I keep thinking this started at The Zig Zag Café in Seattle, Washington but it didn’t. It may have catalyzed there, since when I turned twenty-one Zig Zag was at the top of my hit list. I ordered an Old Fashioned up because I didn’t know any better and then I think a Satan’s Soulpatch and gears started turning in my head. But that’s not where I started writing this. It wasn’t in my mom’s kitchen at twenty, trying to figure out the best proportions and combination of tequila, orange liqueur and lime for a Margarita. Nor was it at the home of my mentor where I learned how to make my own bitters. I started writing this on a cold December night at the age of fifteen when a friend brought me to a notorious party house called “Freak Manor” on the birthday of one of its residents. Not having a present, I offered said resident ten dollars. I was fifteen with a job and he was in college, meaning we were about equally broke. As gratitude for the gift and upon the insistence of a friend who would later become a bartender under me, he offered me my first mixed drink. It began by chugging from a bottle of vodka and was chased by a few hefty gulps of Midori. They called it a Melonball and I wouldn’t know better for some years yet to come. If I’m to be honest, that’s where this all started.