2149791048_2c7f37572c_oI’m Ryan.

Ever since I can remember I was curious about flavor. I grew up with a mom who made foods from scratch and fed me ingredients that were from our garden and the local co-op and also on occasion from the big chain stores. We didn’t have a ton of money and the “natural food” movement hadn’t happened yet so getting the best of the best was often hard to do. Either way, the end results were always combined to create something made by hand and with love. I remember the first time I saw canned cranberries. It jiggled out of a tin can and plopped onto a plate shaking like some kind of alien life form. My neighbors whose house we were dining at proceeded to cut off slices of this strange creation, as my sister and I sat in horror wondering what it was that they were about to consume.

I was lucky.

Today I work in the wine trade which while not a particularly profitable job, has given me the chance to dine at fine restaurants, drink the best wines, and travel through what I consider to be some of the more interesting parts of the world. During this time I have come to realize that I love flavor. Flavors make me excited. Flavors make me emotional. And often times, my favorite flavors come in the form of liquids. There is something magical about liquid flavors. They way they coat your mouth and trickle down your throat. How something as simple as pure spring water can have its own character, which we take for granted. Yet when combined with the beans of a coffee plant, or the leaves of a tea tree, magic is created. When added to grain and then fermented with yeast can bring, like a magic alchemist, flavors of fruit, stones, and roasted earthy aromas. When allowed to spill onto the ground this same water can help grapes and other fruits swell up with flavors and juices that when allowed to ferment can create yet another world of aromas.

Magic. It’s true. It’s magic when you taste stones in your glass of Chablis. It’s magic when your lemony Gueze refreshes on a hot afternoon. It’s magic when the simple act of pouring water over green leaves both stimulates and excites your palate with flavors of fruits and earth. It’s magic that a small seed when roasted correctly and steeped with care can both increase your energy and leave your mouth with a smile upon it. It’s magic when you take a liquid and distill from it only the alcohol and after which you leave this alcohol to sit and steep out the flavors from an oak barrel, or you infuse it with the plants, seeds, and spices to create new flavors never before thought of. This is magical.

I am not a snob. A snob to me says there is a “right way”. I have come to believe there is no “right way”. I do think that certain commercially produced products are evil. Products that take away the magic from the liquids they commercialize. For me all I want is flavor, plus a little bit of magic. You choose what you enjoy and how you enjoy it. Personally, I can’t stop exploring. I love the discovery as much as the pleasure of sipping an old favorite.

This blog will ebb and flow like my interest in various flavors. I’ll obsess about wine for a bit only to turn on my heal and focus intently on a particular leaf used for a special pot of tea. I do not think that one liquid is better than another. There is no prefect beverage. There are only shades of grey.

You can follow along any of the various streams: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Tea, or Coffee each one will highlight fun things to try, books to read, and accessories that I obsess over. Quotes, links, videos and photos. Sometimes profound, most often just fun.

Finally, I like my freedom and it’s with Water that I leave my options open. Water flows through everything and brings life to all. With the category water, I will explore life. I hope you enjoy it.

If you think there is a hierarchy of beverages, hopefully, I can change this idea for you. Take a chance. Follow along, and sip a little magic while you do.


*Today Ryan leads Porto Wine Tours from his home in Portugal while helping people to discover all of Portugal and Spain. Catavino Tours is his day job.

Read the Liquid Agnostic Manifesto

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