While its still too early to say for sure... and I happen to personally disagree with the sentiment...

In what can only be called a stunning reversal from Area51 sentiment, it appears the community as a whole has deemed drink related question on-topic: What should our FAQ contain?

What is a proper Manhattan? (also look at the other meta questions on this topic)

With that said, I think it's time to refine what this means. For example, some seem to think brewing is on-topic, some think chilling drinks is off topic, some think there is a distinction between alcoholic vs. non-alcoholic drinks.

This is CW, so each answer should be one drink related premise, as narrow as possible (without being sarcastically ridiculously narrow), and you should vote up or down each premise listed, so we can get a fine grained answer to this and put this issue to bed.

  • I voted in line with my answer in the above referenced meta thread. My more verbose reasonings and opinions can be read there. I don't want to clutter this with epic comment threads :) – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 13:26
  • I commented on some erroneous interpretations of my opinions below as personal attacks. I think the idea behind this topic, separating the drink/alcohol issue into discrete topics, is a good one. But if it's going to degrade into another massive discussion or debate as the above referenced question has, then this is just a waste. That thread is already handling the discussion/debate just fine, there's no reason to replicate that here. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 14:02
  • Voted to close as duplicate since the same people from the above referenced thread have decided to use this as a back and forth and attack the arguments of others instead of simply stating their opinions to the questions. This has been done already. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 14:06
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    Personally, I'd hardly call it a "stunning reversal" The only topic form A51, related to beverages, that was comprehensively down voted was the home brewing question. That aside, of the 6 other beverage related questions 2 were considered to be on-topic the other 3 were separated by 1 vote and 1 a bad example! I don't believe we need to include home brewing here, but I also don't equate home brewing and drink mixing. They are two completely unrelated topics. I also can't comprehend how a cooking related site, supposedly for 'experts', could possibly forbid questions about wine. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 14:28
  • @pulse, "stunning reversal" was meant tongue in cheek. I'm happy to go in whatever direction the community decides. – Mike Sherov Jul 16 '10 at 16:38
  • Yeah, I think we can safely ignore the A51 topics here: the results WRT drinks were solidly non-conclusive - none ended up anywhere near either the top on- or off-topic list. – Shog9 Jul 16 '10 at 16:41
  • @Mike Apologies Mike, I missed the joke :) – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 16:47

Making non-alcoholic drinks: how to make orange juice

  • Drawing a line between "food" and "drink" is petty and arbitrary. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 13:28
  • @hobodave, I'm not sure why you use inflammatory words in your posts. I created these answers to be voted on by the community, not so you could start insulting the people you disagree with. Abitrary is a fine word, petty is inflammatory and insulting to me. – Mike Sherov Jul 16 '10 at 13:43
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    Please check your sensitivity at the door. Any adjectives I use are not directed towards you or anyone else, but rather to the particular answer I commented on. I didn't even attribute any of the answers in this thread as belonging to you. I thought you were just making a post so that we can vote on these separately. Can we please not turn this into yet another epic back and forth? I was simply stating the reason for my votes. Please try to use your comments here to just state your supporting reasons for your vote. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 13:59
  • @hobodave, if it's petty and arbitrary then why do most restaurants put them on separate menus? – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 14:02
  • @Aaronaught Sorry, but that irrelevant. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 14:51
  • @Pulse: Irrelevant because you say so? I'm seeing a pattern to your posts and hobodave's; when did you two become the final arbiters of which arguments are relevant or valid? – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 15:03
  • @Aaronaught touché! For my riposte I would ask, why do you have such a big problem with including a subject that's so obviously relevant? – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 15:44
  • @Pulse: Because merely being relevant does not make it on topic. Drinks are neither a direct sub-topic of food nor cooking. That doesn't mean we can't have them; it does mean that some more justification is required than simply, "They're close enough" or "They're just as important" because you could say the same thing about many other topics. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 16:19
  • @hobodave, say whatever you like. I'm just saying you attract more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. – Mike Sherov Jul 16 '10 at 16:41
  • @Aaronaught I beg to disagree, if something is relevant, it should be on-topic. To say that drinks are not a sub-topic of food and cooking is a little naive and to my knowledge, I haven't made any comments to the effect that "They're close enough" quite the contrary, in fact. I believe allowing the subject matter is essential and anyone who knows anything about the culinary arts would concur. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 17:01
  • @Pulse: I see, so the implication now is that anybody who disagrees with you must not "know anything about the culinary arts." Hilarious that you accuse me of resorting to ad-hominem arguments. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 17:55
  • I think "how to make orange juice" is a bad example, because it's pretty much asking for a recipe (and fairly obvious). A better example would be "Why is my orange juice so sour" or "Why is my iced tea so bland?" (still not the best examples, but I think they're less recipe-ish). – Brendan Long Jul 18 '10 at 0:38

