Liquor Store Shopping: Before And After Covid-19

When I shop for wine and liquor, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I browse the aisles in wide-eyed wonder, enjoying the variety of shapes and colors and imagining the tastes and smells hidden within every bottle. Although wine and liquor stores must carry the same old standbys in order to survive, most will offer some uniqueness that reflects the proprietor’s vision of how his or her business will succeed and the niche it fulfills within the community. Is it a mega-store offering major brands at discount prices? Or is it a boutique wine shop with personalized help selecting just the right wine? One of our favorite stores in our old neighborhood advertised their Great Wall of Beer featuring single bottles from microbreweries across the US and the world. As I enter Joe Canal’s in our new neighborhood, I land in the heart of California red wines, with Nickel & Nickel, Trefethen, and Silver Oak residing center top shelf. We also enjoy checking out liquor stores when we travel, even if our plans don’t allow us to purchase anything.

At our local Joe Canal’s, greeted by the 7-feet tall Captain himself and a fanciful Captain Morgan Christmas tree.

Admittedly, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not the best of times to be leisurely browsing the aisles of Joe Canal’s. We’re keeping our exposure to a minimum, only going out for essential shopping while wearing masks and gloves. Gone are the days of reading the bottle neck tags and shelf talkers, hunting for close-out bargains, and finding obscure wines from Italy or Greece. No more perusing the cordials, cognac, tequila, gin, and rum for a package that piques our curiosity. Welcome to a new way to shop.

We tend to buy in bulk, so we hadn’t been to Joe Canal’s since before quarantine. I was pleased to discover that they have a system for keeping customers out of the store and still providing us with our alcohol needs. (Yes, I say “needs” and in my opinion liquor stores are essential businesses.) Besides the obvious goal of keeping everyone safe and healthy, this new way of doing things has its advantages. I called the store and was given an email address to place an order. Within an hour or two, an employee called me back with a couple of questions (i.e. we don’t have the 1.75L size, is a 750ml o.k.?) A few minutes later, she called a second time with the order total that I could pay over the phone with a credit card. I called the store when we arrived in the parking lot and had a good laugh as I overheard the delivery person being told he would need to get the hand truck for our order. All items were neatly loaded in the back of our car with the receipt taped to one of the wine boxes.

How can I complain about curtailing my liquor store wanderlust when it has been replaced with an efficient personal shopper and car loading service?

Hendrick’s vs. Bombay Sapphire: Gin Throwdown

Hendrick’s vs. Bombay Sapphire: Gin Throwdown

Much has changed since I published Gin Drink Lab where we taste tested Tanqueray, Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Amsterdam, and Fleischmann’s. After those bottles were polished off, only the Bombay Sapphire was replaced and became a favorite for making a traditional gin martini including vermouth and olives. Surrendering to highly visible bar promotion and cute advertising, we recently bought a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin to try.

First to love about Hendrick’s is the easy-open pull tab. One tug and the outer foil comes right off. I’m so tired of struggling to open new packaging, using a half dozen kitchen implements of destruction on layers of foil and plastic safety seals only to encounter a lid that requires the strength of Atlas to remove. Also included in the packaging is a tiny booklet explaining why Hendrick’s prides itself on being “an absurdly small batch gin” and offering a few gin cocktail suggestions.

Hendrick's1

 

We’ll taste the Hendrick’s and Bombay Sapphire neat side-by-side before making cocktails. Although the alcohol content of Bombay at 94 proof is higher than that of Hendrick’s at 88 proof, the nose on Hendrick’s is hotter. Behind the alcohol comes aromas of lemon-lime citrus, pine forest, and sage. The alcohol kick on the first sip of Hendrick’s is like drinking hot sauce. Once I recover, flavors of juniper, lemon rind, rose hips, and dried herbs emerge. Traces of bitter citrus peel are left on the finish (which I quite enjoy).

Bombay’s more pronounced aromas are similar to Hendrick’s when it comes to juniper and pine, but veer towards orange and coriander for citrus notes. On the palate, Bombay has a hint of sweetness featuring orange peel and coriander, and a subtle nutty essence. The alcohol delivers a slow burn rather than a kick and is more prominent on the finish. Overall, it’s smooth, well-balanced, and complex.

