Monday, June 22, 2009

Last Call?

For the last four years Eric Felten has been performing yeoman's work by providing weekly reports on the past, present, and future of the American cocktail culture in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. His insights, analysis, and recommendations have proven invaluable for those of us trying to muddle our way through the complicated and at times confusing world of fine drinking. But eventually everything runs its course and Felten announced that he's moving on from one of most enviable writing beats with his Valedictory Toast in last Saturday's paper:

Since September 2005, I've profiled more than 150 cocktails, punches, slings, fizzes, highballs, bounces, smashes and juleps. There may be a drink or two that I've neglected--my 8-year-old daughter, Greta, champions a morning "Milkshake" of two parts skim milk to one part Danimals yogurt, and with a cheerful tenacity that suggests she has a promising future in PR, Greta has been urging me to feature her Milkshake in a column. But the Milkshake notwithstanding, I think I've been able to get to most of the concoctions worth mixing--or at least those worth a thousand words.

Writing this column has been one of the best gigs in journalism, and not just because I've been able to fob my bar bills off on The Wall Street Journal. The readers of How's Your Drink? have made the experience a treat. You've been a remarkable resource, suggesting wonderful drinks I would never otherwise have heard of. And in this coarse and caustic age, you have been gracious correspondents, confirming my faith that worthy drinks inspire worthy drinkers.

Starting the week after next, I will be taking on a new challenge, writing the De Gustibus column on the Taste page of the Weekend Journal every Friday. It's a chance to look at American culture and the way we live today from a perspective somewhat wider than that behind the bar.

That doesn't mean How's Your Drink? is going away. I will continue to write the occasional cocktail column as the spirits move me. New drinks are being devised every day, and I look forward to documenting those that have a chance to enter the hallowed halls of the cocktail canon. Well, or at least those that taste good.

Fare thee well Mr. Felten.

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