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Old Lamplighter
07-04-2012, 11:07
I was not sure what to name this thread, or, if even proper to start a new one. However, I could not find one already in existence in which it seemed to fit. In any event, if the Moderator sees fit to move or merge it, feel free to do so...no offense taken.

I have been in & out a lot the last several months juggling work & school and not much spare time for the hobby. In one of my recent night classes, I was entertained by a discussion I overheard during a break. I intentionally chose not to participate for several reasons of which I will not elaborate. However, I am sure many of us have heard such discussions in the past and will encounter again in the future. I certainly have and, in the past, have interjected my limited knowledge to help guide the misguided where I felt it was welcome. In this most recent situation, I did not. Anyhow, without further ado, the letter "P" indicates the different persons speaking.

P1: Some people collect stamps or coins for a hobby, but I like to buy & try various whiskeys...that's my hobby.
P2: I used drink whiskey but haven't had any since I was 22 (now in his 30s)...my favorite was Dickel...it's some good stuff!
P3: What is Dickel?
P2: It's whiskey...bourbon I think...not sure what it's called but you'll never find any better whiskey!
P1: No, it's not bourbon unless it's made in Kentucky...otherwise it's Tennessee whiskey
P2: Oh, I'm sure Dickel is bourbon then cause it's made in Kentucky I think
P1: It's all the same....only one is made in Kentucky and the other in Tennessee....other than that, no difference
P3: I always liked JD...bourbon I guess...no, no...it's made in Tennessee....the only whiskey made in Kentucky is bourbon?
P4: Man!, that JD single barrel is very, very good bourbon! I think it is the best.
P1: I'm not sure about Jack anymore after trying a lot of other bourbon...it's good but just not on par with some others I've tried
P5: I like about any kind of bourbon no matter where it's made!

It went on a little longer but only unraveled further as a few more "knowledgeable" folk began to join in and expand the "knowledge". In hindsight, I suppose I should have used the situation to teach some truth. However, most of these guys were a lot younger than me and not being part of their 'clique' from working together, I declined. Overall, it was some amusement that tended to motivate me to get through the rest of the class after a long day....and buy a bottle on the way home...lol Thanks for your indulgence....I'm grateful to have this Forum as well as you guys & gals from whom I have learned much and continue to do so.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! BE SAFE!!

tigerlam92
07-04-2012, 12:13
I guess it's about exposure and experience. Also in life we learn a great deal more when we try to listen and learn first. The P's could use a little more of both.

I still remember so many years ago when a friend told me how great Gentlemen Jack was and when taking a shot, it has to be coke back. :)

Cheers
-Hugh

KYPayne
07-04-2012, 12:33
I went to dinner with a female acquaintance of mine who was a server at restaurant with a well-stocked bar and a male friend of hers a few months ago. I said something about my love of whiskey, and we started talking about it. Her friend that the difference between bourbon and whiskey is that bourbon was higher quality, but my friend said, "All bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon." She continued saying that she loved it when people ordered bourbon because she liked the smell. She said it reminded her of butterscotch candy. She's never drank whiskey in her life but recognized a smell aside from alcohol.

I love it when people talk about how much they love such and and such whiskey but all they do is knock it back. I work a lot of nights, so I usually go to the liquor store during the day, around noon or so. I went into a store to grab some Booker's (I'd never had it, and I regret that I did), and the man who was working said, "Ahh, the big bad Booker's. One shot'll get you there. What're you doin' today?"

"Not much."

He bagged the box and laughed, "I believe it."

Generally, everyone assumes that I'm just trying to hammered.

dbk
07-04-2012, 12:51
Generally, everyone assumes that I'm just trying to hammered.
Don't take it personally. I suspect people assume it because it's precisely how many of them are inclined to drink it themselves. It says as much about them as it does about yourself.

I went to Binny's South Loop a couple of weeks ago and bought two bottles of whiskey (Weller 12 and Colonel EH Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof), two small bottles of liqueur (Leopold Brothers' American Orange and Byrrh), and two bottles of beer (Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and Oude Kriek). It was kindly boxed up for me—in an empty vodka box, I believe—so that I could transport it on the L. I was planning to drink the beer and nothing else until the bottles made it back with me to Canada, but that didn't stop a young gentleman waiting on the platform from remarking "You gonna get fucked up tonight, man."

Gillman
07-04-2012, 13:40
It is a common reaction to an interest in whisk(e)y to assume one will over-indulge. This is presumably a hangover (sorry) from frontier and early settlement days when whiskey had an image largely as a roughhouse drink, a drink to make you drunk. Hence those examples in 1940's sources and earlier, which I find tedious, that this bar doesn't serve cocktails and fancy drinks but whiskey to get men drunk blah blah. Today at any rate, those who drink alcohol know or should know that it shouldn't be abused or spoken of in that fashion. It is a beverage alcohol like any other form. You can get f***ed up on wine and beer too and plenty do, unfortunately. Drink should be promoted, if at all, responsibly. Old notions take a long time to erode from folk memory however, what can you say...

That gent who said whiskey was different from bourbon was right IMO in a rough and ready way, he meant I think that whiskey was blended or Canadian, and bourbon was a straight whiskey with a more traditional taste.

My view is that when people say things about whiskey that aren't correct or could benefit from specialized knowledge, it is best to stay silent as you did since it isn't polite really to challenge other people on something they say unless you know them well and hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Also, it's hard to start because you don't know when you're going to finish and rarely have enough time! E.g. commonly I read the statement that Canadian rye often if not typically has little rye in it, and can have none at all, but thus and such brand has a lot of rye in it, or is all-rye, so that is a more authentic rye whiskey, rye like it presumably was at one point. Well, that is true and it's not. A vital factor is distillation proof: if most of what is in the bottle is distilled out at a proof close to or at the level used to make vodka, the fact that it is distilled from rye will matter very little since the spirit has been rectified to near neutrality before aging. In my experience, this vital point is rarely appreciated by most, yet it is important to understand it to assess whether a whisky which is made from all-rye will really taste different than one which has little or no rye in it.

I've found the best opportunity to impart knowledge is with good friends who are interested in the subject - most won't be and who can blame them? An intense interest in drink - I mean one in which quantity drinking is not part of the equation - is one of the odder corners of the world's knowledge, and what interests us here will generally appeal to very few people. (Hence the salutary and much-appreciated existence of SB!). Even where non-multiple unit interest exists, usually, or in my experience again, it is on some peripheral (to us) aspect such as company history, economic history, bottle design, bottle collecting and so forth. The gastronomic side of it - the description of palate flavors and how they are produced, the way whiskeys are classified and regulated - has very little interest in the wider community much less details of still operation, vaporization rates and so forth. And that's fine, everyone has areas that interest them for some reason, just because alcohol is widely consumed doesn't mean people take or should take a detailed interest in its palate range, production methods and classification.

