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Posted: February 16, 2012

She drinks hard for the money

Somebody's got to do it

Cathie Beck—The Wine Wench

I've had a credo my entire adult life when it comes to mingling with work folks and drinking alcohol. It is this: I don't.

Right or wrong, I made drinking with colleagues verboten because of New Orleans. In 1980s New Orleans, Louisiana, any event was a reason to drink. Schwegman's - as but one example - was a large, warehouse grocery store that served beer directly inside its mammoth industrial front doors. Two bars welcomed you the moment you got a grocery cart, and shoppers leisurely walked the aisles sipping Dixie while deciding on Cheerios or Frosted Flakes.

Moreover, 1980s New Orleans oil money flew all about, so decadent "drinking lunches" happened on any average Tuesday, or Thursday, any other work day. Starting out with gallon-sized pitchers of high-octane margaritas, "to wash down the ‘erster po'boys'," was the norm.

You get the picture (or the pitcher) and it often wasn't pretty. Workers slept under desks in the afternoons. Fights broke out in law offices. People got fired.

So imagine the sweet irony I now face getting paid to drink. Wait, it gets worse. I drink while I work and then I get paid for that. Yes, sitting mesmerized by a sommelier's aura while she pours heavenly nectar from any number of world-class vintners into stemware happens relatively routinely, but that's only part of the pointedly ironic pie.

On Feb. 29, I'll attend something called a "Whiskey Swirling" because wine's not hardcore enough when you're going to fall off the pontificating (never drink at work!) platform. I've always wondered about whiskey and scotch and what all the reverent "single malt, double malt" business was about.

Rackhouse Pub will host the "ACG Denver Corporate Executive Series Whiskey Swirling" for C-Level executives and business owners of companies with annual revenue greater than $5 million. There will be hors d'oeuvres and the chance to learn about the history and full spectrum of whiskey. (Contact Louise Richardson at lrichardson@acg.org  for further information.)

But more important than the mingling and money talk sure to ensue on Feb. 29, I'll learn about scotch and I'll learn about whiskies. I'll get a whiff of what the whiskey lovers wax on about when they get that glazed look in their eye and note that their drink, "hints of molasses, vanilla, leather, and licorice notes to go along with a mild spiciness due to higher rye content."

Whatever. Most important in all of this is this: As I spend the evening relaxing into the cigar smoke and the joie de vie of the night, I'll sip something spectacular and learn why it is so. It is, after all research - and let's not forget, it is my work.

And someone has to do it. <wicked grin>

One Winning Wine Tasting

It's like a wine tasting, only better. Purchase Red Diamond wine (www.reddiamondwinery.com ) during the month of February and the Red Diamond Winery and Argonaut will donate together $12 per case which equals 48 meals to Food Bank of the Rockies (www.foodbankoftherockies.org ).

Weird Wine Trivia

• Poor soil quality tends to produce better wines. The trick is to "challenge" the vines by making them "work" harder.
• Although red wine can only be produced from red grapes, white wine can be produced from both red and white grapes.
• Need to set your food or drink on fire? The way to do it is to preheat the vessel holding the alcohol, as well as a portion of the alcohol itself. Certain alcoholic beverages are exempt of this rule however and are readily combustible.
• What is proof? It is alcohol content in half the proportion of the proof degree specified. A 200 percent proof vodka would taste as alcohol, as its alcoholic content would be 100 percent. However no such content has been yet recorded on commercial products. In the early days of alcohol trading, whiskey was mixed with gunpowder in order to determine if the alcohol content was high enough to set the gunpowder aflame. (It is inadvisable to attempt to test this fact; consequences could be dire).

Cathie Beck, a/k/a The Wine Wench, can be reached at: TheWineWench@comcast.net. Please forward any and all wine events, wine-related news items directly to her.

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