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 it up 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 in the 1990’s on a show call “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 1990’s, a friend gave me a Robert Parker Wine Buyers Guide, but it was too soon 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 by Ray Isle, Matt Kramer 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 an early retirement (from the day job). I decided to build on the Winekindasseur blog and write a 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.
Please visit me on Twitter @winekindasseur.