So the kind of experience recounted is familiar to many here, but that's okay.

Gary

cowdery
07-04-2012, 16:30
It's also a Prohibition hangover, in that for a large part of the population (even some who drink) the only proper thing you can teach about alcohol is why you shouldn't drink it. Since I teach classes about whiskey, I'm also struck at how aggressive some people can be in their ignorance. Yet the only facts they can offer are that 'some guy' told them such and such. The fact that so many people who work in the industry, particularly servers, are so ignorant is part of the problem, but training them is almost impossible since they turn over so fast. And then there's the fact that a lot of people who have problems with alcohol are in denial about it. They tell themselves that it's the straight spirits drinkers who have a 'problem,' not them, because they only drink beer or Chardonnay.

sutton
07-04-2012, 16:33
I suppose we were all there at one point. At some point in the past, we decided to learn more - what that trigger was is different for everyone. Until I saw someone order a Sazerac and school the uninformed bartender on how to make it, I really didn't give bourbon or rye much of a thought, never mind other variants (Canadian, Scotch (blended, vatted, or single), what makes a whiskey a straight whiskey, etc). I'm not sure what it was that made me pay attention to this gentleman at that particular moment, other than the thought that, "Wow, if he is that singular in his intent, maybe I should give it a try." It ultimately led me here.

I don't come from a family that indulged in brown spirits - my family culture is wine, with the occasional grappa or limoncello thrown in. Others may come from a family background that always had bourbon/whiskey around. In my case, I think my dad had the same fifth of Jim Beam White for a couple of decades, and it only came out when having folks over who might want a highball - which didn't happen often!

So I can understand the mis-informed - I'm still learning myself. And I think you did the right thing not jumping in - one day, some of them might have an experience like I did that leads them down the path to seek out more info, and they'll look back on that conversation and have a laugh.

Flyfish
07-04-2012, 17:06
In every discussion of legalizing marijuana, you can count on an advocate saying that grass is less harmful than alcohol and that the only reason it is objectionable is that is illegal. Make it legal and the problem goes away, they claim.
It seems to me that it is possible (based on decades of experience) to drink responsibly. In the case of marijuana, however, the sole purpose is to get totally blasted. Bourbon drinkers, of the proper sort, (i.e., us) are interested in the color, nose, how it presents to the palate, and the finish. As far as I know (being totally bereft of experience), the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies.

luther.r
07-04-2012, 18:40
Lack of public knowledge seems to hang around every hobby one gets into. From personal experience:

Vintage Italian Motorcycles: "Cool. Is that a Ducati?" "No, it's an MV Agusta." "Oh. Is that made by Ducati?"
Tequila: "Yeah, tequila sucks. Except Patron. Patron is awwwwesommmmme." or "You like tequila? Do you eat the worm?"
Analog synthesizers: "Cool, a Moog! ELP used to play one!" "This is made by Buchla." "But it's a Moog, right?"
Pinball: "Oh yeah, I'm a huge pinball fan." (CRACK from match) [jumps] "What the hell was that?"

Gillman
07-04-2012, 19:54
Just tonight at dinner, couple next to our table were discussing the best Scotch. The discussion centered on Johnnie Walker. It was the only brand mentioned. How the Blue was the best but expensive, the Double Black was a good option below that, the Red decent for the price (all true), but no mention of other brands much less single malts. Then they moved on to something else. I was going to make some good-natured suggestions but decided against it per my theory earlier that it is best not to obtrude when people I don't know well discuss an area like this.

Gary

KYPayne
07-05-2012, 00:55
As far as consumption goes, you also have people who drink on occasion solely to relax and unwind. It's using alcohol to self-medicate in a way. There are times when late at night before a day off from work I'll sit on the back porch till 2 in the morning drinking bourbon and smoking a cigar. I'll a drink a few glasses as long as my cigar is burning. In those periods I'm not analyzing the complexities of my drink. I'm simply taking pleasure in something that I love. If it's a drink I'm familiar with, then there isn't too much more to ponder anyway.

My Dad drank maybe 3 beers a year until I became interested in whiskey. He doesn't particularly like whiskey and doesn't understand why appreciate it (though I'll have him nose with me on occasion to help him to understand). Nowadays, we'll go shoot pool or go out for wings, and he'll drink a few beers, like he used to do before I was born. The beer choices at pool halls and chain restaurants are slim usually, so I'll try a different mass marketed consumer brand every time just for variety. He always gets Michelob Ultra. He prefers lighter beers and shuns porters and stouts whereas I'll try any beer for the sake trying it. My Dad, I believe, doesn't enjoy beer as much as he enjoys the effects, but he drinks with much less frequency than I do.

My Dad, in a way, self medicates with beer. He drinks it to relax. I drink bourbon (and sometimes Scotch) to relax not because I crave the effects of liquor but because I enjoy the flavors. There's a certain pleasure that's wrought from it. The question is though, would I still drink bourbon if it didn't have any sort physiological effects? I think I would. It might sound strange, but I approach soft drinks with a certain connoisseurship on occasion when I find a bottle of Double Cola or something with limited distribution. I drink the coke for the experience of drinking it.

There's a dichotomy: people who drink for pleasure for nearly medicinal purposes and people who drink for pleasure of the experience. To add to what Gillman said, most people who drink for drink's sake are branded drinkers themselves. I work for a functional alcoholic who prefers Ocho tequila, which he drinks by the fifth from the bottle. My step grandfather has drank VOB BIB exclusively for the past 40 years. They found something palatable and stayed with it. My mother's side of the family is filled with adamant teetotalers. Daily consumption is seen as a fast road to alcoholism, regardless of the amount consumed. From my own experience, I've found that the amount I consume is not correlated to my need for drink. It's one's purpose in drinking that creates addiction. When anything becomes a coping mechanism, food, drink, or sex even, it places you in danger of dependance. I could never drink again, but I have no reason not to because it's a bright spot in life, like playing the piano or shooting pool.

tmckenzie
07-05-2012, 04:44
We see it everyday in our tasting room. One thing that annoys the hell out of me is people will ask me, since I distill for a living is, I bet you stay screwed up all day. I inform them no, that on occasion when needed, I will taste something, but that I run the still with my nose. You cannot run it by taste. But at the end of the conversation, they still beleive that I drink all day because I am around it. nonsense.

