I recently wrote about how I got started with writing about and studying wine. Made me think about how I got started with drinking both wine and spirits. Had a chat with my husband Eddie, and a boozy trip down memory lane, and this is where it started and led me:
Spirits And Wine
When I was in high school and underage drinking was at every party, I have seriously no recollection of imbibing but I’m sure I did – and God knows what. My earliest memories of booze include Bartles and Jaymes Wine Coolers, wine spritzers, as well as Mateus and Blue Nun wines.
Not a fan of beer but I did enjoy Mickey’s Big Mouth malt liquor at least once.
Fast forward to my early 20s and I enjoyed Myer’s Dark rum with orange juice, Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmopolitans, Tequila Sunrise and Kahlua with milk, cream and/or vodka. So yea, I wanted sweet cocktails, preferably ones that hid the flavor of the base spirit.
When I met Eddie his mother introduced me to Vodka Tonics. Later came single spirits, for Eddie it was Chivas Regal blended Scotch whisky, for me my tastes evolved much later, into single malt, as there’s what Eddie became more interested in. I was covering cocktail events, which we both loved, and then whisky events. In both I was learning more and more about the spirits, and how to make cocktails with them.
While I prefer gin cocktails like a Negroni or a Martini, Eddie prefers whisky. So added to my home-bartending recipes are the Sazerac, Old Fashioned and Manhattan.
I never drank White Zinfandel. When that was introduced I was enjoying red Zinfandel. I can remember being at Sutter Home in Napa and everyone ordering White Zinfandel, it was the moment I had to start saying “red” before the word Zinfandel to get what I wanted. Thank God that craze is over.
After we got married my sister-in-law and her husband invited us to a vertical wine tasting at Concannon. I didn’t know what that was at the time but quickly learned that we were to taste the same wine from the same winery over several years. It was U.S. my a ha moment as we carefully studied the difference in each vintage. A few years later, during our first trip to France, I wanted to visit Willi’s Wine Bar that I had read about in Wine Spectator. I’ve written about Willi’s several times over the years, suffice it to say that being introduced to the perfect Chateau Lynch Bages Bordeaux with owner Mark Williamson was a turning point for me.
Around the same time my first wine classes were via The Wine House in West Los Angeles: starting with sparkling wine and junk food, Chardonnay Fests, Cab Fests, and a few weeks worth of classes just on France. It would be decades later, after already obtaining my WSET Level Two that I would return there for classes held there by the North American Sommelier Association and my Level One Sake Certification.
Now, how did you get started?
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.