While my drinking buddy has stayed with his traditional martini, I’ve changed to the Gimlet made with our own lemon mixer (1 part lemon juice to 1 part simple syrup).

Gin Gimlet

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • ½ oz lemon mixer

Shake over ice and strain into a small martini glass.

Both Hendrick’s and Bombay Sapphire make an excellent Gimlet. But sometimes when we use a complex-tasting spirit like Bombay in a cocktail the flavor profile becomes confusing. The perception isn’t a clash like milk and orange juice, but rather an overload that leaves your taste buds perplexed. We refer to this as “flavor fighting”. While Bombay’s complexity is well-appreciated drunk neat, as part of a Gimlet cocktail it succumbs to flavor fighting more than Hendrick’s does. Don’t worry, no gin was wasted as I polished off both!

Socially Distant Distractions

Socially Distant Distractions

In response to the spread of an extremely virulent flu, we are being asked to stay home and practice social distancing. In terms of the all-consuming nature in which the virus is impacting our day-to-day lives, the calamitous COVID-19 reminds me of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, except that we still have heat, cell phone coverage, electricity to run the refrigerator/freezer full of food, a supermarket to restock aforementioned food, an open gas station to buy gas to get to the supermarket, and an undamaged house and property. Okay, in comparison to the Sandy aftermath, maybe this isolation thing really isn’t so bad.

In typical Boozy Lifestyle fashion, while other folks were hording toilet paper, we were raiding the liquor store. We succumbed to the panic mentality and, admittedly, overbought on the last trip; enough for a party! Unfortunately, in keeping with social distancing rules, we can’t invite anyone to attend.

For the safety of all, our travel plans have been put on indefinite hold. Instead of visiting our favorite wineries and distilleries, please join us for a virtual tour through the Boozy Lifestyle tasting rooms.

Let’s begin in the dining room with the curious bottle collection, featuring Skelly, the Cooperstown baseball, Crystal Head, and Once A Marine, Always A Marine.

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The dining room also houses the wine rack. You can never have too much wine!

Dining Room2

As we head to the kitchen, you’ll see the “functional” spirit collection that we partake of regularly or new items we’re experimenting with in drink lab.

Kitchen

I’ve chosen two very special bottles for our non-existent guests in our vacant guest room! A Paso Robles Cabernet Franc from our friends Lori and Michael @Dracaenawines and our favorite Chardonnay from Rombauer Vineyards in Napa Valley.

Guest Room

With four wines at the ready in the music room, we’ll sing and dance to raise our spirits and toast to Dionysus, “the god who gives to mortals the vine that puts an end to grief”.

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At the end of the tasting room tour, please join us (in spirit) in the living room for Happy Hour, happening every night from 5 to 7 p.m.

Living room2

Our second major distraction after wine and spirits is food. Under normal circumstances, home-cooked meals are interspersed with a restaurant meal or two and take-out food. Even though take-out is still available, we’ve been more comfortable with making our own meals during the pandemic.

While the more fashion-conscious among us are probably making use of being confined to quarters by cleaning out and organizing clothes closets, I head to the pantry to take inventory on beans, pasta, and other assorted dry goods. A can of pinto beans from a 10 for $10 sale is near its expiration date and inspires a Mexican-influenced meal of shredded chicken with assorted-color bell peppers over rice and beans and topped with melted Monterrey Jack cheese.

Shredded chick rice beans

I made a double portion of rice to have with a beef stir fry the next day.

Stir Fry

And picked out the largest mushrooms to stuff with a bit of leftover rice.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Now that I’ve made three rice dishes in a row and I need a replacement 10 lb. bag, I find that, after toilet paper, rice is a favorite among hoarders. The supermarket shelf is bare. Not to worry. I’ll employ my secret superpower to create an edible meal (I’m not promising delicious) from other random ingredients-on-hand. I love a challenge.

All this wonderful eating and drinking is becoming dangerous to the waistline. To add insult to injury, Zumba and other fitness classes have been canceled due to social distancing. But our group has stayed in touch, thanks to our fitness instructor, via email and internet. We check in on each other and share inspirational thoughts, music, and links to videos. Like Billy Idol sings, I’m “dancing with myself”. So much that I’m starting to wear out the carpet. It’s not as fun as performing with a group, but the dance videos are ideal for keeping my spirits up and belly down.

