Something Interesting to Drink: no alcohol

It is no secret that I do not drink alcohol. Never have. This personal life choice, which shouldn’t be such a big deal, has a surprising impact on my life. No, it hasn’t help me avoid a series of bad choices as I make those quite well while sober, but other things like making me the rugby team’s all time designated driver, countless corporate happy hours where you answer the same silly questions over and over and over (because drunk people think this is interesting and charming) but the biggest effect this teetotaling has had on me, is limiting my options regarding interesting beverages.appleclosegraff

For a period of time some friends and I took matters into our own hands, and we got quite good at it if I may say so, but it was not sustainable. I need other options.

For Christmas I want something interesting to drink.

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Before I dive into a list, let me point out a site for soda reviews that is unparalleled in breadth and quality: Five star soda. They are good. You can trust them.

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Now the list:

Blenheim Ginger ale is always number one for me. It is a bit too hard to find but its burn your face off spiciness is worth the effort. Solid number two is Absinthe soda (made by Saiteaux). Tastes like liquid black licorice and I LOVE it. Then as you move down the soda spectrum just keep in mind super sweet is not my thing, but spicy or tart usually works. Blood orange, lime, clove, birch, anise, lemon, ginger, raspberry, etc. etc. If in LA, go to Galco’s.

Drinking chocolate, dark and spicy. You know, Mexican style with chili and cinnamon. The darker, spicier, and thicker the better.greatfruitmate

I love yerba mate. I drink it mostly unsweetened, preferably through a bombilla from a gourd and in a group, but solo from my matermo is just fine. I like the taste but even more I like the equipment and the process. My default setting with most foods or beverages is to go too fast. Mate makes me slow down a bit. This is a good thing.

Don’t go to Whole Foods or some place similar and pay $25 for a 2lb bag. Find a latin market and buy a 5lb bag of Rosamante, CBSe, or Taragui for $10. Or, pretty much any mate anything from gauchogourmet.com

Just steer clear of a six pack of Diet Coke.

 

Old Town Rootbeer Company: Temecula, CA

My co workers were all happy to be spending the weekend in wine country. I was curious about his whole wine country thing, I’ve never been to there, but I wasn’t exactly excited. Words like Cabarnet Sauvignon at a dinner table normally mean I will spend the dinner not participating in conversation. It is amazing how much people talk about wine or alcohol in general.
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I know nothing about such things and consequentially have little to offer such conversations. This was on my mind as I turned onto Temecula’s main street with its old timey western storefronts.
The usual suspects were all there: trading post, art gallery with pastel Indian feathers, rootbeer shop.
Wait… rootbeer shop!?

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I ran an old woman off the sidewalk as I illegally parked the car and ran inside.

“Yes.” I said out loud when I stepped inside the door.

“Pardon? May I help you?” a tie dyed bearded kid asked.

“Yes. Just yes.”

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Olde Philadelphia, Virgil’s, Cheerwine, Kutztown, and Blenheim.
Upon seeing that last one I may have teared up just a little.

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“I’ll take six of those.” I ordered then started looking around.
They have it all and then have just a little bit more. The place isn’t huge, its a little more pricey then I would hope, but it is the best reason for a Mormon to drive to wine country I have ever seen.

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