The Craft Cocktail Cockblock

I’ve been forming a hypothesis of craft cocktail bars lately based on years of scientific observation and intense in-the-field research. Quite simply, pioneering craft cocktail bars are a shitty place to meet single women.

Craft cocktail bars are founded on the traditions of the bar craft from the 1800′s and up through to the Prohibition era. After Prohibition ended bars evolved in a very different evolutionary path that culminated in the abomination that was the Screwdriver in the 1970′s, a time when a guy could successfully invite a lovely lady into his van with shag carpeted walls. Thankfully, for everyone, that phase didn’t last and bartenders wondered if there was something better they were missing. Thankfully, too, women asked the same question about men.

The lost art that bartenders found came from what would become the craft’s bible, a book written by Jerry Thomas back in the 1800′s that had elegantly sophisticated, yet simple, spirit-forward cocktails made from fresh ingredients. Things started to get a whole lot better. We now had a branch in the evolutionary tree of the bar craft. The majority of bars, bartenders and the liquor industry rolled forward as they had been and evolved the pathetically boring Screwdriver into the far more sophisticated Vodka and Cranberry. However, for the small elite that tread the craft cocktail path back through history, cocktails started to get interesting and involve things like a spirit that is made by monks that take a vow of silence and syrups derived from an infusion with exotic herbs, fruits and vegetables. Things got better, but also with great flare.

Still, the general populous that went to a bar were more than happy to feel as if they were at the height of the cocktail craft by ordering a Cosmo or Lemon Drop because they saw it on TV. That was all the knowledge that was needed. Marketing efforts flourished. The bartender was a middleman between the patron and the cocktail. They were an interruption and their skill was based on how quickly they could get out of the way of the patron not having a cocktail in front of them. But a geeky few started to seek out the practitioners of the lost history and art, and asked their, now trusted, bartender what they should try. The bartender in the craft cocktail bar is an archeologist and scholar that needed to be approached and engaged, not caught and released.

In all the years I’ve been going to dive bars, corporate chain bars, tiki bars and craft cocktail bars I am continually faced with a simple equation: the amount of flirting is inversely proportional to the quality of the cocktail craft. That is to say, the finer the craft of the fluids flowing behind the bar, the less the fluids flow in front of the bar.

I’ve asked a number of friends who have worked in both standard/dive bars as well as craft cocktail bars and they have all confirmed that there is definitely a very different dynamic at play.  But why do people not go to craft cocktail bars to party it up and get lucky? All cocktails get you equally drunk. It’s not about being looser from cheaper booze. It’s also not as much about cost. The price difference really isn’t that different. I’ve gone to a shitty average bar and had a Gin and Tonic for $9. I can get a cheaper Gin and Tonic at any craft cocktail bar, or one at the same price but with better Gin and grapefruit bitters. At $10 to $14 for the average craft cocktail, you are in the same range as most standard bars’ cocktail list.

There are many variables at play and it’s not as simple as just the quality of the cocktail itself. Large metropolitan areas with a high density of craft cocktail bars tend to have a more dynamic interaction approaching that of your average meat market dive bar. There is a greater sense of “going out.” But, that too has an influence of cocktail uniqueness and what an area would deem the “standard.” As the “standard” shifts towards craft cocktails, the flirting in front of the bar shifts back into the norm. Geeks who have a side of obsessive compulsive behavior tend to flock around the craft cocktail scene as well, feeding on the arcane knowledge like a moth to a flame. But, unlike a classic “nerd” that is socially awkward, geeks are quite opinionated and engaging so it’s not like there aren’t interesting people at craft cocktail bars… quite the opposite. However, it’s that “uniqueness” of the cocktail experience that directly effects the environment. When attention is focused on the bartender and cocktail, focus is drawn away from the environment and the others around.

I’m not saying I never talk to people and don’t interact at a craft cocktail bar. Far from it. The vast majority of my social life consists of the friends I have met around a cocktail. We talk about the cocktails and all the usual things heavily drinking friends discuss… but meeting a single woman who is there to engage a single man is rare. Most of the women I meet at a bar are there with their boyfriend or husband. Craft cocktail bars are a wonderful place for date night.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my prowess with the ladies is wanting, but I’m not speaking like Nietzsche, saying all of life is shit because his life was shit. I know I’m not a lady killer, so I look to others. I sit and observe those around me, and I rarely see people flirting or swapping phone numbers. It happens. Just not very often. Not nearly as often as in other bars. It’s a very different dynamic.

