Ordering Wine on a Date

While it’s not technically a professional drinking event, there are some similar tips you can keep in mind when it comes to ordering wine if you’re on a date.

The first rule of drinking on a date is not to get hammered.  It can happen easily – both of you are nervous, the drinks flow well, especially if the company is good and before you know it, you can’t stand so good.  So watch your consumption, particularly on a first date, it’s not a good look.

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Wine Tasting

One of the great ways to expand your palate beyond a wine club is by tasting wine with friends.  This is one of the ways Sommeliers grow their wine knowledge, they taste a broad diversity of wines – lots of grapes from lots of regions.  You can pretty easily emulate this yourself.

A Tasting Group

The simple move is to find some friends that want to expand their wine knowledge and invite them over.  The usual rule is that everyone brings a bottle to share with the group and they have to know something about what they brought so they share the wine and the knowledge.  This doesn’t have to break the bank.  There are lots of wines with great typicity under $20 a bottle. 

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The 20 Cocktails You Should Know (and Try)

There has been a rise of the celebrity bartender and the use of local fresh ingredients.  I think that’s a great thing and offers a chance to have some fun with a cocktail before we head to dinner and wine.  Most of these drinks are not designed to pair with food, but rather they are meant to be enjoyed stand alone.

Even with the explosion of cocktails and craft cocktails, they generally follow the structure of one of the drinks listed below.  I picked 20 cocktails that can certainly be called classic but it would be easy to argue more onto the list and I wouldn’t object.

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Beer Basics

Beer isn’t considered the classiest drink, but I have to admit after a round of golf on a warm day, it is hard to beat.  You can’t go frat party crazy when doing business golf or at an event, but many times, I’ll have a beer in place of a cocktail.  It’s a great way to hydrate a little and pace yourself for the evening.  I’ll usually switch to wine for dinner, but instead of a martini or a Manhattan, a beer is an acceptable approach. 

Beer has been brewed for thousands of years, back to the Beowulf days of mead.  This beverage has lots of variations and modifications, only limited by brewmaster creativity, but I am going to hit just the top types of beer you’ll run into (and want to taste).

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The Seven Noble Grapes

The most basic wine knowledge involves an understanding of a very limited set of what are called Noble Grapes or International Varietals.

These are the grapes that make the dominant proportion of fine wines around the world.  This is partially because these grapes are hardy enough to grow in most wine climates and they happen to make some pretty excellent juice.  Now, this set of 7 grapes is just scratching the surface of grapes used to make great wine.  We could easily add another dozen popular grapes.  Even at 20 grapes, realize that Italy alone has over 1000 indigenous grapes that are used to make wine, so it depends how far you want to extend your knowledge.   For now, it’s going to be 7 grapes.

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What Do You Do When the Host Hands You the Wine List?

One of the more uncomfortable situations is when you are at a dinner and the host hands you the wine list and asks you to pick.  This usually happens when you are the guest of honor, and even more complex, when in a foreign country.  This is fraught with risk.  It’s very easy to embarrass yourself or your host with an inappropriate selection.  The biggest risk is around getting a bottle at an acceptable price.

So, what do you do?

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The Dirty Little Secret about Sweet Wines

One of the most commonly misused words when people order wine is “Sweet”.  When wine people say a wine is sweet, they mean that there is residual sugar in the wine, in other words, not all the grape juice has been converted into alcohol.  This is a winemaker choice.  When a diner asks for sweet wine, they normally mean fruity, lots of juicy fruit on the nose and palate.

But there is a lot more to sweet wines.

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