Grumpy Greg Won’t Drink Cheap Booze


sad puppyHave I introduced you to Grumpy Greg? He lives at Sippity Sup and he shows his face there every now and again. Especially when something about food or the blogosphere irks him. Well, I’ve invited him here today to discuss something that I’m far too polite to ever bring up.

You see The Back Burner is a very professionally run endeavor. We have an editorial calendar that we use to bring some semblance of order, efficiency and yes, theme to our posts here each week. I think editorial calendars are great. In fact I think organization in general is terrific for all the same reasons I like MapQuest. Because I like to know where I’m going, and I like to get there in one piece.

This week on The Back Burner I noticed that the map we call the editorial calendar laid out the theme of budgets. I think the exact phrase was “budget friendly recipes”. Well, that puts me in a rather tight spot. You see, I won’t drink cheap booze. But I couldn’t just skip my post this week. I mean, I guess I could have just run a photo of a sad puppy dog and been done with it. But sad puppies make me cry. I bet they make you cry too. Bringing sadness is not my job here. Drinking (responsibly) should be fun. That’s when I got the idea of inviting Grumpy Greg over for a “guest post”. He’ll say all the things I’m too nice to say about “drinking on a budget”. GREG

Don’t drink cheap booze. There is no room for compromise here, because cheap booze is good for one thing, and one thing only– getting wasted. I don’t drink to get wasted and neither should you. Good liquor has nuance and balance. Cheap booze makes you lose your balance and forget how to spell nuance. Cheap booze’s only purpose is to be cheap. I guess the idea is that if the booze is cheap you can drink more. But drinking more more just because you can afford to is warped logic. It’s where the old phrase “Drink triple, see double, and act single” shows its wisdom.

Besides making a fool out of yourself, I would argue that cheap booze makes you sick. Cheap booze is not filtered as effectively or as often as the good stuff. Meaning it can have up to 37 times more toxic compounds, including nasty organic molecules such as acetone, acetaldehyde, tannins and furfurain that help lead to hangovers. I look at it this way. Would you eat food that contained any of that stuff? Then why would you drink it?

Let me try one more argument. When you think about it, the rules for drinking are not so different than the rules I follow for writing: Write what you know. Write every day. Never use a strange word when a simple one will do. Choose and savor quality words that hold meaning. Always finish the day’s writing when you could still write more. Which translates to: Drink what you know, drink regularly rather than in binges, avoid overly cute flavors of booze. Choose and savor quality brands you can enjoy, allowing you to leave the table while you can still stand.

I think a recipe will best illustrate my point. It comes from my friend and podcast partner Nathan, who blogs at The Chocolate of Meats. His is a liquor cabinet of the highest order. In fact we at The Table Set have a recurring segment titled “What’s in Nathan’s Liquor Cabinet?”. Guess what? It’s (almost) never cheap booze. Here’s a cocktail he calls Joie de Vivre. But I call it No Cheap Booze Cocktail, which is indeed joie de vivre. It features Ransom Old Tom Gin which is a historically accurate revival of the type of gin you would expect to find during the pre-prohibition golden age of American cocktails. What makes the Old Tom Gin style unique in today’s market is the fact that it’s barrel-aged, giving it a caramel color and a subtle maltiness. GRUMPY GREG

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.

  • Follow Greg on Twitter @SippitySup
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  • Look for Greg’s book Savory Pies coming Nov 2012, from Ulysses Press


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