The Journey Begins
It is commonly said that every journey begins with but a single step. Looking back over what has since become a rather exciting journey, it is amazing to reflect upon the rather simple beginnings that was the single step.
This web site is something I've been thinking about for some time, and I've finally taken the leap and turned it into reality. At the current time, it still isn't complete but it is far enough along for it to finally see its official unveiling on the web. Not only will the content solidify even further over the next couple of months, but I expect the site itself will probably go through a couple of visual and organizational changes as I fine-tune my approach to presenting this information in a reasonable fashion.
This will not be one of those "5000 Cocktail" web sites, if that is the sort of thing you are looking for, you should probably check elsewhere. Instead I want to share with you my experiences as I explore the true art of making cocktails.
The recipes I present here will all be ones that I have personally tested, and over time, each of the recipes will be expanded to include my own observations and insights. I'll also be sharing with you my thoughts and experiences on home bartending, and how you can begin to put together your own collection of ingredients and tools so that you can enjoy a great cocktail at home yourself.
My Formative Years
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.
Cocktail Philosophy
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.
While this site is still evolving, you might want to go check out the site that re-kindled my interest in cocktail, and thus is responsible for me taking the time to put this site up. HotWired's Cocktail Time web site is an excellent source of information about not only a wide variety of classic cocktails, but their resident bartender, Paul Harrington, provides great insights regarding his experiences on what it really means to be a professional bartender.
If you have any questions, thoughts, or experiences you want to share with me, please feel free to send me some e-mail.