Deciding What to Drink

This sounds like a completely stupid title - the type of problem that only hoity-toity aristocrats might ponder. Nevertheless, it's the scenario that pays my salary. The question that we get asked forty to fifty times a day on the K&L sales floor is:

"What should I drink?"

There are all kinds of ubiquitous answers to this query.

- "Drink what you like!" Straight-forward and charming, but not really helpful.

- "Drink what tastes good!" How do I know if something tastes good when I've never had it before?

- "Drink $7 to $10 wines during the week and something special on the weekends!" What if you don't drink during the week? (I know that sounds crazy, but some people do save themselves for Friday night)

Those are the in-store variations of this dilemma when dealing with customers and I've got all the answers to any possible combination of them. However, what if your problem isn't related to a lack of ideas or information? What if it's simply a matter of time? That's the issue I'm facing. I've got the opposite problem from most of my customers. I know what to drink, but I want to drink too many things! I have a list of selections that, like our universe, is in a constant state of expansion. I need help finding the time to actually sit down and enjoy it. As someone who thinks about booze all day long I've got about twenty things I want to open by the time I get home from work each day. Eric just brought in a bunch of new Loire and Alsatian whites. Joe just tasted me on a new inexpensive garnacha from Spain. We've got some great Bordeaux deals right now on older vintages. Plus, I've been stockpiling Champagne in my refrigerator - can't forget about those bottles!

And that's just the wine! We haven't even talked about the 100+ open bottles of booze sitting in my living room cabinet.

As someone who tries to drink responsibly I don't want to overdo it on any one night. That means roughly a half bottle of wine with dinner if I'm going to keep it under control. If we're doing cocktails, that means roughly two drinks. Friday or Saturday night might mean a beer, a cocktail, and a half-bottle of wine with the possibility of brown water after the meal (if I don't pass out while watching Kickboxer for the 875th time). Even with that extensive menu of libationary (I thought I had just made that word up, but it does appear in the Urban dictionary) delights, that still limits me to one beer, one cocktail, one wine, and maybe one brown spirit. I can only handle volume like that maybe once a week, so at that pace I will never, ever, ever, ever get even close to drinking all the hooch I have planned out in my head.

I've heard some people say, "Since I don't drink as much as I used to, I'll drink something nice if I'm going to do it." I thought about that for a while – I could eliminate the less-expensive selections from my life, scale down my drinking, and just sip the fancy stuff for the rest of my days. That doesn't work for me, however. I love drinking Bank Note. I love drinking $10 bottles of German riesling. I love drinking large glasses of Campari with soda. I love dumping huge quantities of Four Roses Yellow into a large glass of ice. I rejoice in the post-work bottle of Jever Pils. There's simply too much pleasure to be obtained from the working class heroes of hooch. I'm the same way with food. Have fun with your bone marrow, I'm getting tacos from the truck parked out front.

If I'm not willing to trade quantity for quality, then how am I ever going to make it through those cases of Bordeaux sitting in my locker? What about the vintages of red and white Burgundy I have dating back to 2005? When am I going to drink this stuff?!!

I've recently realized that this problem I currently face isn't a matter of tolerance. It's not a matter of health or of capability either. It's a matter of friendship! I simply need more friends to drink with. When you drink with people there are more mouths to handle more booze. The more mouths you are feeding, the more booze you can open, therefore enjoying multiple glasses of various wines and spirits rather than working solidly through one open container. Having a dinner party results in three to four bottles of open wine as well as a smattering of whiskies once the meal is over. I simply need to be more social.

Now I just need to find the time to hang out with people! It's still a matter of scheduling, isn't it?

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll