Non-gaming hobbies

Oh, there are significantly more expensive hobbies out there, but in context a lot of people may think hundreds or even thousands of dollars on coffee brewing is insanity.

Still, you can sink a lot into it. Next year I plan on upgrading my espresso machine from my entry level machine to one that's got more bells and whistles than anyone could ever need and a price tag that made my wife's eyes roll so hard I'm pretty sure they did a 360 in her head.
Actually, a few years ago I started looking at some of these espresso machines and yeah... they can get a bit expensive. I figured i drink enough coffee to need a high end espresso machine. Fortunately/unfortunately, I was distracted by some other hobby. If I remember correctly, that's when I got into rock climbing.

For a while, though, I got deep into the coffee brewing videos on YouTube. Started watching a lot by this guy, Jeff Hoffman. Found his videos oddly relaxing.
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
When I got into loose leaf tea it was so much simpler by contrast. Certain temperatures and brew times for certain teas, but that's all solved with my ridiculous high tech kettle and the timer on my phone.
Ah, see this is where I'm the opposite. Got into tea sets and "lao ren" (old man) style of brewing tea, when I was in Taiwan and bought an expensive clay pot set, which has to be cured by, basically using it to make lots and lots of tea. I like the ritual and constant activity when making tea this way. Very social way in which to enjoy tea with friends. Of course, selection of leaves is a whole other rabbit hole you can fall down, but I found what I like (high mountain Formosan Oolong) and generally stick to it, unless I go to a tea house, in which case I'll experiment.

Never dived deep into alcohol, I'll experiment with making cocktails but tend to stick with my go to (Jack Rose). I did get really into single-malt scotch for a while, but never so much that I felt it worth spending large amounts of money on a bottle of scotch.

Tobacco is similar, but I've given up that "hobby" for the obvious reasons. Though on the rare occasion, I'll break out my shisha that an Egyptian colleague gifted to me.

Hmm...all of my "hobbies" seem to be addictions. :)
 

Waterbizkit

Explorer
Actually, a few years ago I started looking at some of these espresso machines and yeah... they can get a bit expensive. I figured i drink enough coffee to need a high end espresso machine. Fortunately/unfortunately, I was distracted by some other hobby. If I remember correctly, that's when I got into rock climbing.

For a while, though, I got deep into the coffee brewing videos on YouTube. Started watching a lot by this guy, Jeff Hoffman. Found his videos oddly relaxing.
James Hoffman, but yes, his videos are excellent. I've also watched a lot of videos by a gentleman named Lance Hedrick. Lance's videos are very different from Hoffman's, but extremely informative. Once you start watching people like these, the tumble down the rabbit hole accelerates exponentially.

There's three YouTube channels I frequent for my drink mixing too and it had the same effect. Luckily the main cost with that hobby is the booze, particularly the more esoteric spirits that get used once in a while, but it's not that bad. At least the results are tasty, most of the time.
 

James Hoffman, but yes, his videos are excellent. I've also watched a lot of videos by a gentleman named Lance Hedrick. Lance's videos are very different from Hoffman's, but extremely informative. Once you start watching people like these, the tumble down the rabbit hole accelerates exponentially.

There's three YouTube channels I frequent for my drink mixing too and it had the same effect. Luckily the main cost with that hobby is the booze, particularly the more esoteric spirits that get used once in a while, but it's not that bad. At least the results are tasty, most of the time.
Checked out Lance Hendrick. His vdeos aren't anywhere near as relaxing as listening to James Hoffman, but he has a video on a $200 basket, so I'm thinking i'll be checking out his videos for a while.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
There's three YouTube channels I frequent for my drink mixing too and it had the same effect. Luckily the main cost with that hobby is the booze, particularly the more esoteric spirits that get used once in a while, but it's not that bad. At least the results are tasty, most of the time.
The tone of cocktail videos is all over the place, from folksy and friendly (How to Drink), to "I'm an expert, so listen to me" (most of the pro bartenders, even when they try not to do this, other than Anders Erickson, who never cops attitude but is just nice) and super-gatekeepy (Spike's Breezeway just did a video after people said they couldn't afford to spend $1,000 to get into making tiki drinks where he recommends, instead, several hundred dollars in bottles).

I still like How to Drink the best, although I think I've probably gone beyond the level of most of his videos. His advice, which is good, I think, is to start with one type of liquor and its mixers, rather than being a crazy person and getting a "starter kit" of a dozen $50 bottles and then all the mixers. Luckily, my wife is into rum and I'm into tequila, so starting simply worked out well for us.
 

Lastly, the alcohol. I've never liked the term mixology, so I refuse use it in reference to my drink mixing hobby. :p I've got all the paraphernalia you could need, which admittedly isn't much anyway, and our liquor cabinet went from being mostly empty and forgotten to stuffed full of various spirits and bitters. I make my own syrups from scratch, because of course I do. Luckily we still only partake on Friday evenings or when we're entertaining friends, so this particular hobby hasn't turned me into a heavy drinker.

Likewise, cocktails are a hobby of mine. If I'm feeling pretentious, I call myself a "cocktail archaeologist," because I'm always hunting for old cocktail guides and pamphlets, looking for that forgotten gem. I generally specialize in the 70s and 80s, but do love a Boulevardier and other classics.