Gillman
07-05-2012, 05:11
But the situation is changing as Prohibition (responsible for much as Chuck said) recedes in the folk memory and knowledge gains that a standard measure of spirits is equal to a standard serving of beer or wine. In large centers now the place of whisky amongst the alcoholic drinks is becoming normalized in the sense that it is increasingly viewed as part of gastronomic heritage. Commensurately it is being recognized that any alcoholic drink can be abused - beer was often viewed leniently in the past due to its standard 5% strength - and people as always must be cautious as to what they consume and when - a personal decision in the end as it always was.

But anyway this idea of the special potency and danger of whisky is just one aspect of the original post in the thread which is that there is a lot of general misapprehension and misunderstanding of what is what in the world of spirits. That part won't change I think since like any specialized area of knowledge, only a few will have the interest to understand it further. JD will always be viewed I think as "sour mash" in the general public mind (heard that a million times), not sure why and it is hard to figure out these enduring tales sometimes but there you have it.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
07-05-2012, 10:53
It was kindly boxed up for me—in an empty vodka box, I believe—

Vodka box. Got that.


...a young gentleman waiting on the platform from remarking "You gonna get fucked up tonight, man."

Well, sure. What else is vodka good for?

dbk
07-05-2012, 11:00
Well, sure. What else is vodka good for?
Floor cleaner comes to mind.

T Comp
07-05-2012, 11:40
Great comments from everyone and describes many of my experiences. I just bowed out from giving free but requested knowledge to a friend in the bar business, with a developing American whiskey concept, because the hired professional consulting mixologist was, as Chuck described, way to aggressive in his ignorance.

I'd like to touch on Gary's first post with his advice about generally staying silent unless asked. I endorse this view also as a recognition and reminder of our own cognitive bias for whiskey/bourbon. Our choices and resulting knowledge comes from our emotions, self image and bias. Knowledgeable :grin: people studying this stuff have terms like "choice supportive effect" or "endowment effect". Even though most of us are not "fanboys" of one given brand we are still "fanboys" of bourbon and it is a big part of who we are; but it is based on our biases and gives us biases. I know I'm kind of riffing a bit pessimistically on something Gary said (who is an optimist)...but I work with a lot of experts and notice (or is it another bias on my part :lol:) the more you take your ego out of what you are an expert on...the more you are an expert. Except when it comes to vodka...feel free to blast away.

AaronWF
07-05-2012, 12:17
In every discussion of legalizing marijuana, you can count on an advocate saying that grass is less harmful than alcohol and that the only reason it is objectionable is that is illegal. Make it legal and the problem goes away, they claim.
It seems to me that it is possible (based on decades of experience) to drink responsibly. In the case of marijuana, however, the sole purpose is to get totally blasted. Bourbon drinkers, of the proper sort, (i.e., us) are interested in the color, nose, how it presents to the palate, and the finish. As far as I know (being totally bereft of experience), the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies.

Well this is an excellent illustration of how easy it is to waive opinions or prejudices around and call them undeniable fact in just the same manner this thread is discussing general ignorance when it comes whiskey. In fact, I'm not sure what your point is with this paragraph other than to try to gather up the responsible bourbon drinkers around here and gang up on the legalization of marijuana.

"Being totally bereft of experience," as you put it, you really have no basis to make claims that the sole purpose of ingesting marijuana is to get "totally blasted," nor to claim that "the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies." Rest assured, and this is coming from someone who does have experience, there are other ways to enjoy the effects of marijuana than just getting totally blasted and resorting to eating a pan of brownies, not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anything is harmful for you in excessive quantities, and I would suggest not turning your righteous indignation with alcohol prohibitionists around on pro-legalization advocates, thereby becoming the prohibitionist yourself on a subject of which you are ignorant.

wripvanwrinkle
07-05-2012, 12:23
Well this is an excellent illustration of how easy it is to waive opinions or prejudices around and call them undeniable fact in just the same manner this thread is discussing general ignorance when it comes whiskey. In fact, I'm not sure what your point is with this paragraph other than to try to gather up the responsible bourbon drinkers around here and gang up on the legalization of marijuana.

"Being totally bereft of experience," as you put it, you really have no basis to make claims that the sole purpose of ingesting marijuana is to get "totally blasted," nor to claim that "the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies." Rest assured, and this is coming from someone who does have experience, there are other ways to enjoy the effects of marijuana than just getting totally blasted and resorting to eating a pan of brownies, not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anything is harmful for you in excessive quantities, and I would suggest not turning your righteous indignation with alcohol prohibitionists around on pro-legalization advocates, thereby becoming the prohibitionist yourself on a subject of which you are ignorant.

Good point. I think that the kettle was calling the pot black.

:ducks:

Kalessin
07-05-2012, 13:35
Lack of public knowledge seems to hang around every hobby one gets into. From personal experience:
[...]
Pinball: "Oh yeah, I'm a huge pinball fan." (CRACK from match) [jumps] "What the hell was that?"

Damn, I miss pinball... On the other hand, if I'd invested all those quarters from about 1975 through the early 2000s that I dropped into pinball machines, I'd probably be able to buy a few cases of really nice whiskey AND a Ducati...
:D

White Dog
07-05-2012, 15:38
Well this is an excellent illustration of how easy it is to waive opinions or prejudices around and call them undeniable fact in just the same manner this thread is discussing general ignorance when it comes whiskey. In fact, I'm not sure what your point is with this paragraph other than to try to gather up the responsible bourbon drinkers around here and gang up on the legalization of marijuana.

"Being totally bereft of experience," as you put it, you really have no basis to make claims that the sole purpose of ingesting marijuana is to get "totally blasted," nor to claim that "the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies." Rest assured, and this is coming from someone who does have experience, there are other ways to enjoy the effects of marijuana than just getting totally blasted and resorting to eating a pan of brownies, not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anything is harmful for you in excessive quantities, and I would suggest not turning your righteous indignation with alcohol prohibitionists around on pro-legalization advocates, thereby becoming the prohibitionist yourself on a subject of which you are ignorant.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

KYPayne
07-05-2012, 17:36
Anything is harmful for you in excessive quantities, and I would suggest not turning your righteous indignation with alcohol prohibitionists around on pro-legalization advocates, thereby becoming the prohibitionist yourself on a subject of which you are ignorant.

I've never known anyone to smoke marijuana for any other reason besides intoxication just as in my own experience with drinkers they all just want to get drunk. That simply illustrates that most people's concern is getting intoxicated regardless of the method.

Trey Manthey
07-05-2012, 19:00
I've never known anyone to smoke marijuana for any other reason besides intoxication just as in my own experience with drinkers they all just want to get drunk. That simply illustrates that most people's concern is getting intoxicated regardless of the method.

Just because you've never known something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


I drink bourbon (and sometimes Scotch) to relax not because I crave the effects of liquor but because I enjoy the flavors. There's a certain pleasure that's wrought from it. The question is though, would I still drink bourbon if it didn't have any sort physiological effects? I think I would. It might sound strange, but I approach soft drinks with a certain connoisseurship on occasion when I find a bottle of Double Cola or something with limited distribution. I drink the coke for the experience of drinking it.