Stay healthy, readers!

What’s A Throwdown?

What’s A Throwdown?

In “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”, restaurateur and celebrity chef Bobby Flay challenges cooks to prepare their signature dish for a tasting competition. At the end of the show, their version and Bobby’s are evaluated by a judging panel and one is declared a winner. Elaborate ruses and setups aside, the concept of tasting edibles side by side is a more precise way to compare the subtleties of flavor that may be missed if consumed on different days.

We use the throwdown concept in different ways for comparing wines. A throwdown from our early wine days was to compare several different brands of white Zinfandel. Dare I say it? White Zinfandel, with its reputation for being an unsophisticated “beginner wine”. In the Boozy Lifestyle there’s room for all and every wine has its place and time. Sweaty and exhausted after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day, white Zin serves as a cool refreshing porch pounder (or Corona with a lime wedge if you’re a beer drinker).

At the end of a summer of random selections, we realize that we like some white Zins better than others, but from week to week, we can’t remember which. If we taste the four or five brands we’ve been fluctuating between side by side, we’ll know for sure. I had to wrap my frugal mentality around the idea of opening five bottles of wine at once, but in the end, we discovered that one of the wines was a clear winner.

We also use the throwdown concept to compare different vintages of the same wine. We especially liked the 2007 vintage of Simi Cabernet Sauvignon for its vanilla-laden quality and purchased a case. While we still had several bottles left, we tried the 2010 vintage. Could it possibly taste so different from 2007? A throwdown proved that 2007 and 2010 really were quite different and showed how much vintage does matter. We saved the remaining bottles of 2007 so we could look forward to a vintage throwdown every year until the stash was depleted.

Tasting notes from our 2007 vs. 2013 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon vintage throwdown:

In the glass, we notice that the color of the 2007 has slightly more brick coloration than the bright ruby hue of the 2013. Many of the wines we buy don’t age well past 8 or 9 years, so we take the change in color as a sign to finish up the vintage.

The nose is where the 2007 and 2013 differ most. In the 2007, vanilla dominates and is supported by dried herbs and blackberry fruit. The 2013 is more fruit forward with notes of coffee and fresh herbs.

Both the 2007 and 2013 are full of cherry, blackberry and currants on the palate. The fruits in the 2013 taste brighter and fresher, whereas in the 2007, the fruits are drier. It’s like the difference between a plum and a prune. The vanilla nose in the 2007 follows through on the palate, while the 2013 adds hints of dark chocolate and anise. The mouth-feel of the 2007 is smooth and mellow while the 2013 is edgier with higher acidity.

Both vintages have a nice medium-long finish but the 2007 wins by a hair. It has a roundness and lingering touch of fruity sweetness at the end that the 2013 misses.

Our exploration of the Boozy Lifestyle has brought about lots of different throwdowns that we’ll cover in later chapters.

Cork vs. Screw Cap

Cork vs. Screw Cap

Following our foray into the liquor store business, we became acutely aware of wholesale, retail and restaurant bottle pricing and markup; what a bottle cost from a distributor, what our markup needed to be to keep the store profitable, and how those same bottles are marked up 100% to 400% in a restaurant setting.  This knowledge makes paying $75 for a bottle of wine in a restaurant that I know to cost $25 in a retail store hard to swallow.

To celebrate our anniversary one year, we went to a nice restaurant and began the festivities by perusing the wine list. Several familiar wines we buy in the $15 to $20 retail price range are included on the wine menu at $40 to $50. Some things I wish I didn’t know. But on special occasions, you tell yourself to let go and live a little.

When you order wine at a restaurant, part of the justification for the pricing is the wine service. The wine steward helps you navigate the wine menu to choose something you’ll like that pairs well with your meal. He or she sets up your glassware and shows you the bottle at your table before opening it. A good wine server will open the bottle with showmanship, deftly plying his corkscrew like a sculptor wielding his chisel. A small amount of wine is poured for you to verify that it hasn’t spoiled. He serves you just the right amount in your glass, and for whites, chills the wine to the proper temperature for the duration of the meal. The formality of serving wine helps to bolster the quality of the dining experience.