Could it be that less women are found to be at craft cocktail bars?

I’m not convinced that craft cocktails are a sexist mechanism that keep women away. I haven’t seen enough to suggest that women are less likely to go to craft cocktail bars and therefor the dynamic is unbalanced by sheer statistics. Though, there does seem to be a certain level of geekiness needed that notices the difference in a craft cocktail and an interest to keep searching them out… and more men are generally more geeky like that with booze, but I don’t think the numbers are that skewed. I talk to women sitting next to me all the time… and their dates. It’s not that they aren’t lacking. Sure, the saloon of the 1800′s didn’t allow women, and it wasn’t until the 1920′s when the liberation of women finally entered the bars and made “women going to bars” socially acceptable. To be fair, in general though, bars are still a male dominated environment where the attitudes are slightly different. I’m sure I’ll get many women rolling their eyes by saying that, but there has been a long history of the bar being effectively the living room and center of the working man’s life. Immigrants would get their mail at their local saloon, they might learn English, find a job, and politicians would focus on the patrons of a bar (some even owning bars) to gain votes. Governments were built and overthrown by men in bars. It has been a man’s domain for a very long time throughout history, while women have really only come into the bar for the last hundred years. That might sound like a long enough time to wipe away the sexism, but not when you look at the deep underlying stereotypes that still permeate our society. Having said all that, I’m still not sure the difference is as simple as more women drink wine and flavored martinis and don’t tend to be in craft cocktail bars. When it is Wednesday, and it’s half off the price of wine, the bar does fill up with more women than you usually find there the other days of the week. I won’t deny that. But, they are engaging in a different product then that of a craft cocktail… so I don’t think using that as an example is completely valid. Many women are there for cocktails. I see Lemon Drops still being made all the time, but the women are engaging the cocktail as much as the men. However, what the women are engaging in mostly is what they consider “standard” drinking and are not engaged in the craft of their drink, nor the history of its preparation. I see less enthusiasm to try something different.

The simple fact of the matter is unique and interesting is not trivial or standardized. When the human mind is engaged in interesting things, it is focused. The brain creates new neural pathways. When you are not engaged, the brain uses the same neural pathways and thoughts and memories blend together with the other unimportant things your mind has experienced and forgotten about. If you are engaged behind the bar it seems people are less energetic to engage in front of the bar. When people aren’t engaged at the bar, they find other things to be engaged by.

It’s an interesting balance. A craft cocktail bar is already juggling the cost of the extra care taken in fresh ingredients, finer spirits and longer times it takes to make a given cocktail. As a business they are striving to innovate and release new and interesting cocktails. In striving to be unique, they are keeping attention directed at the bar rather than creating an environment that is ignored. Seems like good business sense. However, the other side to that is since the craft is maintaining focus, the pedestal that people try to put themselves onto as they attempt to gain the attention of others around is already being used by the bartender performing subtle flare for the cocktail they are creating. The alpha male in the room is the cocktail.

When entering a craft cocktail bar, there is an unspoken agreement between the bar and the patron, “we do things differently than the cocktails you normally ignore. Let us show you what we can do. You will not ignore our cocktails…”

It’s like walking into church. You don’t focus on yourself or the others there. You have made an unspoken agreement that your attention shall be placed elsewhere while you are there. There is a certain amount of respect that you now hold for where you are. The same thing happens during fine dining. There is a focus and respect paid to the food and the chef. That focuses conversations into discussions centered around the food and attention to the place as an experience not to be ignored. It’s like having a ray of sunshine hit your body on a cloudy day and wanting to take a moment to sense the wonder of the moment. You close your eyes, take a breath and wrap yourself into the moment. It’s for that reason that I think singles stay away from craft cocktail bars. They are more a treat and a special occasion. Again, they are seen as a different experience because what is being experienced, the focus, is elsewhere.

As I said, when most of the bars in a city step up their craft, that becomes the expected, the standard, and is now able to be ignored because it’s not new and different. The dynamic of attention is shifted back to the front of the bar instead of behind it. A new set of fluids can be focused on and things start to look like a dive bar.

