East coast trip final leg: Alumni Weekend


Our trip culminated in a return to my alum mater, Vermont Academy, located in the small village of Saxton’s River. VA is a great little school at which I spent three of my formative years and met some really wonderful people. That was ten years ago.


Second story corner room of Jones Hall, where it all went down.

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East coast trip day 1: First night out


We determined we would take it easy our first night in town. We are San Francisco health-nuts after all and wanted to run in the morning. So of course we stayed out until 3:00am and got wasted.


Cafe Orlin: Pinto Noir and the Maple Manhattan

Upon arrival in the East Village we had a great dinner at Cafe Orlin, accompanied by a great glass of Oregon Pinot and what they dubbed the “Maple Manhattan,” a very well-balanced combination of bourbon, lemon maple syrup and salt (the “secret ingredient”). Being from Vermont I obviously had to order this. Read more »


Whiskey gingers at the end of the world: Part 1


It wasn’t my intention to begin my column about drinking in Antarctica while sitting at the bar at 8am on a Tuesday, but now that it’s happened, it seems like a very fitting start to these cold- and bourbon-fueled insights into alcohol enthusiasm at the end of the world. My name is Tessa and I’m a vagabond artist and voluntary canary down the coal mine currently working as a cook down at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. For the next fourish months, I’ll be working and drinking from my little home on the Ross Island Ice Shelf, and will be regaling you with tales of inebriation from the very, very deep South.
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Haiku for Drunks: Friday


It’s Friday, Friday
The curse of Rebecca Black!
Sweet booze, heal my ears


Five o’clock feels far
Hands start to tremble at two
Make mine a double


Whiskey Thieves [ed. note: that’s a great fucking bar!] photo courtesy of Ariel Dovas, flickr.


Strange bedfellows: A Vegas adventure


Ah, Vegas, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Of course, I can’t tell you exactly what happened on each trip, I was sworn to secrecy upon arrival at McCarran International Airport by a scruffy man who approached me in the men’s room and assured me that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” In retrospect, I probably should have told an adult, but hey, IT’S VEGAS!

Forget the family-friendly image Vegas has been trying to push lately; Sin City is all about indulging your vices. And mine happens to be over-enthusing to my heart’s content.  Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that Vegas is not for everyone, but every alcohol-blooded, booze fan should think of it as Mecca: a holy place that every Enthusiast should pilgrimage to at least once in their lifetime—preferably once a year.
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Music for Enthusiasts: Tending bar at the saloon


No one is ever surprised to hear I work in a bar. What usually causes a few confused stares and a snicker or three is that I work in a country western bar—a saloon, actually. If the 8-foot sign reading “SALOON” by the front door does not alert you to the fact that you have atmospherically left Southeast Portland and been transported to somewhere in the middle of Montana or Wyoming, the saddle atop an old wooden barrel in front of the bar, the sepia-inspired lighting and extensive bourbon selection ought to do the trick.

If, however, your senses are too bewildered and booze-hazy for all of this to make an impression, the sounds of Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, Hank Williams (yes, Sr. and Jr.), or Johnny Cash will eventually tip even the most overly-enthusiastic of you off.
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Be proud, Enthusiasts!


I don’t usually wax philosophical (preferring more often to wax off—bah dump chssht!), but I wanted to take a moment to question a few things about drinking, or rather attitudes towards it here in the good ol’ US of A.

I’m talking about all the raised eyebrows and whispers around the watercooler when you show up to work hungover, the hangdog looks and the “I’m sorrys” that accompany particularly great nights out with the boys, even the stern talks with yourself in the mirror Saturday morning when you find the 200 bucks you took out for the whole weekend is now $16.89.

It’s a deep-seated thing, a bad genetic memory even—this Puritanical notion that drinking is bad. Not bad for you, or bad for the earth or bad tasting, but just simply Bad. Morally reprehensible. Evil. Wrong. There’s a stigma surrounding drinking and it’s especially prevalent in the US, where a good many of us are descended from our European brethren who made a run for it way back in the day. It runs deep in many and it’s time we put things in perspective.

I would like to posit to our readers that drinking is not only not bad, but good—even healthy and beneficial to the bodies, minds and souls of those that decide to partake of the Enthusiast’s much-maligned drug of choice. Here’s why:
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The museum of Jack Daniel’s

Have you ever had a good idea, only to find out that not only has someone already done it, they’ve taken it to a level you never even considered? Such was the case on our recent trip to Spain. We were heartily enjoying the varied nightlife of Barcelona and then Cadiz and I noticed that in every bar we went there was a distinct lack of bourbon. Not matter how nice the bar, how many different bottles they had on the wall, they only served Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s (which, as we all know, is actually Tennessee whiskey, not bourbon). Despite this, I began to fall in love with the country and started scheming on moving to Spain.

Now we’ve always dreamed of opening a bar. Naturally, this lack of decent bourbon, rather than indicate to me that there was a lack of demand, strongly indicated that there was a lack of supply. I mean, there must be others like me, or at the very least, potential bourbon lovers who just hadn’t had the opportunity to experience what the beverage could truly achieve. So I got to talking about how we would move to Cadiz and open a bourbon bar to support ourselves. Dream come true.
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