Cocktail for a Wine-o

Recently, it was time for some much overdue catching up with a good friend. The evening went pretty much as expected… tasty bites, a few glasses of Oregon Pinot and laughter – lots of laughter. As the evening drew to a close, the decision was made for a nightcap.

Pulling up a plush, comfy bar stool at one of my local favorites, we decided the time was right for a good old classic cocktail. Seeing James behind the bar assured us we had nothing to fear. Call him bartender or mixologist - he doesn’t care. He does what he does because he loves it. It shows. No one does it better.

Decisions made. She will have a classic martini… make it Vodka and with a blue cheese stuffed olive for intrigue. Me? Well James makes it easy – Bourbon Renewal, please. And that’s when it happened. He carefully sets my drink on the napkin before me and says “The cocktail for a wine guy”. WHAT? In the following 30 seconds he explains the familiar wood tannins of the Bourbon cask, the acidity of the citrus, the mid-palate roundness from the bitters and the similar, bright, red fruit, Pinot notes of the Cassis…all in perfect balance. Take that wine guy. With that he grins, turns, and walks away. “BOOM!” Mic-drop moment.

I was reminded of a similar moment years ago when I was selling my wine to a very well known Steakhouse in Tampa. The chef came out and confided in me that he loved our wine because “ the char of the wine barrel and the attention to bottle ageing our wine complimented perfectly the char of the grilling and the ageing of their steaks”. Wow! These guys are good. It’s not just food. It’s not just a cocktail. It is a PASSION… one this wine guy can identify with and respect. By the time we got our second round I found myself staring into the glass with new found appreciation and respect. I do love an epiphany. Cheers!


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