New Make is the start of something wonderful. This magical stuff that trickles off the still is clear, bright, and full of newfound life. Vigor is the first word that comes to mind. Immature to be sure, not every part great and still a lot of work before it gets to where it needs to be but in every way beautiful all on its own. The first time I tried new make was in Campbeltown, Scotland at the Springbank Distillery in the late spring of 2018. I had tried a fair amount of spirits in the few brief years spent in the industry up to that point. Running the range from expensive, cheap, organic, industrial, craft, exotic, antique, whatever. Amazing, disgusting, good, bad, full of potential, unique, to downright weird. But that New Make will always be the defining experience I bring everything back to. The purity and essence of the spirit was a powerful feeling you can never forget. New Make sealed my fate to be tied in some way to spirits from then on. I tasted the Water of Life that day.
With that experience in mind I decided to leave my job. I loved my bar, my coworkers, my bosses, my customers, and almost everything about the place. But at the end of the day you know when you can’t stay somewhere forever no matter how great. I’ve never left a position without knowing what’s next. There was always a new job, a new place to move, or a next step written in stone. It’s kind of terrifying. To be fair I’m privileged enough to realize I have a pretty large safety bubble of family and friends that most people don’t. But for the most part it is exhilarating and freeing. I am hungry to learn, to do, to see all that I can. Nothing but opportunity in my sights.
The first thing I did on Monday after my last day at the bar* was take my very heavily abused shoes** and throw them straight into the garbage. I had these shoes for the entire year and a half I worked there and while they always served me well it was time to say goodbye. There were tears everywhere, the sole was falling off, and I had worn a sizeable hole where my big toe lived. After some panicked packing and itinerary planning I’m headed off into the unknown.*** Not that I don’t know where I’m going, I have a vague idea. Across a small stretch of Canada to Vermont, south to New York City, Washington DC, and then down south to North Carolina. I don’t know where I’m going after that, and I definitely don’t know what I’m doing after this trip is done. But I’m taking this new found expansion of my free time as an opportunity to start writing on this website I’ve had essentially finished but without content for 3 months. Young, definitely immature, and for certain going to have plenty of mistakes along the way. But I’m hoping this will be the start of something wonderful too.
*This is a lie. The first thing I did was eat some food and go to sleep. I forgot about it and didn’t throw them out until the next day. (Alright that’s not true, I remembered but just didn’t feel like going all the way out to the garage where the trash can was)
**One of the $34 pair of Shoes for Crews that doesn’t look like an ugly black clog with a pair of $30 inserts from the athletic store. For anyone who works in the industry, I highly recommend this combination as it is extremely comfortable for long shifts and fairly cheap. I’ve never found a restaurant shoe that did the trick all on its own.
***This is also a lie. I am writing this post about three weeks after I actually left Michigan, but I had a wedding and visiting friends along with the aforementioned distillery/bar visits and really just enjoying not having a job or any responsibilities. I hate to be the one to tell you this but the internet is full of lies. Sorry if I shattered your innocence there. Now you know how I was supposed to feel after reading A Separate Peace, instead of just learning how to spell separate without using spellcheck.