Sunday, January 4, 2015

Better living through chemistry

I’ve become a crusader for decent cocktails.  Don’t get me wrong, I still like good whiskeys and certainly still enjoy beer and ciders, but over the past several years I’ve become a fan of the well-made cocktail.

Sadly, most cocktails are terrifying concoctions of cheap booze and cheaper sugars.  And don’t get me started on the unholy flavors of vodka spewed into the market in recent years.  Even in the face of the various “cocktail revivals” through the years, it is easier to get a bad cocktail than it is to get a good one in most places.  To be fair, it usually isn’t hard to find decent cocktails, but it is harder than it should be.

I am also an advocate of making good cocktails yourself.  Towards that goal, I gave a talk at BSides Las Vegas in 2013, “An Introduction to Bitters and Classic Cocktails” and at BSides Atlanta 2013 I joined Kati Rodzon in presenting “Five Cocktails Every Hacker Should Know” (we cheated and did more than five).  There have also been impromptu bitters tastings at DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas from my growing collection bitters, that essential component of so many great drinks.

And, I’ve recently become the resident bartender on the Security Weekly podcast, because every security podcast needs drinks poured from the in-studio tiki bar.

I’m not an expert by any means, it is a hobby and an amusement, but I’ve learned a few things that I wish I’d known when I started down this path.  I’ll share some of these tips and tricks in upcoming posts- quick takes on topics such as equipment, glassware, sweeteners, spirits, and books (spoiler alert: you don’t need much to get started, and you can do a lot with a little improvisation and creativity).

Cheers

Jack

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