I went back home to New Jersey for Christmas and when I go back to my childhood home, I can’t help but to revert back to childhood dreams, memories, and desires. My bookshelf in my room is full of Lonely Planet guides, memoirs of people curing infectious diseases, how to teach yourself guitar, how to get into college theatre programs, guides to human rights law, and environmental essays. In my brain, all of these eventually led to work in a non-profit organization visiting children in Africa with AIDS or creating programs to mentor young women. I was going to change the culture whether I was a lawyer or a famous musician.
Now I visit home for Christmas from Austin, Texas and when I get back, I am about to embark on a new job in the new year. In a blink of the eye, I’ve scored a job as a spirits representative in Austin and San Antonio and my focus on the bar community has gotten me further in a career than any other of these lavish human rights campaigns. Not only do I feel like something's working but I feel so at home with my bar brethren. I find myself alone on this vacation craving Idido pourovers and finding my sparkling water in need of a dash of bitters. I also jumped a little too quickly on the Oban 14 year in my cousins’ basement in a desperate attempt to feel high off of pears, honey, and wood. Now that I'm back, I'm ready to kick it in to high gear and start selling some obscure liqueurs but reflecting on my trip home and my bookshelf of past dreams has had me thinking, what am I doing now for the greater good? We try so hard to convert people from their dirty vodka martinis, their Grey Goose and sodas, and their Crown and Cokes. We want to change the culture one vodka-cranberry at a time but really- what am I and others in the field trying to do here?
I found this definition:
1. To heighten; to increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness.
2. To make greater, as in value, beauty, or effectiveness; augment.
To provide with improved, advanced, or sophisticated features.
I don’t think you need statistics to realize that drinking is part of our American lives whether it’s the coffee we drink in the morning, the afternoon tea, your happy hour cocktail, and wine nightcaps. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that our eating and drinking habits are our most treasured interactions that we have with our planet. When we are drinking coffee, we are drinking from roasted beans from Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Indonesia. When we’re at the bar, we’re drinking barley from Scotland, agave from Mexico, herbs from the base of the Alps, and grapes from Sicily. We drink coffee for our morning buzz, tea for our peaceful release, and alcohol in order to lose our inhibitions and say what we really feel. We’re engaging all of our senses in bitterness, tannin, sweet, sour, flowers, cedar, leather, and vanilla from plants all over our world and all the while affecting the land, the coffee farmers, and the jimadors.
If I can make your buzz stronger and your calm more peaceful all by showing you that you are also enhancing the lives of those halfway around the world, I’ve done a good job. If I can replace your ethanol experience with an Old Tom Gin Martinez and blow away your senses with sweet, cherry, herbs, and roses that you’ll remember five years from now, I’ve done a good job. If I can get you to step out of your comfort zone and try something you have never even heard of before, I’ve done a good job.
I know I may be waxing poetic or stretching it here. I could possibly be full of it or it might not be that big of a deal. Maybe I’m just selling vermouth but what I do know is that all of my personal conversations, experiences, and thoughtful moments by myself are enhanced when a cappuccino blows my mind or my cocktail blends to perfection. I’ll remember that moment exactly for its sight, smell, and taste and be reminded of it when I sense it again. It enhances a moment and everyday experiences to the next level and I think that’s what we’re really trying to do here.
To follow up on some viral ideas, my 2012 word is enhance. I will do my best to do it not just in the careers or accounts I’m taking on but in every aspect of my life. I want to pay attention to its detail, try something I haven’t tried before, and enhance our small everyday moments in every way possible. I’d like to not just to that for myself but to stretch the ideas far and wide and enhance the lives of others and those around me in tiny and sensual ways. I'd also like to take more time to properly thank those who have enhanced my life. To that, a shot of Batavia arrack.