Making food items whose main ingredient is a drink: milkshakes, smoothies

  • I don't see this as any different from the "how to make orange juice" answer. This is another arbitrary distinction. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 13:30
  • Arbitrary to you, because you think it's all fine. Some people believe that this one is OK, but orange juice is not. – Mike Sherov Jul 16 '10 at 13:47
  • It's only an arbitrary distinction if you accept that other drink questions are valid. I don't, so this is off-topic with the rest of them. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 14:02
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    Soup. Broth. Bah, I've prepared entire meals - drinks, stew, desert - using nothing but clear liquids and gelatin in varying concentrations. If a food goes from on- to off-topic based on the ambient temperature of the room, then it's not a useful distinction. – Shog9 Jul 16 '10 at 16:53
  • I suppose the distinction is arbitrary, but I think this is very cooking-related. I can't think of any good questions for this right now, but I'm sure someone will at some point, and there's no reason to say "Sorry, we don't answer questions if the primary ingredients are liquid". – Brendan Long Jul 18 '10 at 0:43

Pairing with food: what wine goes with steak, what juice goes with eggs

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    A pairing can make or break a meal. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 13:30
  • The company and presentation can also make or break a meal. That doesn't make it a cooking skill. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 14:01
  • @Aaronaught That's irrelevant too. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 14:51
  • @Pulse: It's highly relevant. The fact that something "can make or break" a "meal" is not a justification. Calling my arguments "irrelevant" instead of addressing them directly is incredibly childish. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 15:08
  • @Aaronaught I appreciate your opinion, but I still maintain your comment was off topic and irrelevant. We are addressing issues related to food and drink, not relationships or how restaurants decide to produce their menus. And please refrain from the ad hominem remarks, thank you. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 15:32
  • @Pulse: That wasn't an ad hominem remark, it's a fact. Trying to shout people down by calling what they said "irrelevant" (without any justification) is childish. We are not addressing "issues related to food and drink", we are addressing the issue of whether drinks are a necessary sub-topic of food, and I've just demonstrated why a sideways association isn't a very effective justification: because there are dozens of other things that are just as pertinent to eating that aren't food. Unless you want to include all of them in scope - find a better reason. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 15:36
  • @Aaronaught: I get your point, a meal can be ruined if the atmosphere isn't right, but this is a different definition of meal. The food portion of the meal may be made or broken by pairings. Also, calling another member of the community childish is itself childish. Crap. – plor Jul 17 '10 at 20:43
  • Wine is part of the meal to me (although I'm from france...) And it's very common to every recipe to list which wine will compliment the meal. It would really seem strange to me if you would define this kind of question as off-topic. – Stephane Jul 18 '10 at 8:31

I'm aware that the OP said to only post 1, but here's my cohesive take on it. I understand if I get downvoted for not following instructions.

I think Jeff gave a good answer here:

My grey area metric is, "could the average {cook/chef} learn something from this?" so sometimes it depends how the question shapes up..

Also, the general consensus seems to be that this isn't a recipe swap so omit those also.

Prep/cooking methods are not recipes.

Sometimes the distinction is clear: "How to roast a duck" is discussing cooking method. "How to make duck a l'Orange" is a recipe. It also seems clear to me that making rice and juicing an orange are prep/cooking methods, not recipes.

A milkshake is not really a recipe. It's more or less a common formula between milk and ice cream. But I have an ingredient to give them an extra bit of zing? Now is it an recipe? Or a basic skill plus a tip? I'd say the latter but I could understand a reasonable argument for the former.

Most chefs don't brew or ferment their own spirits. This seems to be off-topic.

All cooks have wondered about how to balance a recipe; hence: what's wrong with my screwdriver. Hopefully, this is asking how to fix a kitchen mistake, not asking for a recipe. Context might be needed to decide this one.

How to best store basil is clearly in the white. What about how to store vermouth? It's an ingredient but mainly for martinis and not cooking so some won't consider this a real cook problem and others will.