The tone of cocktail videos is all over the place, from folksy and friendly (How to Drink), to "I'm an expert, so listen to me" (most of the pro bartenders, even when they try not to do this, other than Anders Erickson, who never cops attitude but is just nice) and super-gatekeepy (Spike's Breezeway just did a video after people said they couldn't afford to spend $1,000 to get into making tiki drinks where he recommends, instead, several hundred dollars in bottles).

I still like How to Drink the best, although I think I've probably gone beyond the level of most of his videos. His advice, which is good, I think, is to start with one type of liquor and its mixers, rather than being a crazy person and getting a "starter kit" of a dozen $50 bottles and then all the mixers. Luckily, my wife is into rum and I'm into tequila, so starting simply worked out well for us.

How to Drink does great stuff. Though I can never get my citrus peels to express so beautifully as his do!

Other than that, my non-gaming hobbies include reading, exercise, making mead,* and making music. These days I mostly just play around with drones and noise, soundscapes, that sort of thing.

*My current batch is a mushroom mead. I used candy cap mushrooms, which have a taste very much like maple syrup.
 


Waterbizkit

Explorer
How to Drink is my go-to for YouTube cocktails, followed by Anders Erikson and a channel called The Educated Barfly. All quite good.

Gin is my spirit of choice. I quite like a Bees Knees, a Last Word, and there's never anything wrong with a simple G&T. An Earl Grey Martini is extremely tasty too.

I quite like several tiki drinks as well, and so does my wife, so that's a nice bonus. ;)

Most recently I tried a Trinidad Sour. That was a truly unique cocktail. Good, but so... weird.

All things in moderation though. Making a hobby of cocktails can get dangerous fast.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
All things in moderation though. Making a hobby of cocktails can get dangerous fast.
It’s not really a hobby for me, but I AM trying to work my way through trying most of the major cocktails. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a Negroni for a couple years now.🤷🏾‍♂️

And I have to be careful about it. I was once much like this guy:


The more umbrellas and fruit skewers I got, the better! One friend even got me a maraschino cherry sword when he brought back a round of Shiners to the table!

I was never an alcoholic, but I was at increased risk. My paternal grandfather was the only one of his 8 siblings who DIDN’T die of an alcohol-related disease. And I think I understand part of the reason WHY: it didn’t matter how drunk I got, I never got sick and never got a hangover.

I basically stopped binge drinking after a prodigious evening of drinking at a Mardi Gras party. And these days, I’m a lightweight because of my blood pressure meds. Each drink affects my reflexes and perception- but not my mental acuity or metabolic processing- like 2-3 drinks. So 2 beers is like a 6-pack.
 

Waterbizkit

Explorer
It’s not really a hobby for me, but I AM trying to work my way through trying most of the major cocktails. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a Negroni for a couple years now.🤷🏾‍♂️

And I have to be careful about it. I was once much like this guy:


The more umbrellas and fruit skewers I got, the better! One friend even got me a maraschino cherry sword when he brought back a round of Shiners to the table!

I was never an alcoholic, but I was at increased risk. My paternal grandfather was the only one of his 8 siblings who DIDN’T die of an alcohol-related disease. And I think I understand part of the reason WHY: it didn’t matter how drunk I got, I never got sick and never got a hangover.

I basically stopped binge drinking after a prodigious evening of drinking at a Mardi Gras party. And these days, I’m a lightweight because of my blood pressure meds. Each drink affects my reflexes and perception- but not my mental acuity or metabolic processing- like 2-3 drinks. So 2 beers is like a 6-pack.
RE: the negroni, has it taken a while because you've been working your way through other cocktails first? Or are the ingredients, presumably aside from gin, not easy to come by where you are?

It's a simple enough drink. Definitely not for everyone. A friend of mine got into cocktails a bit before I did, and when we were discussing drinks once he mentioned he'll likely own his bottle of campari for the rest of his life because negroni's are not for him.

Now, I like bitter flavors, and for the record I do like a good negroni, but I cannot tell a lie... my reaction after I took my first sip of the first negroni I made was to say "Yeah... I can see why a lot of people would hate this." I mean, campari doesn't F around. Not my go-to cocktail, but still something I keep in rotation.

As far as drinking in general, I certainly drank much more when I was younger. Of course the birth of our son while my wife and I were still attending university put an immediate halt to that. To clarify, because I somehow feel like I should even though this should go without saying, the drinking stopped once we knew she was pregnant, not nine months later when the baby arrived. Since then we've both become social drinkers only. We'll have a drink or two when we occasionally go out to eat or attend a party at a friend's house, but that's it for the most part.

If we're hosting... then maybe it'll be more than a couple, but still not enough to get anything more than a mild buzz going. I'm usually cooking at these events, so mixing fire and sharp objects with drunkenness is a recipe for me to loose a finger... or my eyebrows.

I'll also mix us one drink each after we get settled at home after work on Fridays. This is usually where I'll make something new to try if I'm not going for a proven favorite.

It's fun to mess around with. I wasn't expecting my culinary path to lead around to mixing drinks, but here I am.
 


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