Besides traveling, writing, and drinking beer, reading is another favorite hobby of mine. Traveling to beer festivals and breweries has been put on the backburner for a variety of reasons due to the global pandemic plaguing the world at this time. I have been doing a lot more reading in my free time. I recently acquired an advanced copy of Professional Drinking: A Spirited Guide to Wine, Cocktails, and Confident Business Entertaining by Jim Schleckser.

Prior to reading the book, I was more than comfortable ordering a beer. Once wine or spirits were added into the mix, I could be a deer in the headlights. Most of my wine and spirit knowledge was based on what I read on Vivino and Distiller, two Untappd-like apps. I have known for a while that I’ve needed to learn another way of drinking something besides a beer.

To put it simply, Jim Schleckser and his book Professional Drinking guided me to become more confident in regards to what it takes to drink professionally. I found the book to be a quick and easy read with a conversational tone and pace. It felt like Jim and I were casually talking through various drinking topics ranging from what to do before dinner at a party to ordering with confidence at a restaurant to expanding my personal collection of wine. Check out what I mean by watching the video below on bringing a bottle of wine to a restaurant (I didn’t even know that was a thing.)


Jim continually maintained a conversational tone throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed his pro tips and personal stories indicated by a wine glass icon. There were over 50 in the book and reading those enhanced my understanding of what the book was explaining at that moment in time. He also used a fair amount of charts to present information. I’m not going to be taking this book out instead of an app at a party or restaurant, but I can review a bookmarked page or two before my next get together.

There were references to moves an “executive” would/should do, but each of these pieces of advice could be easily applied to anyone regardless of their career. The amount of booze-involved entertaining or participation at formal occasions is happening more often the older I get, so any and all advice about how to navigate it was welcomed.

Photo Credit – Jim Schleckser

Jim is a sommelier, which is similar to a cicerone in the beer world. The amount of information and knowledge in the book about wine is extensive with four out of the eight sections being about wine. Each section builds on the last and the knowledge Jim has and shares was simple to read, understand, and apply to my drinking life.

If you’ve ever found yourself awkwardly staring at a wine list and not know what to order, have been unsure about which glass and bread plate is yours at a wedding or formal dinner, or have been unsure about what move to make when a friend, client, or business partner is not drinking, this book will help you navigate these woes and teach you so much more along the way. I would also recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their knowledge in regards to drinking beer, spirits, and, especially, wine.



By Ed Norton

Edwin "Ed" Norton was first introduced to craft beer when his designated fraternity Big Brother Vince asked him if he knew anything about the topic. Ed admitted his ignorance and the rest is history as Ed and Vince would split six-packs of craft beers each week during Ed's probationary status. Ed is now a craft beer enthusiast who is always on the lookout for a beer he has not tried when bottle shopping or drinking at breweries and bars. In addition to drinking beer, this livelong Michigan resident enjoys a bunch of hobbies that he doubts you really care about, other than drinking beer and sounding off about it.

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