Boozy Beginnings

Boozy Lifestyle

I’ve been keeping something from you. Before your imagination runs wild, I’ll say it. I’ve been writing a book. Technically, I’ve been developing the Boozy Lifestyle blog into a book. I guess President’s Day is as good a day as any to begin sharing it with you, my readers. Cue the music…fanfare plays…presenting the first excerpt.

Boozy Beginnings

In the beginning, there was beer. Even as a newly legal drinker, I wanted something more interesting than Budweiser. I found light and dark Lowenbrau and mixed them to create my own version of black and tan. Along came Sam Adams which opened the floodgates for the microbrew revolution. Slaving away at my day job, I dreamed of becoming a beer connoisseur. Seriously, Michael Jackson (not the singer) did it!

I first discovered Jackson on his show called “The Beer Hunter” in which he examines beer culture in different countries. Who wouldn’t want to travel around the world tasting beer? His seminal 1977 book, “The World Guide To Beer” was ground-breaking in categorizing beer styles and associating them with regions and cultures.

In the mid-1990’s, a friend gave me a Robert Parker Wine Buyers Guide, but it was too early for an interest in wine to take root. My wine chapter began around Christmas of 2003 when a colleague gifted me a bottle of Italian red wine that I really enjoyed. I started sampling some different wines and reading articles and books by Ray Isle, Matt Kramer, Eric Asimov, and others.

I’m lucky to have found a husband to share the enjoyment of wine and spirits with me; especially wine, because if I didn’t have someone to share a bottle with me, I’d probably drink the whole thing myself. An early part-time bartending job fostered his interest in mixology. Later, he leveraged his knowledge of computer programming to develop and sell point-of-sale/inventory software for liquor stores. Eventually, we quit our day jobs and became business partners in our own wine and liquor store.

We considered trying the wines that we sold in the store as “doing our homework” and tried to be objective about a wine’s characteristics. Ultimately, customers want to spend their hard-earned cash on something they enjoy. And so we began to learn the language of wine with the goal of describing it by its qualities rather than, “I like it” or, “It tastes bad”.

After we sold the wine shop and I returned to my day job, I had an idea that it would be fun to express my interest in wine by writing a blog. A brainstorming session produced a bunch of good ideas for blog titles and Twitter handles, but I found that the early birds had beaten me to the worm; most of our ideas were already taken. At one point, my drinking buddy suggested “wine connoisseur.” I bristled at the term’s pretentiousness and replied, “I’m not qualified enough to call myself a connoisseur.” He asked, “Then what are you, a ‘kindasseur’?” And the Winekindasseur was born.

Topics of the blog expanded beyond wine to include spirits and cocktails. Since it’s not good to drink on an empty stomach, food and recipes were added. An occasional random thought also weaved its way into the Winekindasseur tapestry.

A couple of years later, I found myself with the luxury of free time due to early retirement from the day job. I decided to build on the Winekindasseur blog and write this book. I soon learned that if you tell someone you’re working on a book, the first questions they ask are, “What is it called?” and, “What it is about?” Better be ready to answer.

My answer began with a list of things the book covers; wine, food, pairings, cocktails, drink labs, and recipes interjected with a few humorous personal stories. For most people, that’s just too much information. Another conversation with my drinking buddy yielded “tipsy” which has a polite feminine connotation, but a quick search on the Internet showed that Bethany Frankel had already established “Tipsy Girl” as a brand.

Inspiration struck during cocktail hour one evening when I referred to our routine as our “boozy lifestyle”. In a trendy culture of beauty, fitness, and fashion lifestyle gurus, the idea of being a boozy lifestyle expert carries a measure of irony with it. The word ‘boozy’ expresses just the irreverence I was looking for; not youthful, feminine, or especially well-mannered.

I’m not a certified wine expert, an award-winning mixologist, a gourmet chef, or even a celebrity. But rather than give up and let my inner critic gain the upper hand, I’m making it my mission is to infuse a little happiness and humor into a disgruntled world by sharing my boozy lifestyle experience.

I could tell you how I spend every waking hour slaving away in the pursuit of my ambitions, thus proving how passionate I am about what I do, but it would be untrue. I once read a piece by Arianna Huffington entitled, “Getting A Good Night’s Sleep Is More Important Than You Think”. It begins with her collapse from exhaustion triggering an epiphany of the importance of a good night’s sleep. I always thought that knowing you need a good night’s rest was called “common sense”.

While the boozy lifestyle doesn’t require suffering in the pursuit of your dreams, that’s not to say we need to settle for mediocrity. There is certainly a joy to be found in quality, both in recognizing it around you and nurturing it within you. Happiness is found in the little things.

Living a good, full life doesn’t mean that you need to travel the world, drink the most expensive champagne, or own a mansion. For most of us strong relationships are the means to making us feel needed, useful, and loved. What makes us feel good about ourselves makes us happy. What better way to nourish a relationship than to share a hearty meal and raise a glass?

Daily life doesn’t have much in common with our ancestors of 9000 years ago, but one thing we still do is drink fermented beverages. The ancients who drank for religious and medicinal purposes may not have been social drinkers, but the concept of social drinking is well-documented at the time of ancient Greece. Habitual drunkenness and extreme intoxication were frowned upon; however, the practice of drinking moderately during banquets and symposia became a social norm.

A couple of millennia later, we’re still practicing social drinking to grease the wheels of interpersonal relationships. We celebrate good news, weddings, babies, promotions, and holidays by saying, “Cheers”. Of all the things you learn in college, social drinking may be the skill you use the longest and most often.

Early adulthood is also the time of life to learn about overindulgence, where drinking is sometimes treated as a competitive sport. The games may change but the concept of drinking games or competitions is old as dirt. I’ll concede that a game of beer pong or a few rounds of drunk Jenga can be fun occasionally but guzzling cheap beer from a beer bong too often may eventually land you in rehab.

A boozy lifestyle is a balancing act; to enjoy imbibing and eating the good stuff without over-indulging.

Published by J Reilly

I've been writing the Boozy Lifestyle blog since 2014 and recently expanded upon it to create my new book, Boozy Lifestyle: Elevate The Everyday With Booze As Your Muse. The book is a collection of stories celebrating and inspiring everyday life with entertaining tales of wine, food, booze, travel, and family, and including over 50 food and drink recipes. Visit me on Twitter at J Reilly@Boozy_Lifestyle or BoozyLifestyle.com

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