Shift Drinks: Joe Ricchio


Joe Ricchio is a food writer and blogger. His writing has appeared in The Guardian and VICE and he is the Food Editor at Maine Magazine. He has hosted several web series, most recently Off the Wagon with Joe Ricchio. He is also the bar manager of Miyake Diner and he has pretty much worked everywhere in Portland, Maine. He is pictured with a bottle of Jameson and a bottle ofDönnhoff Riesling.

So let's talk about Jameson and higher end Riesling. 

The most important thing about that combination is that after a shift, you need a kick in the ass from the Jameson to properly be able to relax and enjoy the wine. If I drink Jameson, it allows me to refrain from just slamming the wine.

When did Jameson enter your life? 

As soon as I outgrew my Rumplemintz phase and then after realizing that shooting high end tequila gets really expensive really quickly. If I could drink only one liquor, it would be that, but Jameson is much more accessible. You can find it anywhere and it is delicious. Even the base level bottle is smooth and delicious. It gets you fucked up but not unmanageably so, like 100 proof peppermint schnapps.

How about fine Rieslings? 

When I was working for wine wholesalers, I was working for a distributor that sold a lot of vintage Rieslings. That is kind of what got me into it. It was the first time I had one that was 30 or 40 years old and saw what that grape could actually do. It was also the first time I understood how their balance between the sweetness and acidity worked, if that makes sense.

What comes to mind every time I think about you and wine is the time you came to my house for the first time about 4 years ago and you were very disheartened—if not heartbroken— to find that I did not own proper stemware. 

[Laughs] It is something every man should have.

Do you generally get upset when you come across people handling wine incorrectly? 

I do. My biggest pet peeve is people who serve red wine too warm. It really gets me bent out of shape and when you ask for them to chill it down they look at you like you have three heads. I also really, really hate stemless wine glasses. I just hate them and I don't understand why people would use them. You just get your paw prints all over them and they get all fucked up. You can get Riedel wine glasses at Target now, so it doesn't make sense to not… Restaurants that serve great wine without proper stemware make no sense to me, but honestly, if I am being served wine at somebody's home, I will drink out of whatever sort of glass or Mason jar or whatever. But I would prefer to have proper stemware.

What is the best way to enjoy wine? 

At about 62 degrees.

[Laughs] Oh! Good technical answer, but I mean when do you most enjoy drinking wine? While you are out? While you are at home? At an event? Alone? 

[Laughs] Oh! Anytime! Anytime I can get my hands on it when it is good. I don't really have any patience for cheap, shitty wines anymore. But yes, all the time. Wine is definitely my preferred poison. I could pretty much drink wine any time of day and in any occasion. So anytime is always when I prefer to drink.