FYI: This is an archive of my Tonight's Negroni email newsletter.
(Editorial note: Please read all quotation marks in the following as eye-rolling air-quotes. Because all of this is probably ridiculous.)
A weird thing has happened to me recently, and it involves two distinct and now interestingly connected things:
- Social media (in particular Twitter and Facebook)
Let's talk about the second one first.
Let me first confess that I love Twitter and only use Facebook begrudgingly because people (and businesses, but we'll come to that in a bit) that I care about only use Facebook. There are still parts of Twitter that feel like the "old blogging days" of the early 2000s. I've made actual human connections with new people via Twitter. I've even met some of them IRL! (Note: I still have "online friends" from the "old blogging days" that I have not met IRL. It's a brave new world of introversion, friends!) Facebook mostly feels like it deals with the "people you already know" category of interaction.
Except for the thing that I've been pondering and want to ... type about. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You see, a while back I "quit Facebook". The quotes are because I still used Facebook for what I feel is its most useful function: monitoring restaurants, producers of goods, and community news. If you want to know about a new product from a brand you like, Facebook is the way to do it. If you want to know about a new prix fix farm to table dinner or free cocktail class at one of your favorite restaurants, odds are Facebook is your best bet.
It so happens I am "into" these types of things.
Thusly, I deleted my Facebook account (in as much as they actually let you do so), created a new account with an email address I never use, and followed all the businesses, brands, local news sources, and what not that I actually cared for. I looked at it no more than daily and referred to it as my "newspaper".
But that version of Facebook was read-only for me. I made no comments and liked no links. No interaction.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, the opposite was happening. I was engaging businesses and brands and getting responses ranging from "hired social media guru" to "I actually run the joint". Then when I "came back" to Facebook, I started behaving like I already was on Twitter. I would friend request bartenders who might think I was vaguely familiar if you showed them a picture but still wouldn't know me from Adam. And they'd accept because I was already friends with the guy that owns the restaurant where they shake drinks. And I would joke with them online and they'd joke back. And then they actually would know me from Adam the next time I sat down and asked for a Negroni, rocks. In fact, I currently have several restauranteurs, bartenders, shop owners, and even real estate developers who will stop and say hello to me mostly because of online interaction.
Which is what has me thinking about this so much. Twitter and Facebook and the casual online engagement they foster are becoming a substitute for the face time it takes to become a "regular" for these people/places. Or at least some kind of short cut to gaining that status.
This is really interesting to me.
The places with real humans behind the social media are always surprisingly appreciative of the retweets/shares and favs/likes I give them. But I will say that I do all of that genuinely. I honestly see it as an act of curation (probably should have air-quoted that... ಠ_ಠ). I want to know about awesome things so that I have more opportunity to experience awesome things. I want to believe my friends feel the same way, so I share things I find that look awesome.
And this sharing is a part of my patronage of these people and businesses. Yes, I will come to your restaurant and drink your craft cocktails and eat your amazing food and rave about them on the internet afterwards as much as I can. I just can't do it that much. For one thing, there are other restaurants that are amazing and I haven't even been yet. For another, I will go utterly broke!
I guess I'm discovering an adjunct to the definition of patron, which I just looked up and will share with you:
- a person who gives financial or other support to a person, organization, cause, or activity.
- a customer, esp. a regular one, of a store, restaurant, or theater.
Add to that something along the lines of "one who actively engages with and spreads the word about a business or producer of goods", and that's me.
Mutant Internet Patron, at your service.
OK, enough computerized ear-chewing... Cocktail time! I've already talked about it twice before, so tonight I'll actually mix it:
- Add everything to a mixing glass.
- Add ice. (A Hendrick's gin rep taught me this trick, with the reasoning that if the ice is already in the mixing glass when you start adding your booze, you are immediately in a race against dilution. Seems reasonable to me.)
- Stir. (Work on your smooth, silent stir, because you're classy. Stir until the mixing glass is good and cold.)
- Strain into a fancy cocktail glass. (The color of this drink is pretty enough, and Suze is a rare enough ingredient that it deserves the - don't roll your eyes this time! - "up" treatment as oppose to most Negroni variations, which I typically prefer on the rocks.)
Suze is interesting stuff. First thing: it's a freakish yellow color. It's made with gentian root, which I discovered during my recent adventure in bitters making is some of the most bitter tasting stuff I've had in my mouth. Obviously the Pernod elves work some serious magic because Suze is mighty tasty.
Uncle Val's is also a bit odd. If you've ever had Hendrick's gin, just imagine that turned up to eleven with more emphasis on herbal and citrus notes than cucumber and florals. It almost plays a little too hard for this drink. Try the previously mentioned Half Moon Orchard Gin from Tuthilltown instead, maybe.
Thanks for reading. I'll keep the next one shorter. Maybe tell some fart jokes instead...