I talk to people about cocktails because I want every bar to be a craft cocktail bar. I want everyone to demand this level of quality and passion for the craft. But it is fascinating to me to see such a difference in environment. I really wonder if its possible for craft cocktails to become the norm.

The environment of a craft cocktail bar may always be just a little more sacred and reserved unless the pedestals are removed. The sacred needs to be removed. But that will bring up a whole other series of questions. Is a craft cocktail bar interesting if it doesn’t have a pedestal to place it’s cocktails upon? The answer is, of course, yes. It’s not about being different… it’s about being good. It’s about the balance inside the cocktail glass. It’s about bringing that balance from within back out into the rest of the bar craft landscape.

Craft cocktail bars are still trying to find their place in the modern bar scene. I hope they become the standard for all bars. It’s a tough business with the general populous not knowing that cocktails could be interesting. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for it to be interesting. There’s much learning still needing to be done. There’s so much profit to be made by people not being focused on the quality and craft. The craft cocktail bar is an art form bringing attention back. But interestingly, that art also makes it a little more alienating from the general populous it’s trying to infect. Right now, to grab attention and focus, they are going through their own shag carpeted van phase, trying to lure people’s attention to how cool things can be. However, it creates a dynamic in front of the bar that leaves it a little dry. So to speak.

Hopefully time will pass and they will get beyond the need for the attention grabbing extremes and simply become the standard bar experience.

Hopefully, they will stop cockblocking me with their awesome.

 

Grand Unified Theory

Has it really been two and a half years since I last placed the metaphoric pen to paper?

O.o

What a horrifying realization. I recently found myself in a new establishment and the bartender asked if I had tended bar as well, having noted a tad more cocktail and spirit knowledge than the average patron. “Ha, no… not exactly… I’m a cocktail enthusiast. I have made cocktails for people and been involved in cocktail contests, so sort of, but mostly I just drink heavily and write about them. I have a cocktail blog.”

As soon as I said “blog” and “write” a chilling horror crept through my veins like I had just been Iced by frat boys. Acid reflux struck and my mouth felt like a Sunday morning in Las Vegas. I hadn’t written in my blog for quite some time. How long has it been? A year or so? Must be. Couldn’t be longer than that. I handed out my boozy “business card” and everyone laughed at my tag line, “No less than 20%, you fucking savage,” and the night continued in the same fashion as it tends to most nights.

But there was a lingering unease that remained within me. Why haven’t I written in so long?

When I first decided to write about cocktails, it wasn’t to become a “blogger”… good heavens, no! Those were people who had things to say… a background in journalism and a communications major… someone who schmoozes with the social elite and who people turn to daily on their iPad as they sip their morning coffee. These are surfers of the culture wave. No, my blog and writing has always been far more personal and academic than practical. The real reason I started to write was to simply practice the art of writing and in the hopes of one day publishing a book about that journey I’ve taken from being an ignorant college drinker to a suave and sophisticated ignorant craft cocktail drinker. It’s a journey all should take, but few truly do, and a story worth telling. But in order to do so I needed to hone my craft. Thus, a couple years ago I decided to start writing about my daily journeys through the spirited jungle I find myself, to then one day compose the opus that is that life’s adventure.

As all great adventures go, however, I ran into a bit of a detour in my heroic cocktail plans. Since I last wrote, I resolved a rather long divorce process, my mother passed away from cancer, I skirted foreclosure and short-sold my house of twelve years and my pre-teen son moved across the state. Add to that the daily demands of an increasingly more challenging career and it’s no wonder why the enjoyment and reflection upon a chalice of enchantment turned into a need to guzzle a potion of escapism instead.

The true reason I haven’t written is because I wasn’t reflecting upon what I was doing or why I was doing it. I was simply finding the time and energy to get through the day and engaging in spirits in the much feared and ill fated methods that border alcoholism. My grounded inner peace was ripped from my protected grasp and dangling three feet in front, hanging from a stick, leading me forward like the ass that I was. Life had been a single dimension of daily action with little regard to the deeper dimensions of purpose and thought that should exist in one’s life.

There was no place for writing.

