Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Category: Wine?...Yes Please

Grab the Bottle & Pour: Why Waiting for the “Perfect Occasion” is a Bad Idea

Not long ago, my friend Winton the Beer Tuber shared the article “Just Drink It Already!” from Draft Magazine that discussed the growing trend of cellaring beer. The author, Christopher Staten, notes that while the flavor of high-gravity and bottled conditioned beer change over time, many people are simply waiting too long to drink them. While some are waiting for flavor to develop further others are waiting for the “perfect occasion” to match the specialness of the bottle.

For some wines and a smaller number of beers there is a curve on which one can describe the flavors as improving over time, but as with all perishable foods there is a point at which the flavors begin to diminish. For beer and wine drinkers, you can tell yourself that the juice in the bottle is still getting better, so there's a reason to wait. Delaying the gratification of drinking the bottle now is offset by the reward of it tasting better in the future. But, for drinkers who prefer whiskey, brandy or some other liquor, this problem is compounded by the fact that distilled spirits don't improve once they've been bottled. So once a bottle has reached its peak, why do we also want to wait for the perfect occasion?

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Women's Initiative Wine & Whiskey Event

On Wednesday November 13, a couple hundred of people filled the historic Banking Hall at 400 California street in support of the Women's Initiative for Self Employment. People happily mixed and mingled as they sampled wine and whiskey from a number of sponsors. Four Roses, Mitcher's and Compasbox all poured from their extensive whiskey lines. St. George poured their Breaking & Entering Bourbon, Dry Rye Gin and Absinthe. Bender's Whiskey Company, based on Treasure Island was pouring samples of their Bender's Rye whiskey. The event bar was expertly staffed by Romina, the General Manager of Nihon Whisky Lounge, and featured a number of classic whiskey cocktail. I tried their version of a Sazerac, made with Bender's Rye Whiskey and St. George's Absinthe, which mixed together very nicely.

The main program for the evening was emceed by San Francisco's District Attorney George Gascón, and his wife Fabiola Kramsky. The highlight of the evening was a talk by Atrid Lopez, a Women's Initiative graduate and owner of Elite Sports. She shared how the training she received from the Women's Initiative helped her and her family start and successfully run their business since 1989. After Astrid spoke, her son, Ivan Lopez shared about how through his family's success he now owns and operates Artillery Apparel Gallery, a hybrid art gallery/retail space that features art and clothing from local designers and artists. The Lopez family is a great example of how empowering women to become small business owners not only helps them and their family but also ripples outward to the surrounding community.

The event was able to raise over $40,000 which will go towards funding the next cohort of women who sign up to take their training on how to successfully run a small business. I for one was happy to participate in the event and was glad to see local wine and spirit produces supporting the next wave of small business owner. 

The Challenges of Success

In my last post I wrote about wine tasting in Sonoma and while I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the wines we tried the experience left me feeling a bit conflicted.

I am very much a wine novice and I had hoped that the trip would help me find some local wines that I like and that I could keep an eye out for. Because when I go to one of my local stores to buy a bottle it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The problem with our trip to Sonoma was that none of the wineries we visited have any distribution in San Francisco. In the case of these wineries, they don't distribute because they do a profitable business selling directly to the public out of their tasting rooms and wine clubs so there is no need to sell their product to distributors.

This is where my conflict comes in. Part of me is glad that these wineries are producing great products and profiting from it, but practically speaking, this means I will never see their wines again. My budget can't afford a wine club membership for even one of these wineries let alone the 2000 plus wineries in California. The success of California wine and the peculiarities of the wine market means that in some instances it's easier for me to find a bottle from halfway around the world than an hour and a half's drive from San Francisco.

Nonetheless, I am not deterred. In the future I will focus my attention on wineries in Sonoma and Napa that also distribute in San Francisco. For me this approach makes the most sense because I'm not just interested in finding good wine to drink, because there is plenty of that. But I am also interested in learning more about the processes that make great wine particularly in the hills and valleys of Northern California.

What's in a name?

I decided to name my site EZdrinking for a couple of reasons. First, my intent for this project is to focus on spirits, beer, wine, and coffee that are of such quality that they are easy to drink on their own. Second, I hope to promote a temperate approach to alcohol that extols its variety, craft and creativity with out overindulgence. Third, since this a site of my own musings about things I like to drink and my initials are E.Z. the choice was obvious.