Around F.C.

Alcohol Afficionado & Author Chats About Drinks from Around the World

Jeff Cioletti offered his drinking insights at Café Kindred on Dec. 19. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Jeff Cioletti has a job that many can only dream about: He travels the globe, eating and drinking at the world’s best tables and bars, and he gets paid to do it.

A cocktail connoisseur who pens his impressions in articles and books, the release of Cioletti’s new book, “The Drinkable Globe: the Indispensable Guide to the Wide World of Booze” brought him to Café Kindred last Friday where he signed copies and was interviewed by Alex Luboff and Jordan Wicker for their podcast, “Speaking Easy.”

“The Drinkable Globe” describes the best concoctions Cioletti found in his travels. The books themselves are not short, casual treatments of cocktails, but they represent the works of a cocktail scholar which run several hundred pages.

“The real theme [of his newest title] and what I hope to accomplish in writing this book is that’s it’s a great way to learn about the world and other cultures, through what people drink,” he said in a pre-podcast interview at the restaurant. “Every sort of culture, every country has its own kind of local spirit, beer, some homemade, some illegal, some commercially sold. I am always interested in exploring what’s local to that region.”

Including Antarctica where scientists built a distillery and sell $3 shots to cruising tourists. “They use the pure stuff, pure glacier water that’s not been touched,” Cioletti said

With 130 recipes, “Drinkable Globe” also lists places, food and drinks where alcohol is banned, but to quote Luboff: “Where there’s a still, there’s a way.”

Even in those countries where alcohol is outlawed, Cioletti writes that ingredients to make drinks are available, and citizens know a thing or two about courting tourists.

For example, on Fridays in Saudi Arabia locals will sit for five or six hours in traffic heading to neighboring Bahrain since they know that’s where they can get a drink.

In the U.S. more distilleries are opening, especially in Washington, D.C. and throughout Virginia, Cioletti added.

President George Washington started his own distillery at Mount Vernon after he left office in 1797. The distillery lasted about 10 years after the president died in 1799, but archeological discovery and reconstruction led to the distillery’s reopening in 2007. In Mount Vernon’s shops and at the Inn at Mount Vernon, consumers can buy President Washington’s whiskey.

Cioletti named “some great cocktail bars in DC where people are making some very innovating things,” like Jack Rose (“famous for its 2,700 whiskeys”), Barrel, Chaplin’s (known for ramen dishes) and the Passenger.

“People here come from so many different places, it’s a bit of a melting pot.”

Like in many regions of the U.S., good wineries in Virginia abound plus the area offers a big brewing scene.

“Falls Church has a lot of beer bars. Everyone here makes cocktails.”

Cioletti said the region’s changing demographics and the transient youth segment who now stay “make it conducive [to breweries]. People are creating a community where they want something local to hang their hat on.”

Cioletti’s career in newspaper journalism led him to business-to-business writing and Beverage World magazine for 14 years where he wrote and later, served as editor until he left to freelance about worldwide cocktails.

“It’s not like I do non-stop tasting all day,” he joked. “I am really interested in the culture as well, and the food. It’s not completely non-stop drinking.”

Now Cioletti dishes out a new book title every year. His 2018 work will be about sake in Japan.

There are “thousands of drinks” to sample and “lots to write about,” he said. No worries about running dry. Cioletti usually takes a couple of international trips yearly but most of his adventures are domestic.

Cioletti’s other books, both top ranked at Amazon, are “The Year of Drinking Adventurously,” published in 2015, and “Beer FAQ,” 2016. One More Page Books hosted the book signing at Café Kindred.