by The Bon Vivants

Here we are, the day after Thanksgiving, still stuffed and food hung-over. After bravely having eaten half a pumpkin pie for breakfast and having chased it with a pot of coffee (and one of us with a half a pack of smokes), we are either going on to brave the masses in search of Black Friday deals at the mall, or are in sweats watching trashy TV or a mindless movie.  Memories of this year’s family get-together are still fresh - maybe that “one cousin” ended up drunk again telling the wrong joke and was sent to bed early, or maybe auntie “so and so's” creative attempt at a casserole was so bad that the dog wouldn't eat it. Maybe you took some time to take an inventory of things you are thankful for.  In a world overrun by Smartphone technology, no one has created an app that stops and smells the roses for you, so...  This week we want to take a breath, and be thankful.

Things we are thankful for:

Family.  We are hustling hard.  We've had some setbacks with Trick Dog - the bar we are building.  We haven't gotten every contract we have proposed.  We have spent more time together than we have with our own families.  We love you family.  Your support keeps us going.  It's a tough world out there and when you know family has your back, it’s a little less tough.

Friendship.  This last year we traveled a fair amount.  We met many amazing people all around the U.S.  We have great memories of great times, a lot of laughter, collaborative sentiments and some brutal hangovers (well, one of us). Every city we visited blessed us with amazing hospitality, showed us all the “cool sh!t,” and fed us very, very well, and given us the guts to prove it (well, one of us).

Alex Straus. “Cricket,” as we know him, is our Rock in L.A.  If you know him, you know why Rock has a capital R.  Also if you know him, then you know we call him Cricket because he’s small and doesn’t say much.  He is a real winner of a human being. We love all we have done with him, and look forward to all the good things to come.  As well, he may be the only person we know who could catch John Lermayer upwards of twenty times as Lermayer sprinted at him and leapt horizontal with full trust.  #Fact. #CatchMe.

Sherry.  From briny and bone dry to sticky sweet, it’s our bartender secret sauce.  It's the umami samurai.  Spirituous drinks, citrusy delights, TKO Punches, it makes everything taste better.

Pig & Punch.  What started as a fun little rogue event has become an immensely personal and soulful experience for us.  Charity is now a must for us when at all possible.  The work aspect of that event is heart magic vitamins.  Seeing a park full of our friends having a romping great time puts huge smiles on both our faces.

Tequila Ocho.  This is not a shameless plug.  Working with this brand, and the creativity it has allowed us, has been incredible.  Working with Lyons and becoming such strong friends has been a great education for us, as we “navigate this Byzantine maze” that is the liquor industry.  That, and Viva Sangrita! made us a lot of friends (See above).

Bars that carry N/A Beer.  One of us is really adamant that the true litmus test for any bar is their decision to carry or not carry a non-alcoholic beer.  If your joint carries one, you’re pretty good in our book.  If you are gonna drink soda in a bar, shouldn't it be beer flavored?

Memories that inspire group tattoos.  Eight of us walked into a tattoo parlor in Portland (up the street from Cocktail Week’s home base, across from a strip club…weird a strip club in Portland, we know), and got tattoos of a shotgun shell on our ribs because we had so much fun at Triple Buck.  “WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL!!!!” is being heard in bars all over the U.S. and we can thank Willy Shine for that.  Or six bar spoons on middle fingers in Austin last June.  We know there are a lot of you out there who have similar stories – be thankful for those memories because they are going to last FOREVER…literally.

Old Sh!t.  When we aren't thinking about booze, we are thinking about old things for sale at flea markets, estate sales and antique stores.  Great design, soul, history, stories, these old things we chase are gifts that keep on giving.  We are thankful that there are still things that exist from yesteryear that were made with quality craftsmanship and love – the reason why they still exist today.    

Road Trips.  If it’s possible to drive rather than fly to a destination, we do.  If there is an off-the-beaten-path old town, or road between here and there, we take it.  Getting out on the road has had a meditative effect and our mobile office, the truck, is a creative epicenter when it's time to flush out an idea. We also find a lot of “old sh!t” on these trips.  Double, Double.

“Patinkin,” as in Mandy Patinkin, who was the star of the first two seasons of Criminal Minds.  Now only known by his last name, it is code-speak for any crime drama we like on TV.  When we have a moment to turn on cable and veg out, we call out for some good “Patinkin” and inevitably we find something good.  Down time is some of the most important time in a world that keeps us moving really fast.

We do what we love.  It’s a dream come true to go to work every day and rarely be doing the same thing over and over again.  We go to work and we get to plot new and exciting ways to do fun, creative stuff.  Neither one of would survive long in any corporate gig. Bartending and Bon Vivanting is where it’s at for us.  We count our blessings every day that the thing we do for a living is something that provides us happiness and inspiration.  We couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to build something meaningful to us and hopefully use that thing to support our families forever.

And the other stuff that’s too deep for this forum.  We’re REALLY thankful for that stuff…

So on this day, we ask, “What are you thankful for?”

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