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Progression of preferred drinks/flavors throughout your life?

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I'm interested to know whether people found themselves experiencing changes in their preferred types of drinks over a period of time. Do you now prefer a different base spirit than you used to? Do you drink cocktails made with fewer modifiers/ingredients? Has your preferred flavor profile changed?

For example, I see a number of people on here who really enjoy bitter flavors and a lot of complexity in drinks. I may be mistaken, but I think those are acquired tastes- so for those people, what did you enjoy when you first started drinking? At what point did you find your tastes changing? Was there a particular ingredient that did it, or were you seeking greater complexity that perhaps you wouldn't have been able to taste at first? And do you still enjoy the drinks you used to, presuming that your tastes changed?

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  1. For me (Even though I don't think I'm quite the person you're talking to!) ...

    MGD light in a bottle (silly HS girl - and I drank whatever liquor I could swipe from my parents without getting caught, but didn't enjoy it much), any of several dark beers (split pitchers with friends in college), now it's mojitos or margaritas (fresh lime juice) in the warm months and martinis all year. I don't experiment a lot. I still like dark beer, but haven't tried the light stuff since college (and didn't enjoy it much then, either).

    1 Reply
    1. re: SAHCook

      I'm interested in everyone's answers. I'm in the age group where my peers are drinking jungle juice, so I consider myself slightly advanced, but I am mostly curious to see if people in general see a lot of changes in their drink preferences over time. Mojitos and margaritas are a definite improvement over light beer!

    2. Boones Farm apple wine and Sprite -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> ----> -----> -----> -----> Martini's, bitter cocktails, amari, Islay Scotch, hoppy beers, challenging flavors

      2 Replies
      1. re: EvergreenDan

        Ah so you couldn't handle the Boone farms straight back in those days, eh? Or was it just not sweet enough :-p

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Personally (skipping the Boones stage [shudder]):

          "Bad" beer (early college) ->
          "Better" beer (later college) ->
          Scotch (after college) ->
          Super hop bomb beers ->
          Super peat bomb scotches ->
          Wine experimentation -- huge/jammy Cabs, Zins, Syrahs, etc -->
          Discovering fine rums and bourbon, abandoning scotch and beer for a while ->
          More wine experimentation -- moved towards Pinot Noir and similar -->
          Discovering the joys of bitter flavors ->
          Getting a taste for more and more subtle/dry flavors (e.g. eaux de vie)

          In recent years it's become clear that my palate is shifting from favoring sweet flavors to dry/sour. I definitely have a lot more tolerance for bitter, but at the same time I'm no longer quite as interested in extremely strong, overpowering tastes. I think a lot of this has to do with getting used to the flavor of alcohol. I had my first taste of kirsch 12+ years ago, and hated it. It burned! Today I very much enjoy a bit after a nice meal. And I get no burn at all.

        2. From jungle juice (which I gave up when I read the warning labels on the Everclear bottle....) -- I thought I hated beer, but it turned out I hate *crappy* beer -- then to Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers (showing my age on that one) to white zin, to rum & coke....to cranberry & vodka...back to rum (by now up to Myers) -- through liebfraumilch and gewurztraminer ...

          and now I'm at Bordeaux, extra-brut Champagne, and Campari with orange juice or a good mojito.

          How's *that* for a mindbending flavor tour?

          1. college drinking: anything light and strong that will "get the job done" - rum and diet coke, vodka and fresca (or just shots...) also drank bud lights since they were cheap and always at parties

            after college (i'm 4 years out): anything that is relatively light that tastes good too - things that are great to sip on. i LOVE wine, mimosas, bloody mary's and some fruity cocktails, and rarely do i touch tequila or whiskey or anything that will make me feel sick.

            i've always tried to keep the calories low with alcohol by mixing with diet sodas and drinking lighter beer, but the other trend i have noticed is that i drink much earlier in the day. i'd much rather have my first drink at 5 pm, finish drinking with a healthy buzz around 9 pm and still feel great at 6 am the next morning.

            1. Italian jug wine with orange soda with my Papa >
              less orange soda each year until age 14 when we could have pure wine with dinner >
              high school Seagrams 7 with Michelob >
              Rolling Rock mini cans >
              College Budweiser cans back when the specific brewery was on the label >
              Better beer >
              gets a real job...Home brew / craft beer >
              Super Tuscan wine >
              Australian shiraz and other gloopy pointy things (thinks "cost equals quality") >
              Mudslides and Black Russians (purchase Kahlua by the case) >
              Demi-sec bubbly >
              Meets a group of Boston internet wine geeks...
              More "authentic" red wines ("real", "natty", choose your modifier)
              gin and tonic >
              gin martini >
              German riesling > sweeter side of chenin > dry riesling/chenin >
              Brut bubbly>
              acid /mineral driven white wine >
              Scotch (Macallan to start > > > Lagavulin, Laphroaig)

              (purchases Dale DeGroff Craft of the Cocktail book...c 2003)
              A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view....

              proper Nick and Nora martini >
              vermouth from the cabinet >
              bourbon based cocktails >
              Cocktails often replace wine during dinner at restaurants >
              vermouth from the refrigerator >
              buy lots of different bitters >
              make bitters >
              mostly stirred cocktails, lots of brown spirits and gin...lots and lots of different styles of gin, lots of experimenting....

              1. Started in college with rum/pineapple juice, vodka/cranberry juice, and vile malt beverages like Smirnoff Ice and Mike's. Yeech. Switched to cheap wine and beer in my early twenties, and now I've graduated to gin, some bourbon/rye, and amari. I rarely sweeten my drinks, and I always use fresh citrus.

                1. Thinking back, cost was more of an issue than taste. I have a pretty positive memory of my first martini as a teen and neat glasses of Irish whiskey around the same time. Beer was probably the drink of choice, but having the Yuengling brews available local and cheap in college meant that their Porter or Chesterfield Ale were often more likely to be purchased than Bud or Miller. By my early 20s my favorite cocktails were a dry martini or a rye and soda. Same still pretty much holds true, but honestly, I am a fan of most spirits that are not overly adulterated or sweetened.