You're talking about "experiencing flavors" as if it were somehow a loftier goal than what other people expect when they are partaking in something for enjoyment's sake. FYI, different varieties of marijuana have different tastes, smells, and effects.

tmckenzie
07-05-2012, 19:12
Well this is an excellent illustration of how easy it is to waive opinions or prejudices around and call them undeniable fact in just the same manner this thread is discussing general ignorance when it comes whiskey. In fact, I'm not sure what your point is with this paragraph other than to try to gather up the responsible bourbon drinkers around here and gang up on the legalization of marijuana.

"Being totally bereft of experience," as you put it, you really have no basis to make claims that the sole purpose of ingesting marijuana is to get "totally blasted," nor to claim that "the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies." Rest assured, and this is coming from someone who does have experience, there are other ways to enjoy the effects of marijuana than just getting totally blasted and resorting to eating a pan of brownies, not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anything is harmful for you in excessive quantities, and I would suggest not turning your righteous indignation with alcohol prohibitionists around on pro-legalization advocates, thereby becoming the prohibitionist yourself on a subject of which you are ignorant.

I could not have said it better. And just like whiskey, marijuana in moderate doses has some good medical benifits.

KYPayne
07-06-2012, 06:26
Just because you've never known something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I'm not saying that people don't use marijuana for different reasons. I'm not disagreeing with you. What I'm saying is that from my experience the majority of marijuana users do not care about the nuances of various varieties of pot just like most drinkers don't really care about the myriad of whiskeys available to them. There's a whole "let's get stoned" crowd that correlates to the "let's get drunk" crowd. They're different substances used for the same purpose by many people. Like with liquor, most people fail to see that there's any possible of moderation with marijuana.

Trey Manthey
07-06-2012, 07:37
Really the only time I flex any knowledge of whiskey is if someone asks me because they know I'm into it, or when I've got them captive at my bar and express some interest in the difference between all the bottles. I often get the "What's the difference between scotch/bourbon and whiskey." When I'm at my home base, I can let people smell and taste different things, find what they like, then make them a cocktail they'll enjoy. If they're brave I'll pour it neat, but this almost always ends up with a barely sipped glass.

It's fun for me, because I remember when I was clueless about the same things, and I enjoy passing the knowledge on in a sensory, hands-on fashion. Much more exciting than reading about it on Wikipedia and tasting it alone at home.

mosugoji64
07-06-2012, 09:28
This reminds me of an experience I had a while back when I stopped into a local store looking for a couple of specific bottles. The clerk stated that they did not have the bottles in question, but pointed to some bottom-shelf bottles saying, "Why spend a lot of money when you're just gonna piss it out anyway?" I kindly thanked him for his assistance and left. :rolleyes:

White Dog
07-06-2012, 09:35
This reminds me of an experience I had a while back when I stopped into a local store looking for a couple of specific bottles. The clerk stated that they did not have the bottles in question, but pointed to some bottom-shelf bottles saying, "Why spend a lot of money when you're just gonna piss it out anyway?" I kindly thanked him for his assistance and left. :rolleyes:

Wow. What a great "up-sell." I bet the owner would've loved that line!:lol:

soad
07-06-2012, 10:23
Well this is an excellent illustration of how easy it is to waive opinions or prejudices around and call them undeniable fact in just the same manner this thread is discussing general ignorance when it comes whiskey. In fact, I'm not sure what your point is with this paragraph other than to try to gather up the responsible bourbon drinkers around here and gang up on the legalization of marijuana.

"Being totally bereft of experience," as you put it, you really have no basis to make claims that the sole purpose of ingesting marijuana is to get "totally blasted," nor to claim that "the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies." Rest assured, and this is coming from someone who does have experience, there are other ways to enjoy the effects of marijuana than just getting totally blasted and resorting to eating a pan of brownies, not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anything is harmful for you in excessive quantities, and I would suggest not turning your righteous indignation with alcohol prohibitionists around on pro-legalization advocates, thereby becoming the prohibitionist yourself on a subject of which you are ignorant.

Well said sir, well said.

KYPayne
07-06-2012, 16:53
This reminds me of an experience I had a while back when I stopped into a local store looking for a couple of specific bottles. The clerk stated that they did not have the bottles in question, but pointed to some bottom-shelf bottles saying, "Why spend a lot of money when you're just gonna piss it out anyway?" I kindly thanked him for his assistance and left. :rolleyes:

That's awesome! Every time I'm approached by an employee about the bottle I'm looking at they always seem to say, "Have you ever had that?" I usually say, "Nope," regardless if I have or not. "I have. It's so clean and smooth."


Those are the two most common descriptors liquor store people give me.

CoMobourbon
07-08-2012, 07:54
My Dad, I believe, doesn't enjoy beer as much as he enjoys the effects...

My Dad, in a way, self medicates with beer. He drinks it to relax. I drink bourbon (and sometimes Scotch) to relax not because I crave the effects of liquor but because I enjoy the flavors.

There's a dichotomy: people who drink for pleasure for nearly medicinal purposes and people who drink for pleasure of the experience.

As useful and even necessary as it it to outline this dichotomy, it is even more necessary to tear it down. It's worth saying, but only if we immediately follow it up with 'of course it doesn't really work like that'.

"Medicinal pleasure" and "pleasure of the experience" (the quality and complexity of flavor, etc.) are distinct only as categories. Really, the physiological effects of alcohol are so inseparable from the "pleasure of the experience" - what we call the flavor profile of a good whiskey - that there is no drawing lines between these pleasures or between those who partake in them. The pleasant tastes of whiskey depend on the pleasant relaxing effect of alcohol. Even when we think we want the flavors (or even the scents), it is only because we have come to associate them with that medicinal goodness.

Think of it in terms of conditioning. When it comes down to it, there are only a few flavors that we as human animals find inherently pleasing - fatty, salty, and sweet, I think - and there are tons of cheap, easy ways of getting these flavors in much more intense forms than straight whiskey could ever provide. Kettle corn pretty much covers it. Our hankering for any other flavor profile is acquired, and it is acquired by conditioning associations between those profiles and experiences/pleasures we find inherently pleasant. Apparently we find the physiological rush of alcohol consumption pleasant, and the flavors that mediate that rush become desirable by association. We drink whiskey with flavors X, Y, and Z, we experience alcohol effects that our bodies like, and we eventually start to just look for flavors X, Y, and Z. Presumably marijuana, wine, beer, sex, etc. work the same way.

