One Bottle At a Time
I always wanted a full bar at home. It was an achievement, a sign of doing it right. Get a well-stocked bar, they said. You’ll look like a baller, they said. When friends come over, there would be something for everyone, drink away.
I built this bar, and they were right. For a while. But, turns out, a stocked bar is dangerous. Expensive. Easy to drain.
When I moved to Hawaii, a stocked bar became out of the question. For one, I didn’t have a bar to stock. (We lived in a tent for a year and a half.) Plus, financially speaking, building supplies and lumber were a higher priority than a glistening, super-stocked bar.
It was during that time I realized the value of one. As in, one bottle of booze at a time. Here’s why I place some weight into my one bottle concept:
Cost effectiveness: As mentioned, full bars are expensive. They cost, like, whole paychecks. I’ll take the instant gratification of a single $40 bottle, thank you.
Lack of pretension: a stocked bar cart is a little like a modern version of a snooty man’s wine cellar: stuff carefully staged to be looked at and bragged about — almost an attempt to one-up your peers, climb that social ladder, get more likes. “Oh that ‘82 Petrus? Fabulous.” A bottle isn’t meant to be stored in a booze mausoleum in perpetuity. It’s meant to be meant to be drank, with friends.
No decision fatigue: Just like Steve Jobs didn’t have to choose a tie in the morning and just wore the damn turtleneck, your one bottle eliminates yet another decision to make at the end of a long day. In a party scene, it ditches the awkwardness of having your guests choose. “Would you like red wine, white wine, gin, or a Cosmo?” Ugh. There’s something clean about serving what you’re serving, and that’s all. Most people don’t care, they just want a drink in hand and get about their night. Here’s some whiskey, now go have some fun.
Forced creativity: They say our most creative moments come under constraints. When our backs are against the wall, we humans innovate and make magic. How many drinks can you make with just a single bottle of, say, rum? Turns out, a lot, provided your fridge isn’t a frigid wasteland. Get a bottle, get inspired, and go make something.
Even though we now have a non-canvas roof over our heads and maybe a place to put a bar, I remember those tent days and how the one bottle did the job. Still does. —Paul Brewer