Playful Spirits

Someone asked me the other day what my beverage of choice was.

Oddly enough, the answer was water.

That doesn’t mean that if given the chance that I am not willing to imbibe something stronger. The image above should offer some proof to the contrary.

Being diabetic, I don’t drink as much or as often as I might have in younger days. And having spent a fair amount of time producing beverages for guests on private railcar trips, I have shared more than an occasional cocktail after the day is done.

As one Michaeleen Oog Flynn put it best, “When I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey; and when I drink water, I drink water.”

The choice of beverage depends on situations and company. On some days, indeed whiskey. Bourbon (Jim Beam), Tennesee Whiskey (Jack Daniels or Gentleman Jack), Irish Whiskey (Bushmills and now Concannon), Scotch Whisky (Macallan, Johnny Walker Blue Label). Usually neat or on the rocks, again depending on where or when.

On other days, rum. Light rum, dark rum and in between. Fond of Trader Vic’s Dark Rum (especially in the oh so traditional old school Mai Tai’s floated on top), Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum and Bacardi Anejo. Rum just has so many great varieties that go so well in all kinds of cocktails.

And yet on other days, nothing is quite so refreshing as a good old Gin and Tonic or a classic Tom Collins. Anchor Junipero is a popular favorite with some folks on train trips.

But it doesn’t end there. Not by any means. Gran Marnier? A fine accompaniment any time. Port? Sure. a good tawny port and some blue cheese is a treat. Viano Winery in Martinez makes a tasty Zinfandel Port, too.

Beer? You bet! Great German “bier” can’t be beat and Oktoberfest is one great party in Munich that every true beer drinker should experience. (We American’s are such amateurs at beer drinking compared to the Germans. Truly.) And California has many great small breweries with all kinds of beers to enjoy. I’m a fan of a number of them, again different beers for different situations. Although a frosty mug of Fat Tire with a Pinky’s Pizza right from the oven is hard to beat anytime.

Wine? Again, all over the map. So many varietals and so many great wineries around the world. From Germany, the Johanisberg Riesling from Schloss Johanisberg is a favorite. And here in California, Zinfandel from Silverado is another. (Wine is a story all it’s own for another day.)

The answer is that enjoying a beverage truly comes down to the place, the time and the company. And nothing wrong with any of that. As a friend once observed, “It’s always Happy Hour somewhere.”

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