Why Tipsy Nerd? Here goes nothing. After a some poor choices in my late teens, I swore off liquor. I rarely even touched a beer. A six pack lasted a year.

Then one year, early into my fifties, my wife and I went to her company’s Christmas party. They had a bartender and had tickets for two free cocktails per person. I was curious, but had no idea what to even order. I ended up getting soft drinks.

I wanted to know more. I mean, who hasn’t wanted a vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred, after watching 007? So at 52 years old, I, for the first time in my adult life, walked into an ABC store in my home state. As I walked in the door, I saw that the entire opposite wall, the entire length of the store was stocked with vodka. I whipped out my phone and started taking pictures of the wall of vodka.

Really? A wall of nothing but vodka? Rum in the foreground!

Then I  made a pass through the store and took more pictures of liquors. I skipped the gins, as I swore I never would touch it again after a bad experience with it at 19; its evergreen smell still haunted me. I felt much the same about the whiskeys, with visions of Wild Turkeys running around me in dizzying circles. A pass by the tequilas and rums yielded more pictures.

Ahh! Now here was an interesting section: liqueurs. So many flavors. More pictures. And then… I left.

I went home and started looking for online reviews and recommendations on what to buy. There were so many. And site X said this was the best. Site Y said that one was. I created a list. I weighted the sites. There was data to be crunched and analyzed!

And with that, the Tipsy Nerd was born!

On a follow-up trip, the clerk asked me if he could help me. I remarked that I felt like I such a nerd taking all these pictures and looking for reviews. He replied that he wished more people would do a little research.

Almost two years later, I’ve tried quite a few cocktails, learned what liquor I like and what I dislike, and discovered that living in an ABC state can be very restrictive when confronted with many cocktail recipes.

The First Sip

For my first purchase, a vodka, I ended up settling on Luksusowa. It seemed to be an inexpensive (as opposed to cheap) Polish vodka made from potatoes, with the general opinion that it was serviceable.

I was off to the ABC store to acquire my carefully researched vodka, and then on to the grocery store for vermouth and assorted juices for mixing.

Once home, I poured a very small amount into a shot glass. I gave it a sniff. I only got a faint, but unmistakable smell of alcohol. So, now for a taste. Wow! Alcohol burn! It took me back, but now I was making a cocktail, not chugging whiskey.

I excitedly mixed my first vodka martini.

I poured it in the glass.

I pondered it briefly.

The Bond theme played in my head.

I sipped it expectantly.


Okay, so that didn’t go well. Turns out, I’m not afraid to pour a drink down the sink.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

After the vodka Martini turned out to be a failure, back to the drawing board. Maybe it was the vermouth. How about something sweet, like vodka and a fruit juice. A little mix here, a little pour there. A hesitant moment… a sip… hmm. We’ll that is better. Much better!

This might work out after all…