Tag Archives: busy

Expert Drinker

Photo credit to James Martin. Pic first appeared on his blog, The Sipologist.

Photo credit to James Martin. Pic first appeared on his blog, The Sipologist.

At this time two years ago, I was wasting away in an office job to make money. It was what I thought a career had to be — grunt work with a generous helping of boredom and convoluted power structures.

When I got the chance to bartend, I jumped on it. From the outside, it seemed both nerdy and glamorous, and I wanted to be part of that culture. To catch up, I studied drink and product flashcards every day. I asked bartenders I knew for book recommendations, and read them all the time.

After a little while, I started writing about what I’d learned. It was easy and challenging all at once: I’d become passionate about cocktails, so I wanted to do their stories justice. It was a topic I’d come to know well, so it was sometimes hard to translate my knowledge into an accessible story.

But explaining product and cocktails are both parts of bartending, so I used every shift to refine my narrative about a certain drink or a technique or an ingredient. Once I started practicing, it became easier and easier to explain it out loud and in writing.

As an adult, I’ve had trouble owning up to what I am and what I want to be. It took me a long time to call myself a writer, and a few months of bartending full-time before I would call myself a bartender without a qualifier. Even now, I’m not a drinks expert. What I am is an expert drinker. I’ve developed a palate, know how to balance and re-balance a cocktail, and consult the Flavor Bible enough to figure out what liquors play well with what flavors.

I’m still learning, and I’m still putting off reading the stack of cocktail books I keep by my bed. With writing, tutoring, and regular bartending shifts, I can make time to read an article or two every day, but I’ve had a lot of trouble keeping pace with my drinks library. To become a true drinks expert, I’ll have to dive back in, and soon. I’ll start on it tomorrow.

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Time out for mindfulness

Picture sourced from here.

With work and tutoring, writing and gift-making, all of my time between now and the holidays is already budgeted. Somewhere in there, I have to take some time to keep my mind clear so I can stay focused on my own goals and supportive of Adam’s. Therefore, my four small goals are centered around mindfulness:

1. Work out three times a week or more. I may not be participating in my gym’s holiday motivator because I don’t need more t-shirts, but I do need to make sure my body and brain are in shape to get through.

2. Read The Three Pillars of Zen. Touted as the American guide to zen Buddhism, this book will be a useful resource in learning to consciously practice mindfulness and happiness.

3. Cook more. Sourcing my food and drinks locally when possible allows me to be a better steward of my resources. Supporting local farmers and business owners helps build the Birmingham scene and help the economy.

4. Pare down my belongings. The less you own, the less you have to clean. I would like to get rid of one more box of stuff by the end of the year. The big, exciting Christmas gift I’ve asked for this year is a vacuum cleaner. It’ll cut the time required for cleaning sprees and the amount of dust left in my house. Thrilling, I know.

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