Not everyone will agree with grey areas so make your case, vote your conscience, but above all: respect other people doing the same. Keeping the community respectful is more important than stomping out every last peccadillo.

  • Agreed, I think we need to keep in mind that there are "beverage-related questions" and "good beverage-related questions". Calling drinks on-topic doesn't change the fact that most of the given examples will still be off-topic for breaking other rules. – Brendan Long Jul 18 '10 at 0:45

Alcohol mixology: what's wrong with my "screwdriver"? How to sweeten a "Mai tai"?

  • I see this as a rather arbitrary distinction as well. However, given that over 80% of my library of cookbooks contain cocktail recipes, especially those by well-known expert chefs, I don't see any reason to exclude them from this site. Perhaps if a stackexchange were to be created, and be successful enough for a permanent presence, it would be appropriate to revisit this. Simply adding a cocktail tag should suffice for now. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 13:34
  • @hobodave, why do you keep repeating this argument? We aren't making a cookbook, we're making a Q&A site. Cookbooks are also composed of recipes; we're not creating a recipe exchange either. The fact that something is in a cookbook is a good reason not to have questions about it. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 14:00
  • @Aaronaught The reason is simple, you cannot separate the two in professional or domestic circles. For those that prefer to drink water with every meal, it's a non-issue. For those that like to drink something other, quite often advice is required. That advice may be in the form of a recipe for a cocktail or advice form the sommelier about which wine to have for a given course. For the chef, the question is similar, which type of cognac is better for my flambé or which type of wine will be better in my poulet basquaise. I really don't believe you can hope to have a cooking site without this. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 14:44
  • @Pulse: Funny, most people here seem to have no problems separating them. How did the private beta manage to survive for 5 days with 0 questions on wine pairing if the topics are "inseparable?" (Wait, let me guess: that's also "irrelevant") – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 15:11
  • @Aaronaught The point is, you are trying to put the lid on the coffin before the incumbent is ready. Just because there have been few questions related to the subject (no surprising considering the conversations here in meta) doesn't mean to say that going forward, there won't be. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 15:26
  • @Pulse: I didn't understand your first sentence - mixed metaphor? Anyway, as I've pointed out already, I'm not using the previous scarcity of those questions as an independent argument for keeping them off the site. I am simply pointing it out to refute (rather effectively, I might add) the repeated assertion that food and wine are so closely intertwined that the site will never survive without the latter. That's clearly not true. I'm honestly willing to listen to reason here, but I need to hear real, objective arguments, not alarmism and quibbling over semantics. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 15:32
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    @Aaronaught With all due respect, I don't believe you have put forward one convincing argument at all. You appear to be trying your best to come up with reasons why this topic should be disallowed, but none of your arguments, thus far, have provided any substance. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 15:52
  • @Pulse: The primary argument is that cocktail-mixing questions significantly alter the target audience and the overall tone of the site. The secondary argument is that drinks, in general, are not part of the literal definition of food or cooking. Simply because you are not convinced, does not mean the arguments are not convincing or have no merit. I am starting to doubt that any argument would convince you, no matter how well-reasoned or well-researched. – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 16:24
  • @Aaronaught With all due respect, the aforementioned is simply your opinion, nothing more and it does not necessarily reflect the greater community. Personally, I think you are trying to impose the doctrine of SO here, and to be honest, it doesn't fit. It simply can't by definition of the content. – Pulse Jul 16 '10 at 16:54
  • @Pulse: Opinion is repeatedly stating that wine is "inseparable" from food and that the site can't survive without it. I've tried to at least present some logic, which may or may not be correct (that's for the community to judge). – Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 17:53
  • I feel like there are some good questions that could be asked in this category, so I'm generally in the "on-topic" camp, just so we don't get a complete moratorium on beverage-related questions. I have to disagree with Aaronaught; I think questions like this will remain a very small portion of the site (especially since it's so hard to think of ones that don't break the "no-recipe requests" rule). – Brendan Long Jul 18 '10 at 0:41

Making alcohol: brewing beer, making wine

  • This is completely off topic. Brewing or making wine would belong on another site. I would equate this to a question about growing tomatoes or other food. – hobodave Jul 16 '10 at 13:31
  • Someone else had a comment that I think sums it up nicely (paraphrased): chefs aren't expected to make their own beer, the scope of the site should only include things that are generally done by chefs. – Brendan Long Jul 18 '10 at 0:55

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