People always ask me how I got into cocktails. What made me decide to spend the majority of my waking hours researching and learning about cocktails and spirits?
I’ve always been fascinated with the world of alcohol and for years had a similar blog that is now defunct. I walked away from that original site because life got in the way. I’ve regretted it ever since.
But it wasn’t until 2013 when I decided to join the academia of booze. After my first trip to New Orleans I decided to explore the cocktail scene in my own back yard. Like any young American with a cell phone I happily snapped every drink served to me. I thought nothing of it.
In addition to my cocktail exploration of Baltimore, I was mixing drinks at home. Since my first apartment post college, I’ve had a stocked bar. I’d come up with punches to serve to my friends before we headed out for the night. So, it made perfect sense to also photograph my home cocktails. That’s when things began to change in my life.
One Sunday afternoon I had just mixed up a batch of drinks for my hubby and I. I snapped a photo, uploaded to Instagram, applied the X-pro II filter, and posted. At the time I only had 24 followers. They mostly consisted of friends and a few follow-for-follows. Within the hour I had 30 likes. 30 likes that didn’t include my friends. Who were these people?
The more cocktails I posted the more likes I got and my follower count increased to a whopping 100! But that wasn’t the exciting part. With every like and follow I discovered a secret society of home bartenders and people that referred to themselves as “cocktail enthusiasts.” They offered tips on books to read and bars to visit. When I had trouble mastering the art of the egg white cocktail my fellow enthusiasts, and a few professionals, were there to offer advice. We swapped recipes and inspired each other to make better cocktails. I had inadvertently become apart of a community.
It wasn’t just my cocktails that were getting better but also my photography skills. I’d look at other accounts, fascinated by their photos. I spent countless hours fine tuning my lighting and learning every nook and cranny my cell phone camera had to offer. Eventually I took the plunge and purchased a professional camera.
Thanks to Instagram I’ve made friends with like minded individuals. I’ve worked with brands that I’ve long admired. I’ve traveled to new cities and visited bars I’d been following. I’ve learned that I have a voice, that I’m not as shy and introverted as I once thought I was. I’ve become braver.
The day I earned my “k”, reaching ten thousand followers, I stared at the number with little emotion. I thought that I would be jumping up and down. That there’d be balloons and confetti.
Hitting that number didn’t feel as joyful as I thought it would. What did feel good was when one of my followers posted their version of a cocktail I’d posted. This person noted me as an inspiration in their own cocktail education. My heart filled with so much joy I thought it’d burst.
Having the opportunity to re-introduce classic cocktails, to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone, to discover new recipes and brands is what really makes me happy. It’s being apart of a community that’s bigger than myself and learning from each other. It’s knowing that I have a place and a voice in this vast wide world.
That’s what Instagram means to me.