A ONE-HOUR RACE AGAINST ALCOHOL

Just us, a glass, and a lot of alcoholThe list of available beverages practically covered the sheet! I was horrified. Every few feet was another station manned by a smiling attendant. More alcohol to try. My hand holding the empty wine glass trembled. My two-wine-glasses-a-week liver hissed. Yet everyone was laughing and chatting.

My more alcohol-tolerant friends had invited to this event at South Tampa’s ABC Fine Wine and Spirits. For only $10 (including a souvenir glass) a large variety of alcoholic beverages were available for sampling—Vodka, Sake, Beer, etc—and Wine of course. As a budding wino, I jumped at the chance to learn from the more experienced. The parking lot was packed! Luckily this ABC location was bigger than most of its sister stores and much more clean, modern, and new. With an hour left to the event, BF Shoes and I stumbled inside late… we had a lot to experience in a little time.

With only an hour remaining my group took on the perimeter stations beginning with the lone Beer table. With a half dozen Craft choices, I made sure to try Harpoon’s Pumpkin Ale (gotta stick with the season’s offerings although I would’ve preferred a stronger Pumpkin and Spices flavor) as well as a Swamphead Smoked Porter (keeping it local now). A smaller handful of popular cold Sake like Nigori and Rei followed. Suddenly these tasted much stronger and smoother and began my descent into dizziness.

This station contained Sakes... and MORE
This station contained Sakes… and MORE

Sweet Red CatSeveral Cabernets (like Handcraft and Justin), Moscatos (Risata), and Merlots (darn I don’t remember) found their way into my glass. Each station was well-stocked with water pitchers to rinse out glasses as well as Bread to rinse out mouths. The attendants were patient, courteous and allowed us to discover our own tastes without pushing their particular brands. I’ve begun recognizing and appreciating more the little nuances in differing Wines (so that means I’ve graduated past the newbie stage) but there was no way to truly appreciate everything I tasted that night. Blame it on the lack of discussion between my friends after each sample, or no teacher telling me what to look for, or even too many styles and flavors in a short time period, and definitely blame it on the subtle countdown making us rush to try as much as we could during the time remaining.

Yet I could hear the volume from my friends growing louder as the hour flew by. More giggles escaped my throat. Maybe I couldn’t fully appreciate the tasting but I was having damn good fun! Another Cabernet by Belle Ambiance was followed by the sweet Red Cat. My more alcohol-weakling BF ran off to try and ease his liver with a snack from the Firehouse Subs station.

My two standouts from that night were the Orange Flavored Vodka by the local Florida Cane as well as the Apple Pie Moonshine by Ole Smokey. The Vodka had a great candy Orange flavor with a very mild Vodka taste—I would totally sip this during a party but this would also be great as shots. The Moonshine was insanely smooth and really tasted like Apple Pie—I imagined sipping this during cold holiday evenings. I don’t sip much Vodka or Moonshine so this was very new to me.

Three flavors of Moonshine to try
Three flavors of Moonshine to try

Well done ABC. I’ll definitely do this again. My Vino knowledge level actually grew and I met new people along the way because many of the tasters were eager to strike up conversations. Most important my friends and I had a great time. Next time I promise not to race against the clock and sip time slowly too.

ABC Fine Wine and Spirits Tasting Event
3015 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609
Date of visit: Oct 23, 2014 6pm-8pm

Before and after taking a candy-tasting shot called "Porn Star" Whew!
Before and after taking a candy-tasting shot called “Porn Star” Whew!

Thanks for reading my Pyra-dise. I’m an experiencer. Not a foodie or a traveler. Follow this local explorer’s experiences at…
Twitter: @Pyra_Danny
Instagram: @Pyra_Experiences
WordPress blog: wwwPYRAwww
Fotki Photos: Pyra-Ako

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