For our special occasion, we order a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile that we haven’t tried before.  Large red wine glasses are set, and the waiter brings the greatly anticipated wine to the table. With a quick turn of the wrist, he twists open the screw cap. Oh, the injustice. He finishes serving the wine, but the disappointment in the screw cap, in place of a cork, casts a pall on the remainder of the wine ceremony.

Corks for wines have been used for centuries. Wine bottles may be stopped with natural cork produced from the bark of trees or synthetic corks made from plastic compounds. Natural cork is harvested from tree bark without cutting down the tree, enabling a sustainable production. Cork is also easily recyclable. The downside of cork is that it’s expensive and can sometimes adversely affect the wine in a chemical reaction commonly known as cork taint. Synthetic corks are cheaper to produce and aren’t susceptible to cork taint, however, some wine drinkers believe that they impart a slight chemical flavor to the wine.

While the screw cap is generally associated with cheap wine, it isn’t necessarily so. Screw caps are favored by winemakers from Australia and New Zealand for their cost-effectiveness and ability to keep wine fresh. Quality testing has shown that screw caps work perfectly well at preventing oxidation and protecting from cork taint. But even though the scientists have given the screw cap a “pass”, its public image is still perceived as cheap. Most folks just don’t want their fine, expensive wines to open with a screw cap.

Tasting Wine: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Tasting Wine: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

We enjoyed drinking wine for several years before learning how to taste it. Unraveling the complexities of wine not only helps us enjoy it more but allows us to communicate what we experience with others. By using our senses in a three-step process, we are seeing, smelling, and tasting our way to a better understanding not only of what we like or don’t like in wine, but why we like or dislike it. 

(The Good)

The enjoyment of wine should be like listening to your favorite song, eating your favorite meal, or watching your favorite movie. You enjoy it because of who you and what you bring to the experience rather than the object of your attention. It’s more about you than the wine. To each his own.

It’s easy to say you like it or you don’t, but it requires some knowledge and effort to communicate why. The most useful wine reviews provide the information you need to decide if you will like it before you purchase it. What grape varietals does it contain and where does it come from? Do you prefer the aroma and flavor of black currant over melon? Do you enjoy earthiness and vegetal elements? Over time, the wine drinker appreciates its finer points.

It’s helpful to understand a wine’s faults as well as its achievements. Does it smell like vinegar or taste like bacon? Winemaking is a complex process where a lot of things can go wrong. Improper storage or a faulty cork can kill a bottle of wine.

Sometimes the stars align perfectly to give you a great wine drinking experience. You’re in a villa in Tuscany sipping Brunello, or a chateau in France tasting Bordeaux. While drinking on vacation, out to dinner, or at a party is certainly a fun time, my best tasting experience is a quiet affair at home starting with the wine sans food. We usually have a few cases of various, mostly red wines on hand at any given time. Conventional wine wisdom tells us to choose a wine that will pair well with dinner. For us, it’s a consideration but not necessarily the driving force for the wine selection. Our wine of choice reflects our mood. Is it a special occasion, or the middle of the workweek? Are we feeling adventurous to try something new or needing comfort from an old familiar friend?

Our wine drinking decisions don’t end with picking the bottle. We use the decanter for a better bottle, or one that is aged and showing some sediment. The hand-wash-only crystal wine glasses will come out of the cabinet if the wine is worthy, or we may use the dishwasher-safe glass ones for the weekday wine.

The first pour begins to whisper to you with aromas of fruits and berries, followed by herbs, vanilla and spices. You take a sip and let the wine envelop your tongue, allowing all your taste buds to get in on the action. Where the aromas leave off, the palate picks up all the wonderful fruit, flower, herb, spice, mineral, and oak. After you swallow your sip, a well-balanced finish lingers, mellow and smooth, not sour or astringent.

Each wine has its own voice and sings to you in its particular style. In an older wine, the fruits may be soft and mellow, singing sotto voce, like a grandmother humming a childhood melody to her grandbaby. A Zinfandel from California may be bold and fruit forward, thrashing around like a bombastic heavy metal front man on a strobe-lit stage. A wine that’s like a jazz ensemble is the most complex, offering sophisticated harmonic structure, syncopated rhythms, and melodic improvisation. The experiences within the glass are all so different, yet all enjoyable just the same. 