I was, sadly, like a mass market consumer of vodka. Driven to consume the water of life, not from passion or interest, but from giving one’s choices up to commerce. Vodka drinkers (yes, I’m religiously opposed to vodka and the people who drink it) prize a fluid that barely has individuality which fades aware among other companions found within the vessel. Symbolic, I say. Vodka is the cheapest spirit to produce, yet have some of the largest marketing budgets to entice consumers to believe that one brand of medical grade ethanol in distilled water is better than another brand of medical grade ethanol in distilled water. Vodka possesses a price that is equivalent to spirits that have been aging for ten to twenty years in exotic locations throughout the world, despite having been farted out of a still moments before. My daily life was stripping away my drive to contemplate, question, evaluate and reflect. The marketing engine that keeps drinkers continuously consuming an empty and unreflective water of life, in my case, was my daily routine. Sure, I was drinking in the finest cocktail bars in southern California these last two years, but I barely remembered, or cared, what they actually were… only that they had to be “unique” and not like those “others” that everyone else drank. I had fallen prey to the same shallow, two-dimensional, nature that I loathe within vodka drinkers. My two-dimensions where on a different axis, but the shapes were congruent. I consumed mindlessly and as a result in great volume, but without purpose or interest.

However… I have begun to find my center again. As I was plowing through the unrelenting fields like a parched ox, I pulled myself away from the increasingly unhealthy mindlessness and began to reflect again. A glimmer of something shiny caught my attention.

It came from Math.

I’m not talking about the simple fact that all this obsessive cocktail drinking was crippling my bank account and I was sliding from paycheck to paycheck with creditors after me (though that did help gather my attention)… no, not that kind of Math… I’m talking the raw geeky Math that involves the basic number theory Euclid described eons ago in the only other book that has been in continuous print longer than the Bible. In much the same way that I first had my interest peaked about Tiki and then craft cocktails, I started to learn about the lost history and art of Math. Well, not exactly “lost”… more like, “not really taught well.” I started watching Math related YouTube channels like Numberphile, Singing Banana and Dr. James Tanton. I began to obsess about prime numbers and the foundations of concepts that we were all taught in school, but almost certainly glazed over and never really taught their history or why they truly exist in the form they do. For example, we are all taught that “two negatives make a positive” and that if you multiply a negative number by another negative number that the resulting number is positive. But did you ever know why? Honestly?

Have you ever wondered why that’s the case? Probably not. I was happy memorizing two negatives make a positive. It makes absolutely no sense in any practical way, though, if you really think about it.

Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division were devised, literally, with sticks on a beach. Addition is the act of putting more things together. Multiplication is a fancy way of grouping those “more things” into similar piles. I have 7 sticks. I add 7 sticks. I add 7 more sticks. I have done that 3 times and have 3 groups of 7 sticks now. When you multiple two positive numbers the result is positive because all you are doing is adding more things… groups of things. Easy enough.

If we had 3 groups of 7… let’s say one of the numbers is negative. What is a negative group? That doesn’t really make sense. But you can imagine a negative thing… or an anti-thing. What I mean is, if a pile of sand is positive thing on a beach, then a negative pile of sand is a hole dug into the sand. By adding a hole in the sand you are adding a negative pile of sand. You can scrape a pile of sand into the hole and you are left with one less pile of sand than what you had before. If you had 5 piles of sand and added 1 hole of sand, then if you push sand into the hole you will be left with 4 piles of sand. Ok, that makes sense.  Adding a negative thing is the same as taking that thing away. Multiplication of a positive number and a negative number still makes complete sense. What you have is groups of “taking away” things… groups of holes. Positive times a negative isn’t so much negative groups of things, but more like groups of anti-things. Still simple to understand.

Now, negative 3 groups of 7 holes in the beach. Sounds like a frat party. Nope… still no good. The idea of a negative group is still meaningless to grasp.  So, let’s go about this a different way…

What if we don’t scrape the pile of sand into a hole when that hole is created? What if we just have a hole next to the pile of sand? 5 piles of sand and 1 hole in the sand is 4 piles of sand… but 5 piles of sand and 1 hole is just that until we decide to scoop the sand into the hole. What we have is a quantity that is made up of two things… positive and negative. And that means that any number is a combination of positive and negative things.

4 = (5 + -1)
4 = (6 + -2)
4 = (7 + -3)  or even 4 = (4 + -0)

However, that combination can’t just be anything… it has to be a combination that when all the holes are filled you know that you’ll be left with the number of piles you started with, 4 in the above example. Basically, you start with your number of piles of sand and then add any number of other piles of sand, but you then add the same number of holes. This ensures it’ll be the same.