So yes, there are people who are more or less only after the alcohol effects. And I totally agree with you about the crucial difference between dependency and deliberate enjoyment. (If anything, dependency is more scary to me because of what I have just said.) But if we really let ourselves believe that we are transcendent connoisseurs who are ever in it only for the flavors, we are s-----g ourselves. Even if we only ever experienced whiskey by the nose, the promise of alcohol would be a huge determining factor in our enjoyment.

*Now I am off to enjoy my daily breakfast of bacon, cocoa puffs, and vodka.

CoMobourbon
07-08-2012, 09:17
This reminds me of an experience I had a while back when I stopped into a local store looking for a couple of specific bottles. The clerk stated that they did not have the bottles in question, but pointed to some bottom-shelf bottles saying, "Why spend a lot of money when you're just gonna piss it out anyway?" I kindly thanked him for his assistance and left. :rolleyes:

And really, he's kind of right. With the partial exception of whiskey, I try never to spend too much money on anything that I can't sell back or won't last me a long time.

Enoch
07-08-2012, 09:43
In every discussion of legalizing marijuana, you can count on an advocate saying that grass is less harmful than alcohol and that the only reason it is objectionable is that is illegal. Make it legal and the problem goes away, they claim.
It seems to me that it is possible (based on decades of experience) to drink responsibly. In the case of marijuana, however, the sole purpose is to get totally blasted. Bourbon drinkers, of the proper sort, (i.e., us) are interested in the color, nose, how it presents to the palate, and the finish. As far as I know (being totally bereft of experience), the only effect of grass on the palate is it gives you the munchies.

Per my next door neighbor who is a professor of public health and his specialty is drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The three largest lobbyist against legalization of marijuana are drug cartels, alcohol industry, and pharmaceutical industry, in that order. Makes you wonder why they are against legalization. They don't want a replacement you can grow in your own backyard. HMMMM.

And I find it interesting that if you get caught with less than an ounce of M you loose federal student assistance. BUT if you kill someone...that's OK.

Josh
07-08-2012, 09:58
The only time I routinely offer unsolicited advice about whiskey is when somebody is standing in front of the bourbon section of the store looking confused. The supermarket where I shop has a great wine-guy, but he doesn't know anything about spirits, especially Bourbon or Scotch.

dbk
07-08-2012, 16:00
The only time I routinely offer unsolicited advice about whiskey is when somebody is standing in front of the bourbon section of the store looking confused.
Me too. If I see someone looking at the whiskies in bewilderment, I'll usually—and very politely—offer some assistance. I'll also make it clear I'm only offering suggestions (usually "value" pours, because few people want to drop the coin I'm willing to spend), and so they shouldn't feel any pressure to go with my recommendations.

MyOldKyDram
07-08-2012, 16:02
The only time I've offered advice is when people have actually come up to me and asked me for it. Poor bastards.

AaronWF
07-08-2012, 16:17
When I see people vacillating between Maker's Mark and WT101 on a shelf full of BT and HH bourbon, I often can't help but let slip some recommendation. The other week, two just-out-of-college looking dudes were doing just that, and I couldn't help but point out the AAA 10yo (new on that store's shelf) for $17.99. They immediately yanked it off the shelf, thanking me, and headed straight for the cashier. It feels good knowing I steered them right and gave them an in on something they likely wouldn't have found on their own.

KYPayne
07-08-2012, 16:34
As useful and even necessary as it it to outline this dichotomy, it is even more necessary to tear it down. It's worth saying, but only if we immediately follow it up with 'of course it doesn't really work like that'.

We do lots of things for pleasure, but pleasure is seldom the only motivation. With sex there are emotional elements. With food there's a certain taste element that correlates with the endorphin rush. With exercise there's the endorphins plus the sense of personal accomplishment. There may be occasions where I drink a few extra glasses to help me forget about life for awhile, but those days are few and between. Alcohol does make it the experience more enjoyable, but perhaps only because there's no alternative to alcoholic bourbon. We associate alcohol with the bourbon flavors. Our motivations as bourbon drinkers are many. There are some days when I'm in the mood for tasting, so I'll reach for a Glencarin glass and my notebook and take notes. There are some days when I'll reach for a tumbler. I'm sure if it were really bad day I'd reach for the bottle, but that day has never come. There are reasons why I don't knock back my whiskey. There are reasons why I don't drink mix my whiskey with coke or just buy a handle of vodka and make screwdrivers or what have you. The palatability is important. The flavor is important. If we didn't associate alcohol with bourbon though then alcohol wouldn't be a part of the experience at all.

I don't think that it's strictly chemical responses that motivate us to continue drinking, but it definitely plays a part. As far a dependency goes, there's a difference between having a bad day at work and needing a drink and having a bad day at work and wanting a drink. It's not the amount consumed: it's the motivations behind the consumption. Personally, I only drink on days that end in "Y," but if I don't have time to enjoy my drink I don't just drink for the sake of drinking.

CoMobourbon
07-08-2012, 22:08
We do lots of things for pleasure, but pleasure is seldom the only motivation.

Alcohol does make it the experience more enjoyable, but perhaps only because there's no alternative to alcoholic bourbon. We associate alcohol with the bourbon flavors.

The palatability is important. The flavor is important. If we didn't associate alcohol with bourbon though then alcohol wouldn't be a part of the experience at all.

I don't think that it's strictly chemical responses that motivate us to continue drinking, but it definitely plays a part. As far a dependency goes, there's a difference between having a bad day at work and needing a drink and having a bad day at work and wanting a drink. (bold added)

Again, I'm totally with you on the distinction between deliberate consumption and dependency. This is in no way a judgement on anyone's drinking ethics, much less on yours, which seem more than fine to me.

I am not, however, so much with you on the parts that I have bolded above. Interest in the alcohol response definitely comes first. And I didn't pay too much attention in my Psych 1000 class, but I am pretty sure that this is not a matter of opinion but rather one of patent fact. People are biologically/physiologically made to respond to alcohol; people are not biologically/physiologically made to respond to whiskey flavors. Any interest in whiskey flavors must therefore be acquired. Because the alcohol response precedes the whiskey flavor that it accompanies, alcohol seems likely to be the cause of this interest in flavor, and a lot of anecdotal evidence (people acquire the taste for specific flavors in explicitly flavorless vodka, for godsake) has confirmed this causal relationship for me. It is possible that people would acquire tastes for specific whiskey flavors without alcohol, but given that alcohol is present, alcohol is a powerful physiological stimulus, and so many people like the flavors of whiskey, I think that the proposition stretches coincidence way past its breaking point.