Buehler

Wine tasting at home

(The Bad)

Grape varietals show different colors and hues but if the wine is bright and sparkly, it’s a good sign. An older wine that may be past its prime or a wine that has been oxidized, looks tawny or brown (for a white wine) or orange or rusty brick (for a red wine).

In 2015 we were gifted a couple of cases of various red wines going back to late 1990’s vintages. It was our first opportunity for firsthand exploration of aged wines since we tend to drink everything we buy within a few years. Consistent with the commonly held belief that red wine improves with age, some of our friends buy and cellar their wine. However, there are many dissenting views on aging. Some suggest that only a few wines are good candidates for decades of cellaring and that most wines should be consumed young. New methods of viticulture and enology have contributed to making the tannins in young wines more drinkable and thus eliminated the need for aging.

The wines we were gifted were stored at room temperature as opposed to the recommended 55 degrees. We open a sediment-laden 1998 Rombauer Merlot from Napa Valley, California. While not a hard-and-fast rule, the recommended “drink by” date of this 1998 vintage is 2008, so we are about seven years late to the party. We decant the wine to reduce the sediment.

The age of the wine is first noted by the color. The deep crimson typical of a young Merlot has evolved into a more brick-red with a rim of orange. The palate is earthy and muted, without any individual fruit, spice, or barrel flavors asserting themselves. At 17 years of age and possibly overheating during storage, this Rombauer Merlot is way past its prime.

A few months later we have the opportunity to visit the Rombauer winery in Napa, California. We recall our recent observations of the 1998 vintage to the staff member and our concern that the wine was improperly stored. He brings out a 1998 Merlot for comparison. It had the same brick color, loss of fruit, and lots of sediment. Assuming that bottles are carefully stored at the winery, we conclude that it’s just the result of too much age that led to the wine’s decline. 

June's Wines

Souvenier wines past their prime

(The Ugly)

There are those wines you drink that give you absolute pleasure. Others are tolerable and for happy hour pricing, or free, you’ll settle. Then there is wine that you must simply pour down the drain while gently humming “Taps”.

Our first sign of trouble was struggling with a dried-out cork in a bottle of California Syrah. The brick-colored pour smelled like a musty basement. Welcome to a wine folly known as cork taint, the presence of chemical compounds that usually come from the cork. In the interests of science, I want to know first-hand what it tastes like. The Internet says corked wine isn’t harmful to ingest and since everything on the Internet is true, I’m game to try it. I bravely take a small sip and notice a very astringent taste. Not vinegar, but highly acidic. The fruit flavors are gone and in their place is an alcoholic heat similar to a distilled spirit. Sadly, this bottle went down the drain instead of down the hatch.

Boozy Beginnings

Boozy Lifestyle

I’ve been keeping something from you. Before your imagination runs wild, I’ll say it. I’ve been writing a book. Technically, I’ve been developing the Boozy Lifestyle blog into a book. I guess President’s Day is as good a day as any to begin sharing it with you, my readers. Cue the music…fanfare plays…presenting the first excerpt.

Boozy Beginnings

In the beginning, there was beer. Even as a newly legal drinker, I wanted something more interesting than Budweiser. I found light and dark Lowenbrau and mixed them to create my own version of black and tan. Along came Sam Adams which opened the floodgates for the microbrew revolution. Slaving away at my day job, I dreamed of becoming a beer connoisseur. Seriously, Michael Jackson (not the singer) did it!

I first discovered Jackson on his show called “The Beer Hunter” in which he examines beer culture in different countries. Who wouldn’t want to travel around the world tasting beer? His seminal 1977 book, “The World Guide To Beer” was ground-breaking in categorizing beer styles and associating them with regions and cultures.

In the mid-1990’s, a friend gave me a Robert Parker Wine Buyers Guide, but it was too early for an interest in wine to take root. My wine chapter began around Christmas of 2003 when a colleague gifted me a bottle of Italian red wine that I really enjoyed. I started sampling some different wines and reading articles and books by Ray Isle, Matt Kramer, Eric Asimov, and others.

I’m lucky to have found a husband to share the enjoyment of wine and spirits with me; especially wine, because if I didn’t have someone to share a bottle with me, I’d probably drink the whole thing myself. An early part-time bartending job fostered his interest in mixology. Later, he leveraged his knowledge of computer programming to develop and sell point-of-sale/inventory software for liquor stores. Eventually, we quit our day jobs and became business partners in our own wine and liquor store.

