Monday, November 19, 2007

In medias res

The title of this "first" blog entry for Standards & Pours is a literary technique where a story starts from the middle rather than the beginning. The most famous example being The Odyssey. The story begins in the middle of Odysseus' story and we only get the beginning of the story when he retells it. The story then continues on its trajectory to the end. In the same way this first blog entry is preceded by a few previous posts simply because they were stories that could not go untold...

...OK, so maybe I was just trying to think of a fancy way to say that this blog was in the plans for a while and we've just gotten around to having it ready for public eyes.

Beverages have been a hot topic for a while. There was the rise of interest in mixology and the art of creating cocktails. More recently, well-known brands such as McDonalds and Wendy's have been introducing and tweaking beverage options.

The interest was noted, and the monthly Featured Beverage and Featured Cocktail were added to the Beverage Trends e-newsletter to showcase new and interesting things that were happening with beverages around the country. However, in the course of gathering material every month, there were times when profiling a single drink proved to be more difficult than one would imagine and a lot of things had to be cut or pushed to the side to keep the integrity of these two particular monthly features.

For example, limited-time offer drinks provided a lot of hurdles. In the summer months, chains would be coming out with competing summer flavors, but considering the nature of a "one drink per month" brief article, some drinks would lose out simply based on timing. This also was a problem with cocktails, where summer-only beverages would end up going head-to-head with each other. At the same time, when meeting with bartenders and mixologists to talk about their new menus or any new drinks, it'd be hard having to whittle down to one drink out of the six or eight I'd been presented with. All the photos and notes I took would have to be condensed into a short write up. Then after a period of abundance, a famine would hit and nothing would be usable because of "having been done before" or through trying to avoid similar flavor profile. There just were not enough opportunities to introduce all these items of information on beverages outside of the formal trappings briefs or news stories.

So rather than let interesting news and tidbits slip away, a blog seemed like a good place to chronicle my own sort of field notes to drinks as I go about learning more about them. On that note, I would like to dedicate this first entry to all the neglected and abandoned beverages I've left in my wake all the time I've worked on the Featured Beverages and Featured Cocktails.

This isn't a space for reviewing drinks, nor do I consider myself a tastemaker. However, if anything, I'm curious, and honestly it sort of is my job description as a journalist to continue to be curious and find out about things. And I'm bracing myself because the next line sounds corny even to me as I get ready to type it, but I would like to think that there are those who would like to accompany me in my continuing odyssey of doing just that.

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