oh yes, let's not forget about my love of wine (red or white).


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