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From Teetotaler to The Hooch Life

From Teetotaler to The Hooch Life

I come from a family of teetotalers. (Honestly, in 30 years of writing, I don’t think I’ve ever typed this very strange word.)

We didn’t have wine on the table. My dad didn’t have a drink when he got home from work. There were no cocktail parties at our house. There was no liquor cabinet from which to steal the occasional sip. The holiday eggnog wasn’t spiked. The communion wine was grape juice. And, to put it mildly, there are those who are less than thrilled about my new vocation as publisher and editor of The Hooch Life.

I had my first drink when I was actually 21. And for the next decade or so, I was a pretty terrible drinker. I drank terrible stuff. I drank in terrible places. I drank with absolute indifference to what I was drinking.

So here’s what I know.

Drinking may be fun. But drinking well is more fun.

An Old Fashioned (old-style) with the spicy edge of an authentic and hand-crafted American rye (maybe a WhistlePig). Stirred up by a bartender you’ve come to know over the course of time (maybe my friend, Marshall). At a real cocktail bar where the spirits are local, the cocktails are classic, and the vibe is unpretentious (maybe Williams & Graham in Denver). Early in the evening or early in the morning, when the faithful few are rewarded with the pleasures of meeting and making new friends (maybe experiencing the effects of the “boon to friendship, a dispeller of care,” as Reginald Vanderbilt described his favorite drink, and as quoted in Jason William’s excellent book, Boozehound).

This is why we publish The Hooch Life. And why, despite my teetotaler roots, I’m convinced that drinking well contributes to our friendships, our connections to the world, and our experiences in life.

Plus, it’s fun.



The Hooch Life Guide to American Whiskey