One of the oddest recurring questions people ask me is “how did you get into gin,” which is usually followed by a comment such as “its an old man’s drink,” or “how pretentious” (or worse).
I believed similar stereotypes for a long time. I had been a regular at bars for a couple of years before I had ever even ordered a gin. In fact, the first time I was ever served a gin I didn’t even choose one. The story of my first gin comes out of youthful excess.
My friends and I had been regulars at a bar in Buffalo. We became good friends with the bartender who indulged our frequent requests for “something exotic.” The bartender witnessed the best of times and the worst of times. So unsurprisingly when you work up that sort of rapport with a bartender (and I like to think we were good tippers) it was completely acceptable to tell the bartender your stomach was feeling a little unsettled – and still order a drink.
It was out of that exact request that I was given my first gin and tonic to “settle my stomach” after a night of drinking Red Deaths.