Spirit Forums

rsz_diaryFor oh’so many reasons, this ol’ Internets thing that we’re both using is fantastic.  Today alone while playing around online, I have planned a two separate events: a Gin and a second Absinthe event for the Washington State Bartender’s Guild (WSBG), I have argued politics, I have read the new menu at Portland’s Teardrop Lounge and I have purchased pomegranate molasses online after reading about how one actually makes pomegranate molasses…  The most amazing thing that I did today is sit down here on this comfy couch at Liberty in order to opine via Alcohology’s blog after first being inspired by not just Teardrop’s fantastic cocktail menu but by a great forum for cocktail enthusiasts.  This act is “amazing” simply because this act is possible – thanks to the ol’ Internets.

I am most thankful for what many probably still do now know about: Internet Forums.  These forums where groups of like-minded people meet to discuss – well, whatever they like, and these forums can really be amazing additions to our lives.  For instance, think of an aspect of your life that really captures your interests…  What do you love to do?  What do you love to learn about?  What do you love to help others learn about?  Well, chances are, there’s a web-forum somewhere to allow you to indulge this interest.

And, what’s the most amazing thing about these forums?  Picture this:  Let’s take my particular interest du moment: Cocktails/Spirits/Distilling.  On many cocktail forums, it’s not rare to have top selling authors of cocktail books, celebrated bloggers or other world-class experts join the discussions just like anyone else with a computer, a keyboard and an internet connection.

'Imbibe', by David Wondrich

'Imbibe', by David Wondrich

For instance, have you ever read any David Wondrich?  He educates millions in every one of his columns about cocktails for Esquire magazine, he writes fantastic books and has a flair for the word and a flair for the creative cocktail which he has thankfully combined into a career.  How about Robert Hess?drinkboy He’s the guy that almost 10 years ago created the home on the web for people interested in Cocktails when as a Microsoft Exec, he started the Drinkboy forums on MSN.  Until recently when the Drinkboy forums and ever other MSN form was closed – he had thousand upon thousands of cocktail enthusiasts regularly coming to the forum to read, learn ask questions and give advice – all for free.

So, in terms of liquor forums, which might you find interesting?

The Chanticleer Society

First, let’s look at the most important pan-spirits forum and website – The Chanticleer Society,chaticleer1where their motto is, Ad Galli Caudam Propagandam: For the good of the cocktail.  Says their charter, “In an effort to establish an organization that will be designed by cocktailians, for cocktailians, and allow them to gather together and exchange information and insights, we have created the “Chanticleer Society“…One goal of the Chanticleer Society is to establish ambassadors around the world who will be able to provide local details and information about bars, bartenders, and cocktail trends which will aid others in knowing where in their area to go for a great cocktail experience.

On any day in the Chanticleer Society’s forums, you will see some of the world’s most creative, knowledgeable and famous ‘cocktailians’ discussing the the minutia of the cocktail, of spirits and of the world where these cocktails and spirits are consumed.  Just today alone, there are discussions about Cocktail Shaker History, of Old Tom Gin, of books and great bars and bar experiences.  “Cocktail Shaker History”?  You’ll be surprised that people can discuss with authority the issues relating to this history – which goes back to the time when people were casually drinking Old Tom Gin.

Straight Bourbon

Straight Bourbon is the place to go to discuss bourbon.  Similar to the membership of the Chanticleer Society, at straightbourbonStraight Bourbon, you will find the worlds most experienced and knowlegable people in this context casually contributing to the discussions.  Over 80 different bourbons are still distilled and aged here in America with some labels going back to the turn of the century, and believe me when I tell you that not a nuance is missed!  Want to worry over the question of whether the Old Charter 13yr is or is not being discontinued?  Or, ever dream about reading one punters review of the tasty Four Roses Single Barrel, followed up by a dozen or so comments and shared reviews?  No problem.  You’ll find all that and more.  Enjoy.


whiskydotcomFor Whisky – the non-American spelling, without the ‘e’ as is the practice for American ‘Whiskey’, there are a number of sites, but the most interesting and successful is the site at Whisky.com.  There’s not much to say about this one, but there is a close-following to this site,whiskymag so look there for any non-American-related whisky.  If you really need a question answerd about an odd single-malt, you may also want to try the forum over at Whisky Magazine, a great magazine to which any whisk(e)y lover should have a subscription.

The American Distiller Institute

Now, this one is for the true liquor geeks.  How is your favorite spirit actually made?  Well, here’s the place to not just read to find adi1out, but – you will actually be able to communicate with the actual distiller if you would like.  And, here’s where to go to see the fireworks, too.  Want to see how two distillers really feel about each other’s products?  Well, dig on in!  This is the full-contact option of the spirit’s related forums out there.

In online forums, great and lasting friendships can be made – all the while for the most part the people never having met each other.  I can think of some forums and how I can tell you tons of intimate information about a number of people – yet I don’t know them a’tall.  Another great aspect of this is the more you get into any one specific issue – you will find out about different kinds of get-togethers, perhaps finally get to meet your long-time ‘friends’.  Whether it’s Tales of the Cocktail or the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, for me – there’s a good chance to meet those that I’ve always wanted to meet, and maybe even stare down anyone that crossed me…

One last cautionary suggestion:  It’s really easy to express oneself in a manner different than how we would normally speak to each other in person, face to face.  I rarely say ‘That’s stupid‘ to someone in the real world, but man o’ man am I challenged to not write something like that from time to time online…

Enjoy.  Please let me know about any forums that you find, I’d love to see what else is out there.

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