None of this is to say that flavor isn't important. Hell, I have invested a lot of attention and money in the idea that flavor matters. And I also don't mean that when you are reaching for whiskey the only thought in one's mind is "yes, time to get loaded" or even "yes, I love these flavors because I am always drunk when I taste them, and I like being drunk". But the alcohol response is primary and integral in a way that no interest in any flavor ever could be. And to just say that flavor and alcohol both play a part is at best not really saying much and at worst missing a huge point about how flavor interest is acquired. I mean, I love my whiskey flavors, but there is no godly way that I was born with an interest in the flavors of woody fermented grain water. Something that I was born with pushed me in that direction, and because it provided the initial chemical push, it continues to profoundly influence the experience every single time I pick up a glass.

*Really, though, it comes down what we assume about human nature; are we basically moral decision makers who operate in the realm of culturally defined options and who deal with animal needs on the side, or are we basically animals driven by physical/chemical needs with a bunch of moral and cultural dimensions added on top? I tend to think the latter. If you think the former (and it sounds like you might), then I have all the respect for you in the world, but it's going to be hard to come to an understanding here.

ethangsmith
07-09-2012, 06:54
The guys at work and most of my friends know I'm an American whiskey guy and do ask me for advice on occasion. I always try to give them simple, short advice to guide their decision.
Living in Pennsylvania, we have to buy all of our wine and spirits from the state-run "State Stores." I've found the vast majority of State Store employees have little to no knowledge about American whiskey. They point to Beam, Maker's Mark or Eagle Rare pretty much every time. Often times when I visit a local State Store to see what's new (HA HA, Like product selection ever changes......) I will see someone with a puzzled look just walking up and down the row staring at the bottles. I often ask them if they need help with a selection and what they're looking for (Cheap, expensive, strong, light, sweet, bitter, etc...). Since I've had pretty much every bottle that's on the shelf, I can usually fit them with something they will really enjoy. I've talked a few people out of Jack Daniel's in favor of Dickel 8 or even Evan Williams black label. I've had the opposite happen as well. I'll be looking over the selection and someone comes in and walks right up to the shelf and grabs a Rare Breed or something really nice. I can't help but say "Excellent choice!" I've gotten into some really great conversation that way.

KYPayne
07-09-2012, 07:54
(bold added)*Really, though, it comes down what we assume about human nature; are we basically moral decision makers who operate in the realm of culturally defined options and who deal with animal needs on the side, or are we basically animals driven by physical/chemical needs with a bunch of moral and cultural dimensions added on top? I tend to think the latter. If you think the former (and it sounds like you might), then I have all the respect for you in the world, but it's going to be hard to come to an understanding here.

I've always been a man of absolutes, to be honest. But when dealing with blacks and whites you run into many many shades of grey, so very little is absolutely defined, but you can always try. Looking for absolutes really causes some cognitive dissonance (that's the one thing I remember from PSYCH 101). I guess really to me, motivation for doing something is equally important to me as what is done. I'm not denying that alcohol is not a strong motivator in the consumption, but I don't believe that it is the sole motivation. Alcohol may be the strongest motivator, but there's so much more involved in our pursuits of momentary hedonism. What's important though, to quote Winston Churchill, is to take more out of alcohol than alcohol takes out of you.

CoMobourbon
07-09-2012, 08:27
I think we agree more than we think we do.


What's important though, to quote Winston Churchill, is to take more out of alcohol than alcohol takes out of you.

And true that.

CoMobourbon
07-09-2012, 09:11
Regarding the OP, I honestly think that price and money play a huge factor in how much it hurts to not say something. I don't care that everyone isn't an enthusiast who knows all the details and idiosyncrasies, but when I see somebody get had by average but overpriced brand, it really, really hurts.

For example, when I see some guy walk in (in stereotypical construction worker get-up, you know) and grab a <$15 1.75L Ten High, I say power to him. I have no problem not sticking my nose in that guy's decision. Even if it was one that I might not have made.

But when I see some guy walk in, pace methodically up and down the whiskey aisle seemingly appraising everything with knowing poise (you know, randomly picking up bottles, reading the backs of labels, etc.), and walk out with a Crown Royal Black, a Maker's Mark (which runs at $28-29 fifth for some reason), a Jameson, and a Johnny Walker Black, I want to cry. Really, it is all that I can do to not literally groan out loud. He has the money for whiskeys I would unequivocally consider better and the pretension to boot, but he clearly only knows brands he has seen on billboards. And all this time I have been glancing out the corner of my eye at the FRSB LE 2011 which I know costs about $80 more than a poor college student should drop on whiskey (and which that guy clearly should have gotten, d----t!).

That hurts. You know a sucker is born every minute, but it is hard to watch the birth when it happens right in front of your eyes. But for better or worse, I have never said anything.

KYPayne
07-09-2012, 12:41
I know exactly what you mean. I don't have a problem with the guy who says, "I love me some Jim Beam or some Jack. I really don't care what it tastes like though, I just wanna get drunk." That kind of guy isn't being phony. He's upfront and honest about why he drinks. Then you have the phony aficionado who thinks that Crown Royal Black is the best thing that's ever touched his lips, constantly describing it as smooth (in fact I knew a guy tell me "Crown Royal Black is like Patron, really smooth"). Those type of guys think they know something about whiskey, but they stick to popular brands and feign any sort of advice on other brands. From my experience those sort of guys prefer a lighter whiskey (like Crown) that goes down easy because they think its what quality tastes like or a fiery, hot whiskey because whiskey that induces a grimace is masculine.

My first experience with alcohol was 100 proof Smirnoff red. It was exciting because it was alcohol, and it was new. My first experience with whiskey was a few glasses of JWR. I thought it was good because I had no basis for comparison plus it was new. The problem with these suckers is that they stick to the bottom shelf brands and never experience anything greater. They wouldn't know what to look for in higher quality bourbon.

troyce
07-09-2012, 16:07
Vodka box. Got that.



Well, sure. What else is vodka good for?

mixed with Witch Hazel , it's an amazing aftershave lotion!

callmeox
07-09-2012, 18:13
mixed with Witch Hazel , it's an amazing aftershave lotion!

Witch Hazel?

25 bucks to the first GBS member who can produce a picture of the straight razor and strop from Jimmy's bathroom at home. :slappin:

darylld911
07-09-2012, 18:43
I've spent more than an hour in a liquor store chatting with one of the employees if they know their stuff. I've gotten some great recommendations from a guy who took the time to ask me what I liked, what I liked ABOUT it, what I didn't like, and what I didn't like about it. Based on that - he was able to pick out what he thought I would enjoy (and several he picked out were things I'd had before but didn't mention - and he was right most of the time!)

