I have been a long time admirer, and “cyber friend” of Jeffrey Morgenthaler. I like the guy and have mentioned him many times on The Liquid Muse. That's why I was a little taken aback by the snide tone in this declaration in a Mixology Monday post (where, by the way, all are welcome):
“There are a few reasons why I’m more excited than ever for Mixology Monday this month. First of all, I’m beside myself because our host is Jimmy Patrick, who is a fellow bartender and a good friend. Bartenders are a surprisingly rare breed in this little cocktail blogger community of ours, so he and I are often awash in a sea of pundits.”
I would like to interject, at this point, the definition of “pundit:”
"A pundit is someone who offers mass-media opinion, analysis or commentary on a particular subject area on which they are presumed to be knowledgeable…the term has been increasingly applied to popular media personalities lacking special expertise … it can be used in a derogative manner."
Now, I realize that Jeffrey was not singling me out – cuz I'm neither an "active" bartender nor a pundit, last time I checked - so I’m not going to get all “girly” on you here. However, the sentiment that as bartenders Jimmy and Jeffrey are "awash in a sea of pundits" raised my eyebrows…
Is one to believe that only a bartender holds the esteemed credentials to be a valid cocktail blogger? And, who exactly differentiates a “pundit” from an “expert?” And, to go one step further… let’s talk about the definition of a blog. Is it a “web log” more of a forum of the written word, or one of proving who can slam out '29 cosmos for the bachelorette party on table 10' in five minutes flat?
And, really, does it matter? Isn’t this quibbling over petty crap anyway?
One thing I appreciate about “our little cocktail blogger community” is that every single cocktail blogger brings something to the table. Some report on tiki drinks, or others are passionate about bringing astrology into the mix. Some collect cocktail shakers and others analyze whiskey from one country or another. And, most don’t work behind a bar. This ain’t the Bartenders Guild chat forum, after all.
While some people among us, like Jeffrey and Jimmy, are talented at both mixing drinks behind the bar and writing about them in front of the computer screen, a good many bartenders I know --- skilled, wonderful bartenders I’ve written about on my cocktail blog, in fact --- are not necessarily good writers. Grammar, spelling and good, old fashioned sentence structure is not their forte, and could be a reason they are better at working with their hands than with the turn of a phrase. But, shouldn’t they be welcomed to pull up a stool in the cocktail blogosphere anyway?
And, let’s not forget that a good many cocktail bloggers are indeed not bartenders but freelance journalists with a passion for Mixology who give bartenders, their establishments and the liquor they pour a helluva lot of free publicity! Some bartenders owe their escalating “Rockstar Status” to the people who make less in a week than a bartender does in a weekend, but continue to sit on their asses all day singing the praises of a drink they had at some hole in the wall.
Speaking for myself, I haven’t worked in a bar for a good, long while but I have to say that I love trying out recipes at home and get all lathered up over my little vintage cocktail books. I also love getting paid to create cocktail recipes for events and liquor companies. And, I particularly love writing about a great bartender. Because frankly, there aren’t so many of them out there. And, if one of them sits his or her butt down long enough to write blog post, I say, “bravo!” even if he doesn’t have a degree in Literature or Journalism or has even written his or her own high school term paper.
Isn’t a shared passion for the cocktail what "our little cocktail blogging community" ultimately has in common?