Thanksgiving 2013 – or, My Life In Booze

I went shopping and ran errands this afternoon, some overdue tasks and some getting ready for Thanksgiving Remix, where we have friends over to the house on Friday and bring their unwanted leftovers, and I try and turn it into a better dinner. Recently I ran out of a few key items in the liquor cabinet, so it was time to stock up – a surprisingly rare event.

As I was heading home (actually, walking into the second grocery store of the day), I realized that I had just purchased nearly my entire life’s story in booze form. Add in the one purchase I made at the start of the day, and the story is complete.

armagnacStarting off the timeline is a bottle of Armagnac, a brandy from the southwest of France. This has been on my mind to do since the summer. When we visited my aunt and uncle in Portland, we picked up some interesting family stories including that my family traces back to a small town in Gascony. (There’s a brief interlude of around seven generations of us living in and around New Orleans between me and Gascony, but hey.) Among other things, Armagnac is as I understand it produced solely in Gascony. It’s iconic for the region. What a serendipitous way to connect to the past, and MAN, that stuff packs a punch; I suspect this bottle will be with me for some time.

bourbonBourbon. Whatever I may feel for the southwest of France, or for the Crescent City, I’m also a Kentucky boy. Sometimes, however, I admit – I kind of suck at it. I cheer on the Cats and watch the Derby each year but bourbon was a rather simpler affair when I moved away, as I recall. Ergo, I don’t exactly have a huge breadth or depth of bourbon knowledge, but no way to learn but to drink. This is one that I’ve known about but never got around to trying; I’m sure there are smoother bourbons out there and a few harsher ones, but I’m eager to cross this one off the list. If it’s good, I can horde it, and if it’s not to my taste, I have friends who will happily help drain the bottle.

ginThis one’s a little more indirect. Gin is a decidedly British drink, I’ve decided. Whether English in particular or British as a whole, it has a strong association with the isles. I lived in London for two years that had a huge hand in shaping both my career and myself. Furthermore, I was introduced to Hendricks in particular (over ice with slices of cucumber) earlier in the year by a bartender at a steakhouse bar in Calgary, where I spent a decent portion off-and-on for work this year. Double whammy. This has also been on my list to add to the collection for a while, and I’m happy I did.

I said this covered it, almost. I don’t have a particular spirit for New Orleans, although really any of these could stand in, I suppose. And I don’t have anything for Houston. I have a few bottles of Saint Arnold’s Endeavour IPA, which covers both Houston and Rice University, but since I already owned it I figured that was sort of cheating. However, if we’re really going to wrap up my identity in drink, then I managed to complete the list with a bag of Greenway coffee. We’re lucky to have access to a premium coffee culture and some incredibly talented roasters in town, people I call friends. David and Ecky are at the top of that list; they’ve not only provided consistently top-quality coffee, but educate the community about coffee habits, techniques, and economics.
So, that’s pretty much me in liquid form. Not bad for a day’s work.