That makes it all the more disappointing to walk into a store and find that the employees can't tell me anything outside the price. I don't expect them all to be a subject matter expert on every type of liquor - that would be ridiculous. But the places that have one or two people who know their whiskey wind up getting more of my business because of it (even if they are a buck or two higher than the place down the road).

cowdery
07-11-2012, 10:13
Maybe I'm just cynical in my old age. I tend to think piping up and offering suggestions or information in a store or bar comes under the heading of 'no good deed goes unpunished.' Or maybe it's a big city thing, you just stay out of other people's business. Can't say I've never done it, but as time goes on I'm less and less likely to.

Restaurant man
07-11-2012, 22:23
Yep, I'm minding my own business if I'm a patron or a bystander unless the people seem really interested in learning. Even then my answers would be short and closed looped.

Trey Manthey
07-12-2012, 07:45
I was recently in a store browsing and picked up a bottle I knew I was going to pass on (Henry McKenna SB BIB, FWIW), but I wanted to read the label and study the packaging. The guy next to me watched me and offered his opinion on the whiskey, saying it was good.

At first I was thinking, "Look buddy, stand aside. I know what I'm doing." But I decided to be polite and we ended up having a very nice conversation about all sorts of topics (mostly whiskey related). Turned out he is a bartender at one of the best whiskey bars here in NOLA, The Bourbon House.

Then I meandered over to the Scotch section and starting perusing. These two gorgeous woman walked up briskly and start picking up bottles and putting them down like they were confused. I overheard one of them ask out loud, "What's the difference between Scotch and whiskey?" I held my tongue, not wanting to be a dork. Instead, I decided to offer my opinion on a particular Highland malt she picked up. She looked at my like I was crazy, put the bottle down, and walked off wordlessly.

Two polar opposite experiences within minutes. I think it just depends on the personality of the people involved. In the latter case, I misjudged, but I'm not discouraged. People need to be informed!

soonami
07-12-2012, 09:34
I was recently in a store browsing and picked up a bottle I knew I was going to pass on (Henry McKenna SB BIB, FWIW), but I wanted to read the label and study the packaging. The guy next to me watched me and offered his opinion on the whiskey, saying it was good.

At first I was thinking, "Look buddy, stand aside. I know what I'm doing." But I decided to be polite and we ended up having a very nice conversation about all sorts of topics (mostly whiskey related). Turned out he is a bartender at one of the best whiskey bars here in NOLA, The Bourbon House.

Then I meandered over to the Scotch section and starting perusing. These two gorgeous woman walked up briskly and start picking up bottles and putting them down like they were confused. I overheard one of them ask out loud, "What's the difference between Scotch and whiskey?" I held my tongue, not wanting to be a dork. Instead, I decided to offer my opinion on a particular Highland malt she picked up. She looked at my like I was crazy, put the bottle down, and walked off wordlessly.

Two polar opposite experiences within minutes. I think it just depends on the personality of the people involved. In the latter case, I misjudged, but I'm not discouraged. People need to be informed!
Bah! You only piped up because the woman were attractive. A couple, 50 year old, sweaty dudes looking at Scotch wouldn't have gotten your attention.

Truth be told, I'd probably do the same :grin:

LikeItWasSodaPop
07-12-2012, 10:17
Whether or not I engage with others about various whiskey related topics has a lot to do with my sense of the interpersonal dynamics at play.

A couple months ago, I was at the Binny's south loop store. Joe had just put out some ORVW 10/107. A group of early 20somethings were lingering in the bourbon aisle and looked on with a combination of confusion and awe as I noticed the bottles and then calmly fetched a basket and placed a good 7 or so of the bottles in it. As I was so doing, the guys looked at each other ... one had an ORVW in his hand, and the others seemed to be realizing: oh, that's something special.

I noticed a certain glint in their eyes and took some time to talk to them about bourbon. I gave high praise to this forum -- they were lurkers. I also told them about Joe and encouraged them to talk to him ... and lo and behold, who suddenly appeared? Hopefully some good came of that introduction!

I often find myself having good conversations in the whiskey aisles of various Binny'ses. More recently, I saw a gentleman hovering skeptically in front of a Heaven Hill BIB bottle. We ended up chatting, and it became clear that he knew of the HH BIB 6 year from this forum, and was trying to figure out if this particular bottle was it. It wasn't. He was a New Yorker searching for bottles he couldn't get back home. He ended up with VOB BIB and maybe Weller 12. He and his daughter reads these forums and he seemed genuinely pleased to meet someone who participates. Again, a lurker, as best as I could tell, but someone who clearly was starting to dig a bit deeper.

Good can come from these conversations; the key is encouragement / fraternity -- letting people know that there is a community out there ... people who care and people who want to foster their developing interest, if they're open to learning more. To me, the difficulty in these interactions is in quickly assessing whether that person staring at that bottle is interested in further discussion or not.

On the other hand, I now have a strict rule against correcting bartenders in any way. Not to say that I don't break that rule often, but when I do, and things go awry, I at least know why it happened. Bartenders are performers. Their job is to perform the role of a person who knows stuff about booze. And, increasingly, as the spirits world gets more complex and diverse, and consumers get more savvy, it's fairly frequent that I know more than the bartender, at least when it comes to bourbon. I'm sure most of us have the same experience most of the time.

Bartenders do not like this because it makes them look bad. I tend to think, hey, if you don't know your s$%@, and this makes you look bad, that's on you. But I also know that this is an arrogant opinion and demonstrating my arrogance is not all that conducive for a fun night out. So the rule is, as I've said, to shut the f!$% up and let the bartender spew whatever nonsense he/she wants. Because if I point out that Noah's Mill is not 15 y/o as is stated on like 2 dozen lists in Chicago (here's looking at you Premise/In Fine Spirits), the bartender is just going to act like a petulant little prick, because (a) he doesn't know that Noah's Mill hasn't been a 15 y/o in, like, forever, and (b) his menu is wrong / false / deceptive.

As far as I can tell, nobody likes being called stupid and a liar at the same time (even if it's true). And, of course, half of the petulant attitude springs from a sense of "who gives a s*&% if it's really a 15 y/o or just a '15' y/o ... we just needed something to write so people will feel good about paying the preposterous prices we're charging."

Same goes for the details of who produced what and where. I was in Toronto last week and found some random non-distiller producer bottle or maybe some HH brand not available in the states. It was like Jackelope Dinkleberry Bourbon or something and produced, of course, at Jackelope Dinkleberry Distillery. And since this was a nice bar, and since the bartender was, truly, an amazing mixologist (Toronto seriously kicks tail, cocktail-wise), I wanted to speculate as to where this Dinkleberry may have come from -- probably HH, based on the taste of it, but maybe she knew something I didn't. This is often a fun source of conversation with bartenders, especially here in Chicago where many bartenders truly know their s@&^ when it comes to whisk(e)y (here's looking at you, Mike Ryan at Sable). But she was adamant: the Jackelope Dinkleberry Distillery exists, and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot! This was the sole instance of non-politeness exhibited by a Canadian on my trip.

