It was sometime in December, and things were busy. I hadn’t packed a lunch, I didn’t really have time to run out and grab something. So I headed over to the Gourmet Grocery and Cheese Counter to order a sandwich.
They have a great variety of exciting cheeses. Admittedly, I don’t know much about gourmet cheese other than the fact that I like it. After a few glassy-eyed minutes scanning over the hundreds of options, I politely asked for a sandwich with a soft-looking cheese with an Italian name I did not recognize.
The cheese monger seemed miffed. She crossed her arms, she frowned, and she exclaimed to a coworker, He wants the Taleggio (or Fontina, or Delice de Jura, or whatever it was) on a sandwich! He wants it with mustard and onions she counted on her fingers and mayonnaise and tomato and lettuce…
… All of which just made my mouth water. I could tell that I had committed a grave offense to those closest to gourmet cheese. As I ate my sandwich with all its nutty complexities and faint smell of feet, I wondered if I might have metaphorically mixed Margaux and cola which may or may not really be a thing.
I worry that it’s too easy to fetishize the product itself the wine or spirit or beer and miss out on its full potential. Why are we so afraid of corrupting these things?
I’m not saying everyone has to mix everything they drink, but I too often find myself overreacting to the mere suggestion of mixing, either in disapproval (you’re wasting that single malt in soda?) or in disgust (your’re mixing wine and beer … gross!) without a second thought.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about; we’ll return to it. Until then, here’s another story:
I was out with a large group of people, most of us in the alcohol industry and a few that weren’t. We were at one of the many excellent beer bars this city boasts. The place had a killer tap list offering about thirty great beers. We ordered our choices, exciting stuff we had not yet been able to try, or old favorites.
Only one person, not a member of the alcohol trade, picked something from the menu’s Beer Cocktails section, a concoction of stout, framboise lambic, and house-infused vanilla vodka. What’s not to like?
It was delicious. Like … mindblowingly amazing. Full and round; adult liquid candy. And had I (along with several others) not stolen a sip, I would have never known.