The Humble Garnish Turns 1! (And a 7 Year Old Cork?)

For the past seven years I have saved the cork from every bottle of wine I’ve drunk. Seriously, they’re all here in my home filling up hurricane vases. Perhaps I’m borderline OCD or even a hoarder. I am a detail-oriented neat freak that has been known to collect things since a very young age, but this disposition does have its perks.

Two weeks ago I was cleaning out the largest of the cork-filled glass vases and came across natural corks, synthetic corks, and even zorks. However, more than the synthetic corks, the zorks, and the fragments of wine openings gone awry, there was one particular cork I wanted to dispose of. I was one hasty decision away from discarding these “oddballs” and “misfits”, especially the one I now held in my hand. I’m not one to get overly nostalgic, but I couldn’t let go of any of them – even the one I was holding. When I was sorting through the corks I noticed the repeat bottles from years ago that were my go-tos – Educated Guess Cabernet, Apothic’s red blend, and Menage à Trois’ red blend. One cork transports me to the bottle I savored on a specific Valentine’s Day, while another takes me to an exploratory bottle purchased so I could expand my palate, and yet another reminds me of celebrating a raise. In addition to the specifics, there are the generalities. Corks from wines I enjoyed in 2008 with my roommate while watching Gary Vaychuck’s Wine Library TV. We tried our best to learn about wine, and often ended up fueling late night discussions about topics that were seemingly deep to us recent college graduates. Back when the only cocktail I knew how to make was a gin and tonic, and my standard cooked meal was simply chicken breasts with a green pepper and onion sautéed in a skillet, I was starting to learn. Fast forward to present day, and I’m glad I held onto that old cork I rediscovered two weeks ago.

I don’t want to ever forget where or how it all started. Not that I have that much experience under my belt or that it has been that long in the scope of things. There is more to accomplish, farther to go, and always more to learn. I truly believe that the majority of the time there is going to be someone somewhere who knows more than myself on a given subject, but how do I know if I’m that person to someone else? When they seek me, not when I target them. True confidence does not develop from seeking people to force information upon, it comes from taking a position of humility, which makes one approachable to those who are sincerely seeking.

This is why I reflect on where I started, and also why I’ll continue to watch videos of someone dicing an onion just to see if I can glean a new trick or technique. I’ll never know it all, but while I continually look towards those with more knowledge than myself, I also look back to where I once was and see those who are searching for knowledge. That’s why I decided to keep the cork from the bottle of Yellowtail I enjoyed in 2008 – to remind me not of how far I’ve come, but that everyone is at a different place whether it be in regards to something as meaningless as food and drink or something of greater significance.

Today marks one year since I published the first post on The Humble Garnish, but for many of you it has been alive much longer in the form hand-to-hand sharing of pumpkin breads and fresh spring rolls, invitations to enjoy cocktails, or to chat over whiskey. There is always more depth to those relationships that are created, and, honestly, that is the essence of The Humble Garnish. Thank you all for the contribution you have made towards encouraging me to make The Humble Garnish a reality. Thanks to all that have poured their knowledge into me without holding back. I appreciate you all, and look forward to what is ahead.


– Andrew


Oh! I meant to mention this somewhere in this post, but got sidetracked. This is a book I really appreciated when I was getting started with the site. I believe that, while executed differently, creative expression is a part of human nature. Without a creative outlet you’ll never be fully satisfied, and this book will help in breaking down some of the common barriers to making that shift.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

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