So I guess I'm still, generally, pro-talking in these situations. I guess maybe the important distinction to make is between lack of knowledge and willful ignorance / lack of curiosity. Maybe these two things mean the same thing, but I find that there are people who are uninformed or misinformed but want to know more and people who simply do not understand that knowledge takes hard work. I'm sometimes surprised by those who fit into the latter category because so many of them seem like people who should want to know better. In the end, I think I've done more good than harm when it comes to my bourbon blathering.

The key is remaining positive and non-condescending. Which, I'll admit, is much easier said than done!

jcg9779
07-12-2012, 12:08
There have been a couple of times that I've offered advice when someone looks confused, and both times they have taken my recommendation (one was EWSB 2000 and the other was OWA over Maker's...I hope they enjoyed it them!).

The only other time I've really spoken up was when a guy and his girlfriend were talking to the spirits manager about Scotch (and I'm not a Scotch drinker). The guy was looking for a nice gift for his boss, and his boss' usual drink was Glenlivet. The manager seemed to know what he was talking about and was offering some good recommendations, but none of them were Speysiders. Since the younger guy didn't know if his boss liked any other kind of Scotch, I politely stepped in and suggested that he stay with a similar profile rather than get something that his boss might not like. The spirits manager said that was a good point and directed them to some other selections (Speyside), but I didn't stick around to see what they did with my unsolicited advice.

JPBoston
07-12-2012, 12:13
Anytime I'm in a restaurant with a bar, and I ask the waitress what they have for bourbon... I get a confused look and a "I'll have to check". More often then not, its some bottom shelf well bourbon and something like Wild Turkey and Maker's Mark... and of course, she wouldn't know to ask if it's WT 81 or 101... let alone Rare Breed or whatever.

This almost always goes for bartenders themselves... "Bourbon? Uhhh... we have Jack Daniels, I know that....". This ignorance is only underlined by the fact that when I go look at the bar for myself, the bourbon bottles are mixed in with Canadian/Scotch/Irish/etc. They don't even TRY!!!

I always hide my annoyance... as I don't want my drinks spat in... but WTH is going on? How do so many restaurants/bars go without this simple knowledge? Why no whiskey lists if you don't want to train your staff? I mean, why wouldn't you print a list of all your alcohol you carry? (at least the 'straight' spirits, I can understand not keeping track of every special flavor-infused vodka that comes out.) Just a simple goddamn printout would suffice.

Sorry for venting... just frustrating. :)

jcg9779
07-12-2012, 12:16
I can understand not keeping track of every special flavor-infused vodka that comes out.

Troyce is going to be very mad at you for this statement.

KYPayne
07-12-2012, 21:01
A few weeks ago I went up to Kentucky to visit a buddy of mine. He wanted to rent a boat, so we jumped across the river to Evansville, IN, and rented a Pontoon (a 10 seater was all they had. Needless to say we had a lot of room). Anyway, the boat rental joint had a tiki bar that was set out on the river. They had your basic beer selections plus several bottles of rum and whiskey and vodka. They a piece of paper taped to a bottle of Laphroaig 10, which sat in the window, that said "This is very expensive Scotch. $95 a bottle." I'm sure none of the clientele would order scotch, let along Laphroaig by name. They may have fooled some people though. Personally, I love Laphroaig and find it easily drinkable, but I wouldn't order it at a tiki bar on the Ohio.

On another note, my buddy and I had to sign a lot of release forms. We got to the line about no drinking while operating the boat. The owner said, "I don't care if you have some beer, just be responsible about it." My buddy is a teetotaler, so it didn't matter regardless, but still...

Restaurant man
07-12-2012, 21:50
Your point about bartenders is really unfortunate as it is true. I would hope that in "nicer" places you would encounter a more knowledgable barkeep but I know from my own experience tat it is still a crapshoot. I will say that a real "expert" on any subject (like troyce on flavored vodka) will surely best 99% of bartenders who may have a broad selection of knowledge over a wide array of products rendering them (jack of all trades master of none). Although I disdain titles like "bar chef" or "mixologist" I do appreciate the enthusiasm for their craft. I just have no respect for a salesman who stands in front of all his product all day and never wonders what makes all those bottles so different

JPBoston
07-13-2012, 00:23
Your point about bartenders is really unfortunate as it is true. I would hope that in "nicer" places you would encounter a more knowledgable barkeep but I know from my own experience tat it is still a crapshoot. I will say that a real "expert" on any subject (like troyce on flavored vodka) will surely best 99% of bartenders who may have a broad selection of knowledge over a wide array of products rendering them (jack of all trades master of none). Although I disdain titles like "bar chef" or "mixologist" I do appreciate the enthusiasm for their craft. I just have no respect for a salesman who stands in front of all his product all day and never wonders what makes all those bottles so different

Fully agreed --- your last statement especially rang true with me. I don't how that could happen.... just simple human curiosity coupled with not wanting to look like a fool would take care of that problem, one would imagine. But I guess the lesson is; never underestimate the laziness of our fellow human beings.

troyce
07-13-2012, 09:47
Troyce is going to be very mad at you for this statement.

No,No,No just appreciative that the magnitude of the task is recognized.

callmeox
07-13-2012, 10:56
I think the simple answer to the ignorant bartender question is that most are beertenders and not actual bartenders.

SMOWK
07-14-2012, 11:41
If you're going to blame someone blame the management for hiring a bartender that doesn't know what they're doing.

JPBoston
07-15-2012, 12:08
If you're going to blame someone blame the management for hiring a bartender that doesn't know what they're doing.

Well, I'll go one further... and say blame management for not training them along the way as well. Seems like a pretty simple 'learn on the job' kind of assignment to me.

And not to beat a dead horse, but if they don't want to train the employees, then a simple printed list of what spirits they carry would be a swell addition instead.

OscarV
07-15-2012, 12:53
I think the simple answer to the ignorant bartender question is that most are beertenders and not actual bartenders.


If you're going to blame someone blame the management for hiring a bartender that doesn't know what they're doing.


Well, I'll go one further... and say blame management for not training them along the way as well. Seems like a pretty simple 'learn on the job' kind of assignment to me.

And not to beat a dead horse, but if they don't want to train the employees, then a simple printed list of what spirits they carry would be a swell addition instead.

Yes it is very odd when everyone is tumputing the return of classic cocktails you still can't get a cocktail made right.
I'll add to Scott's assesment, not only should they be called beertenders but also fruit-flavored-vodka-tenders.
Most off these people think mixing up a Red Bull and Jagermister is a unique and skillfull thing to do.