Almost everyone remembers their first drink of alcohol. I remember mine like it was yesterday. Taking a sip of my father's Bud Light when I was seven years old, I realized it tasted nothing like the root beer I frequently drank, mixing it with vanilla ice cream in large plastic cups. As I concentrated on not spitting the beer back in the can, knowing very well this would send my germ-a-phobic father rocking in the corner, I swallowed the beer with my nose plugged and vowed to never drink again.
This vow was broken in my late teenage years when beer bongs and keg stands were calling me, chanting my name in unison and performing the "slow clap" portrayed in inspirational moments in movies. But, the truth is, I didn't really like beer then and I don't really like it now. From the cheap stuff filling the kegs of frat houses all over the world, to the more expensive wheat beers served with an orange, they've always tasted the same to me. They've always tasted bad.
That is why, after college, where beer was just short of flowing from dorm room faucets, I decided to climb the corporate ladder of liquor consumption, with the next rung up being wine.
Initially I made this choice because of the health benefits of wine. Unlike beer, with each pint providing more belly fat in alcohol's version of 8-minute abs, wine possesses several things beneficial to a person's health, with particular concern to the heart. But, health benefits aside, I took this plunge because wine is so much more than alcohol.
However, taking the plunge from beer to wine wasn't easy. While beer is junior varsity, wine is varsity. With wine, you're playing with the big boys and there are several rules to keep in mind for a smooth transition.
Don't Play Drinking Games
From Quarters to Century Club, beer was made for drinking competitions, being the game piece passing Go and collecting two hundred dollars. But, playing a drinking game with wine may result in praying to the porcelain God later in the evening. While beer is made to be swallowed in large amounts, with the occasional belch being the only thing needed to make someone getting sick feel better, wine isn't. Wine, simply put, is not a toy.