Ask Adam Beer at Dinner

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A guy at a party I attended brought his own beer. But he only brought enough for himself. There is no way he could have brought enough for everyone, since there were 30 people at the dinner, and it’s a really expensive beer that he has imported. Was this a big faux pas? Should he have sacrificed his own enjoyment if he couldn’t share with everyone? Or was this acceptable behavior?

This is simply rude. If you’ve been invited over to someone’s home for a party, the expectation should always be that the drinks you are bringing are for the host, not for you to hoard for yourself, guzzling your libation alone in the corner. I also don’t buy it when people say they only like this one super expensive wine, beer, or cocktail, and if no one has it, they simply have to bring it themselves. It’s just an excuse to act like an elitist. I’d refrain from inviting him to any more parties.

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When is it acceptable to have crushed ice in your drink, versus a large ice cube?

First and foremost, let me start off by saying you should never worry about what’s acceptable when it comes to your drink. If you like a drink a certain way, such as a shaken martini that others say should be stirred, don’t worry about what others think. You’re the one drinking it!

That said, large ice is preferable when you’re drinking a booze-forward cocktail or having liquor straight, because you don’t want the ice to water it all down. Having a larger cube ensures it melts more slowly, allowing you to have a cool drink, but not a watery one.

Crushed or smaller ice, on the other hand, is great for drinks that have been mixed with fruit juices or sugary liquids, such as a variety of tiki drinks, mules, and juleps. Here the ice helps water the drink down slightly, bringing balance to the sweetness.

I find myself feeling ready to try some Bordeaux. What are some questions I can ask at the wine store to ensure I’ll get a bottle I will enjoy?

The key to discovering a great Bordeaux is determining whether you prefer Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Bordeaux is cut in two by the Gironde estuary, creating two banks on opposite sides of the river. On the Left Bank, the wines tend to be based on Cabernet, while on the right, Merlot is the dominant variety. The side of the river where your wine comes from will actually tell you a lot about what it will taste like. If you’re a Merlot drinker, meaning you tend to like easier drinking and more approachable wines, you’re probably going to prefer Merlot-based Bordeaux. That means you’ll be looking for wines from the Right Bank. If you tend to prefer wines with more tannins, you’re going to want to go for a Cabernet-based Bordeaux, usually from the Left Bank.

When you enter the wine store, go ahead and find the Bordeaux aisle and look at what’s available. Some bottles will say what the main grape varietal is, which is really helpful. But a lot don’t. If you’re struggling, feel free to seek out the wine store owner and say, “Hi! I’m looking for a Bordeaux. I tend to enjoy Merlots/I tend to enjoy a tannic Cab. Can you recommend something from Bordeaux in this price range that you think I’d enjoy?”