4 = (4 + 1 + -1)
4 = (4 + 2 + -2)
4 = (4 + 3 + -3)  or even 4 = (4 + 0 + -0)

Now, I said we had 3 groups of 7. But let’s rewrite that as piles of sand and holes.

3 = (3 + 2 + -2) or (5 + -2)
7 = (7 + 3 + -3) or (10 + -3)

We know this is all the same. So…

3 x 7 = 21 or
(3 + 2 + -2) x (7 + 3 + -2) = 21 or
(5 + -2) x (10 + -3) = 21

How the hell does that represent piles of sand and holes in a beach?! What you are doing is effectively creating a rectangle of 21 piles of sand, sorted 3 by 7.  However, in our case, you can think of it as extending that column of 3 by another 2 colums of sand piles but then also adding on a section of 2 columns of holes on the other side. The 7 rows adds on another 3 rows of sand piles, but then also adds a -3 to the other side, or 3 rows of holes. Remember, we are multiplying two numbers… which means that no matter how we write those numbers, ultimately we are dealing with a rectangle… a grid of spaces that either need to be sand holes or sand piles. Which means, the whole thing needs to be a prefect rectangle and not fiddly bits here and there. You add to one direction, then add to the other across the entire length of the rectangle of sand. There will be a 5 by 10 group of piles of sand now, a 2 by 10 group of holes in the sand, another 3 by 5 group of holes… and then our mystery section which we don’t know how to picture because we aren’t sure what a negative group of holes means. What we do know is that it takes up a space that is 2 by 3, though, so it’ll be 6 things whatever it is. What we are doing is the old method that you might be better familiar with from Algebra…

(A + B)(C + D) = AC + AD + BC + BD

or as your teacher might have said about distributive multiplication, “Left, Outside, Inside, Right,” or a similar phrase you memorized. Now, be honest, if you were taught Math on a beach by digging holes and making sand castles, Algebra would have been so much more fun and easier to grasp, right?! What we are left with is basically the following if we now scoop the sand into the holes… (if you are like my ex-wife and go cross-eyed with equations, just count the blue squares above and subtract the red squares… what do you have left?)

(5 + -2) x (10 + -3) = 21 or
50 + -15 + -20 + (-2 x -3) = 21 or
50 + -35 + (odd stuff) = 21

We have 50 piles of sand, 35 holes in the sand and an odd area which should add up all together to 21 piles of sand when we are done… so if we scoop the sand into the holes…

15 + (odd stuff) = 21

So… after scooping the sand piles into the holes we have 15 piles and ended up scooping 6 piles of sand of our original 21. Crap. We needed that 21 or the universe will destroy itself in a puff of logic. There’s only one way to make 15 piles of sand into 21 and that’s by adding back 6 piles of sand… and we have a 2 by 3 area of oddity we still need to deal with. By the same magic that you experience at a bar when your glass is empty and you then empty your wallet to find a full cocktail in front of you, those two negatives do indeed make a positive. That odd area that we don’t know how to visualize must be 6 piles of sand. So, “negative groups of holes of sand” is the same as adding piles of sand. Interesting.

The next time you are lounging with your friends on a beach, with a cocktail in hand, you can now proudly say, “Hey, I can prove that multiplying two negative numbers must make a positive… check this shit out…”

Now, being a huge geek (if you haven’t noticed yet), I tripped out when I realized this. To be fair, the graph and sand thing was my idea to visualize the simplicity of what was going on… there was no video of a guy on a beach (though there should be… I might need to do beach bum Maths videos). But the whole idea that the very foundation of Math was sort of told to us, but never really explained or fully understood shocked my world. Just the act of what I did above… explaining it from simple beliefs about what numbers are and what adding is… was a novel concept. It made me question everything and want to delve into the heart of Math, starting with the very basics and building back up into the Maths I did as a Physics major in college… rebuild my foundation and world. I wanted to delve into it in the same way as I had been delving into the lost art of cocktails, breaking through the bullshit marketing of brands and going back to the atomic components of distillation, aging, mixology history and evolution.

That’s when it all hit me and just how dysfunctional I had become in the last couple years. The passion, exploration, questioning, delving, enthusiasm for cocktails, math, work, life in general, etc., had been lost… but I had found that spark again. And I woke from a rather long and hazy dream with a new focus and passion. Cocktail demons were calmed and reinvigorated. New things are exciting. Work is glorious.

And, thus, I am driven to write again.

So, here we are. I am writing… again.

For those of you who are still reading this, I appreciate your patience. A cocktail blogger who talks about skirting the edge of alcoholism, then goes on a tangent about a subject of Algebra that everyone learned in elementary school is a bit of an odd journey indeed. Don’t worry, I have a cocktail recipe coming and tie it all together. ;)

However, as I said, I’m less a cocktail blogger and more a cocktail academic, documenting Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey as lived through my world, a geek who is armed with a cocktail glass, a pad of graph paper and a very demented mind. The journey I am taking carries me through an odd combination of OCD obsessive behaviors focused on cocktails, the Maths, programming, science and art. It’s the combination of those two worlds of Art and Science, the unification of those aspects, that drives me in everything I do. Just as a single number exists as an infinite possibility as positive and negative numbers, it is only our focus and use of that number that settles the infinite chaos into finite, and so too it is the exploration of the world of cocktails, science and art that settle my infinite. Quantum Mechanics and theoretical Physics tell of a universe of probability and simultaneous quantum state that collapses into reality upon use and examination. There is something universal about reflection, observation and being, be it in the world around us or simply in our minds.

The world of cocktails is a wide ocean with massive tidal forces and long and rich history of travelers upon it. The destinations are as beautiful and exotic as the white sandy beaches in the tropics, and as polluted and vile as the sewage dumps and canals leading from metropolitan coastal cities. Every topic of interest (I know, how could there be anything other than cocktails?! But there are things like crocheting or gardening) exists in this same incredible manner of whole worlds unto themselves. Sometimes it’s all so overwhelming and we get lost within. We simplify. We learn just enough to find a safe place then stay just there. But, when it comes to passion and unifying seemingly unrelated aspects of one’s life, it’s at that moment that we look in a new way and understand with a new perspective. When we live interdisciplinary lives the individual topics thrive with new breath and life.

It’s then that we sometimes truly understand that two negatives can equal a positive or that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts… and why.

When I tweeted this morning that I was in fact writing again, the first response I received was from an old friend:

It’s like the universe hugged me. Oh… speaking of unity in one’s life…

 

The Unity Cocktail

I was asked if I could create a cocktail for a wedding. Brenda and Glen were going to have a wonderfully theatrical Halloween wedding and wished to make the sharing of a cocktail part of the ceremony. I toiled in my laboratory and created a number of experimental libations. I sent them three that I felt were really nice. I thought we could start there and I could alter the flavor profiles to fit their individual preferences… after all, this was their wedding and I wanted to have a portion of their spirit within the cocktail. However, I secretly hoped they would choose one specifically. I had created this cocktail in a holistic manner that symbolized the act of becoming joined. It was two cocktails with two separate flavor profiles and natures, one lighter and citrusy and another spicier and darker. One more feminine and the other more masculine… yin and yang, spring and autumn, etc. Each was highly enjoyable on their own and held themselves up as a fine tiki inspired rum based cocktail. They existed wonderfully as themselves, but missed something deep down. However, when the two were poured together into a single vessel and unified into one, then the cocktail was complete and the single whole was truly more than the sum of its parts. The Unity Cocktail:

Bride:

3/4 oz grapefruit juice
3/4 oz Sirop JM
1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse
1/2 oz Creole Shrubb

Groom:

1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz honey syrup
1 oz Zaya
1/2 oz El Dorado 12 yr

It was one of the most enjoyable cocktails I have created. The simplicity of the ingredients lends itself to be easily prepared and enjoyed, but the symbolism of the act of drinking it is truly beautiful. It is a wonderful reminder that there are those moments in life when greatness is not solitary but a joint venture. My infamous fez monger, Jason, of Fez-o-Rama officiated the wedding.

Marriage isn’t something people should just simply go through because that’s what you do when you’re an adult and in a relationship that doesn’t stop. It’s a unification of mind and spirit with another to take the dimensions of life and explore them in a new way, with greater depth and dimension. It’s about feasting where once you starved. It’s about becoming more yourself by embracing rather than protecting. It’s about having a passion and sharing that with others. To Brenda and Glen, I wish them the very best in life and hope they thrive beautifully within life’s infinite.

