I never intended to become an alcohol snob.
Originally, I wasn’t very picky at all. In college, I would often drink whatever was handed to me. It was usually terrible, but I wasn’t drinking to enjoy myself – I was drinking with a goal in mind. Most of my early experiences with alcohol weren’t pleasurable, and I still get sick just smelling Southern Comfort.
But I knew that I didn’t like beer.
That started to change when I first went to England. My friend, Rik Sowden, made me realize that I actually really like beer – it was just American lagers that I didn’t like.1 I got introduced to beers of all kinds, and got a chance to find out what I like and what I don’t like. Over the years, as I got an appreciation for beer, I was able to become more experimental and branch out, but I really needed to understand what was good and what I liked first before I could really do that.
But I knew that I didn’t like wine.
When I first moved down to Georgia, I was living here by myself while the rest of my family stayed in St. Louis to wrap up our affairs there. I spent a lot of time making new friends, but mostly I hung out with the friend I already had – Kelley. Kelley is a big fan of wine, so that meant I got to try a lot of different kinds of wine. I learned a bit about the different types of grape and why its better to drink certain kinds over other kinds. I know I have a lot to learn still, but like with beer, I realized that only certain kinds of wine bothered me.
But I knew that I didn’t like tequila.
While I was in Puerto Vallarta, we went to a tequila distillery, and I learned how tequila is made.
Afterward, we got to try “puro” tequila, or tequila that is made exclusively from the agave plant. Our host explained that many tequilas are made with 51% agave and 49% sugar, which is why it’s a bit harsher and gives you a nasty hangover. And sure enough, drinking only puro tequila, I never had a hangover the entire time I was in Mexico.
I’m certainly no expert on alcohol. I’m actually still learning a lot about various types and styles, and the various effects and tastes they have. But I am finding that if I want to enjoy what I’m drinking, I generally go for the good stuff.
- Also, I learned that lager is only one type of beer, rather than just another name for it. I really didn’t know much about beer at the time. ↩