We considered trying the wines that we sold in the store as “doing our homework” and tried to be objective about a wine’s characteristics. Ultimately, customers want to spend their hard-earned cash on something they enjoy. And so we began to learn the language of wine with the goal of describing it by its qualities rather than, “I like it” or, “It tastes bad”.

After we sold the wine shop and I returned to my day job, I had an idea that it would be fun to express my interest in wine by writing a blog. A brainstorming session produced a bunch of good ideas for blog titles and Twitter handles, but I found that the early birds had beaten me to the worm; most of our ideas were already taken. At one point, my drinking buddy suggested “wine connoisseur.” I bristled at the term’s pretentiousness and replied, “I’m not qualified enough to call myself a connoisseur.” He asked, “Then what are you, a ‘kindasseur’?” And the Winekindasseur was born.

Topics of the blog expanded beyond wine to include spirits and cocktails. Since it’s not good to drink on an empty stomach, food and recipes were added. An occasional random thought also weaved its way into the Winekindasseur tapestry.

A couple of years later, I found myself with the luxury of free time due to early retirement from the day job. I decided to build on the Winekindasseur blog and write this book. I soon learned that if you tell someone you’re working on a book, the first questions they ask are, “What is it called?” and, “What it is about?” Better be ready to answer.

My answer began with a list of things the book covers; wine, food, pairings, cocktails, drink labs, and recipes interjected with a few humorous personal stories. For most people, that’s just too much information. Another conversation with my drinking buddy yielded “tipsy” which has a polite feminine connotation, but a quick search on the Internet showed that Bethany Frankel had already established “Tipsy Girl” as a brand.

Inspiration struck during cocktail hour one evening when I referred to our routine as our “boozy lifestyle”. In a trendy culture of beauty, fitness, and fashion lifestyle gurus, the idea of being a boozy lifestyle expert carries a measure of irony with it. The word ‘boozy’ expresses just the irreverence I was looking for; not youthful, feminine, or especially well-mannered.

I’m not a certified wine expert, an award-winning mixologist, a gourmet chef, or even a celebrity. But rather than give up and let my inner critic gain the upper hand, I’m making it my mission is to infuse a little happiness and humor into a disgruntled world by sharing my boozy lifestyle experience.

I could tell you how I spend every waking hour slaving away in the pursuit of my ambitions, thus proving how passionate I am about what I do, but it would be untrue. I once read a piece by Arianna Huffington entitled, “Getting A Good Night’s Sleep Is More Important Than You Think”. It begins with her collapse from exhaustion triggering an epiphany of the importance of a good night’s sleep. I always thought that knowing you need a good night’s rest was called “common sense”.

While the boozy lifestyle doesn’t require suffering in the pursuit of your dreams, that’s not to say we need to settle for mediocrity. There is certainly a joy to be found in quality, both in recognizing it around you and nurturing it within you. Happiness is found in the little things.

Living a good, full life doesn’t mean that you need to travel the world, drink the most expensive champagne, or own a mansion. For most of us strong relationships are the means to making us feel needed, useful, and loved. What makes us feel good about ourselves makes us happy. What better way to nourish a relationship than to share a hearty meal and raise a glass?

Daily life doesn’t have much in common with our ancestors of 9000 years ago, but one thing we still do is drink fermented beverages. The ancients who drank for religious and medicinal purposes may not have been social drinkers, but the concept of social drinking is well-documented at the time of ancient Greece. Habitual drunkenness and extreme intoxication were frowned upon; however, the practice of drinking moderately during banquets and symposia became a social norm.

A couple of millennia later, we’re still practicing social drinking to grease the wheels of interpersonal relationships. We celebrate good news, weddings, babies, promotions, and holidays by saying, “Cheers”. Of all the things you learn in college, social drinking may be the skill you use the longest and most often.

Early adulthood is also the time of life to learn about overindulgence, where drinking is sometimes treated as a competitive sport. The games may change but the concept of drinking games or competitions is old as dirt. I’ll concede that a game of beer pong or a few rounds of drunk Jenga can be fun occasionally but guzzling cheap beer from a beer bong too often may eventually land you in rehab.

A boozy lifestyle is a balancing act; to enjoy imbibing and eating the good stuff without over-indulging.