Today’s celebration was as generic as it comes and while it is easy to celebrate beverages, it’s kind of hard to do anything that really makes it stand out in any kind of way. Beverages could mean anything from water to coffee to beer or even Long Island Iced Teas. When I woke up today, I knew I had a clean slate ahead of me in which to celebrate my beverage of choice, so that’s when the Long Island Iced Teas started flowing.
Ok, not really. That would have greatly changed how this day went. My National Beverage Day started the same way it does everyday: with a fresh brewed coffee latte. Coffee to me is kind of a new thing (within the last ten years). Lola however has been a coffee achiever for decades, back into her teens. It took her a while to bring me over to the coffee side, but when I did, I jumped in feet first. My original allure of coffee was the caffeine which made me enjoy the burst of energy (and crave more). So my trip into the world of coffee has gone by the way of espresso so I could get the most caffeine delivery into my system at once. I was hooked on Dunkins for a while, especially with my long trips to New Hampshire, but lately I have tried to wane off their allure and make my own whenever I can. We use an Aeropress contraption for our coffee which basically pushes hot water through ground coffee and a filter and out comes a nice strong cup of Joe. Then we have our frother to create our own foamy milk so that we can make our lattes at home. Making that first cup of coffee has become a ritual now where you line up your tools and put them to work, not unlike a heroin addict taking out their shooting-up kit. The dance is part of the thrill. In any case, that’s how today started – one beverage down.
I was working a long shift today so for more caffeine, right before I showered, I opened up a can of Arizona Ice Tea’s Arnold Palmer. We don’t normally have these around but they were leftover from Lola’s birthday so I have been enjoying them all week long. They are nice and refreshing, just like Arnie would want them. In case you didn’t know, an Arnold Palmer is a mix of iced tea and lemonade. I was always glad that Arnie was getting paid for his creation. It was part of his whole story – his legend. While every golfer should know the legend of Arnie on the links, the rest of the world can continue to associate him with his contributions to the beverage world. That’s why I can get behind this particular brand – they put Arnie right on the can and he (now his estate) get a little piece of the pie. Arnie earned it. That was my beverage two for the day.
As I left for work, I grabbed a bottle of water (beverage three), and drove the ten minutes down the road. I don’t think I have officially come out on the blog with where I have been working, but today seems like a good day to mention it. I’ve been working as a bartender at the Newport Vineyards which is the largest vineyard in New England and conveniently right down the road. I basically pour wine all day for people taking tastings and trying the different varieties and vintages offered there. The bottle of water is key to my success at work because apart from keeping me hydrated, one of my tasks during the day is to give tours of the vineyard and when you are talking to a tour, your mouth gets dry. The water keeps me lubricated so I don’t have a coughing fit in the middle of my spiel. I am not particularly knowledgable about wine but I am picking it up and kind of fudging through what I don’t know. I imagine my tours are probably 25% fiction, but I can say it with enough conviction that it sounds believable. Most of the job is really just pouring wine and that’s pretty much what I did all day today from 10 am to about 6pm straight. I poured Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Riesling, some Gewürztraminer and even some hard cider. I talk about them as best I can (“this one is fruity with a nice oaky afterbirth”) and then I keep them moving through with a smile on my face. It gets pretty busy there on Saturdays too with bachelorette parties filling the place all afternoon. It’s a different side of the hospitality world than I’m used to, but service is service and making people happy is the same wherever you are. It’s a job, but as I reflect on National Beverage Day, I would say that I am certainly celebrated beverages today by pouring wine to lots of happy, thirsty people.
It was a long day and I only had a few minutes to take a break so when I got the chance, I decided to stick to the beverage theme. The Vineyard is also home to the local Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning which sets up around the stainless steel tanks and oak barrels in the building. Once the weather allows, the market will move outside, but until then, it coexists alongside the wine tasters every Saturday morning. It also allows us, the employees, a few choices for food on our Saturday lunch break. By the time I got my chance to take a break however, the Market was shutting down and most vendors had packed up for the day. Then I found one who was still packing up but still had some product out. His business was called The Power of Juice and he was essentially selling jars of fresh cold pressed juice. He had a ton of varieties available but most were packed away. I was looking for something quick. I saw that his fresh pressed orange juice was right on top, so that’s what I went with. Had I more time, I may have tried a juice that packed a little more nutrition because there were all kinds of nice, healthy options, but I had to grab and go quickly, so OJ it was. Then I guzzled it down. It was just as fresh and tasty as the fresh juice I had enjoyed earlier in the week. It was nice and cold too and the perfect refreshing beverage to tide me over. I’m going to see if I can try a different flavor next week because his juice was that good.
The juice came in a neat little jar too which when you drank from it, made you feel like you were breaking some kind of rule like a rebel – like drinking straight from the milk carton. This was my nourishment for the day and it actually kept me full for the rest of my shift. The tasting area closes down around 5 pm and then it takes a good hour to clean up and get out of there. Today however, thanks to a new register system, everything got delayed. So when I would normally get out around 6:30 or so, today we were there until 8 pm. At the end, we were all just waiting around for the cash register drawers to be reconciled, so it was a long unexpected delay. While we waited with nothing else to do, we were allowed to have a glass of wine (after we punched out). That was a way for them to say thanks for the hard work that we had all done throughout the day. At that point, after being in the building for nearly 11 hours and hustling the whole time, an adult beverage is about the best kind of beverage you could possibly want. I opted for a glass of the hard cider just to mix it up. It was cold, sweet and refreshing and the perfect cap to an otherwise hectic day.
I got home way later than I expected to be. When I left in the morning, I had visions of stopping at the grocery store on the way home and cooking a nice dinner for us. That plan went out the door and instead, I picked up some subs from a pizza place. It was that kind of day. I was pretty hungry at this point too, so I started scarfing down my sandwich as soon as I got home. I still had half of my Arnie Palmer from the morning left, so I sipped that along with my dinner. It was a long day but it wound down with another relaxing beverage in my hand. I actually fell asleep on the couch later in the night which is not something I typically do. All that beverage hustling can wipe you out.
A pretty generic day of celebration, but I think I really did celebrate the beverage. Every beverage I had today had its own special purpose which celebrates the diversity of this category. The coffee got me going. The Arnie Palmer refreshed me. The water hydrated me. The juice nourished me. The wine made others happy. And the hard cider made me happy. That’s pretty indicative of what beverages can do. Obviously we need beverages to live and water is one of the basic needs of any creature. But we also want beverages too for what they give us. They fill us up and today was all about appreciating what it all means to our everyday life. Good to the last drop. Cheers.
Next Up: National Roast Leg of Lamb Day