Every entrance is an exit

No matter what you are talking about, perception can be taken for granted. Our brains observe, learn but then are quick to dismiss and store that new information in the dark recesses of our minds. We get used to things. The wonder of childhood loses its magic and we search for more. Or, worse yet, we settle and stop searching for more. “That’s good… I’m done. I’ll just be over here from now on,” a huge part of society says as it sits there accepting “facts” that are told, but which are rarely truly understood or examined in detail. When it comes to stress and daily life, it’s far too easy to fall into a rut and when dealing with cocktails, that could be a very dangerous thing for people. This isn’t just for giving up and watching reality TV, or drinking cocktails without thought and care for the meaning behind it… this is about taking that metaphor and extending it into every aspect of your daily life.

Care about what you drink. Learn about its history. Learn about the choices made by the bar to serve it just the way they did, from the meticulous selection of spirits and preparation methods to the corners that were cut for business reasons. Experiment. Change. Search and explore. Don’t become an “I only drink X” consumer of cocktails. Don’t live a definite. The universe is an infinite of possibilities and you are but a child within it. When the wonder leaves what you are doing and why, so too does the focus and the spirit.

But above all else, live that passion in numerous directions and dimensions. Explore life as you do cocktails (or perhaps you already do, but you should explore cocktails as you do life). If you don’t have that passion burning within you, find it. Find it where ever, but find it. Then learn from it and question those things that you have ignored as common place and have become routine. Passion and child-like exploration is infectious.

You will find negatives becoming positive.

You will find the whole becoming greater than the sum of the parts.

You will find your voice again.

Thank you for taking the time to read this rather lengthy blog post. My spirited journey continues talking about cocktails and any other geeky endeavors that strike my fancy. Until next time.

I am Joby Bednar, and I am The Spirited Geek.

 

Behold, the Nog!

When the Winter holidays approach, there is one cocktail that stands above all others as THE cocktail to celebrate the season’s festivities… Egg Nog!  Sure, one can argue a nice Hot Toddy or Hot Buttered Rum may be worthy of the pedestal as well, but I submit the Nog symbolizes the very nature of the American spirit of the holidays: artery hardening indulgence with a slow and painful regret that lingers into the new year.

I tweeted out, as I am want to do from time to time, asking for people’s favorite egg nog recipes.  Surprisingly, most relayed a recipe that started with commercial egg nog.  Now I understand we are all busy and grabbing a carton of nog and adding in your favorite booze is the kind of low effort one might engage in when the family has assembled and Uncle Ned is snorring on the couch as Aunt Erma is telling you about her latest battle with bunions.  I get it.  But, as cocktail enthusiasts we need to roll up our sleeves and get geeky with these classic cocktails turned commercial.  Before the mega mart had a forrest of cartons assaulting the shelves during the Winter season, the simple folk of the land made batches of egg nog from scratch.  Seriously, they didn’t even have Food Network on TV… how hard can it be? Continue reading

Holiday Call To Action – Make a Difference

Most of my posts are lighthearted and fun, related to the enjoyment of life.  During the holidays, especially, it’s a time to gather that magical and mystical “holiday cheer” and celebrate life, love and family. However, life is not always fair and will sometimes hit people completely undeserving at exactly the wrong moment. I’ve had my fair share of sorrow and difficulty, but sometimes I come across a situation that hits me straight to the heart.  I drop my own minor issues and look upon the gifts of my life and see more blessing than I had been previously witness to. No matter how bad my life may be at times (going through difficulty with my mortgage and very close to foreclosure and losing my house), I want to help others who clearly need more help than I could ever need.  Please humor me for a minute and read about some one who could use a little holiday miracle.   Continue reading

There once was a man named TikiGeeki

I know this will be hard for some of you to read, and please know that this Spirited Geek fellow isn’t trying to replace the memories you have of your beloved TikiGeeki, but sometimes the events in life takes us to a place that is, in many ways, different than where we started that journey. Some times we need to stop and look around and see where we’ve ended up. Kids, mommy and daddy love you very much.  However, and I know this may take some time getting used to, but TikiGeeki will be leaving. He’ll always be in our hearts, and like a rash on the Internet, he won’t exactly be leaving very quickly, but the man that once was TikiGeeki is no more.   Continue reading