Wonk: A person with an enthusiastic interest in the specialized details of a particular field
email: cocktailwonk @ gmail.com
At the intersection of spirits, science, and cocktail culture, Matt Pietrek is a:
He began his spirited wonkery in 2007 with a modest home bar that grew out of control. He soon turned to writing, capitalizing on his already proven skills of making complex topics accessible and fun. From distillation chemistry to spirit regulations, cocktail recipes, and rum history, Pietrek casts a wide net over little known and overlooked topics.
Penning works for this site, as well as books, magazines, and online publications, Pietrek has been nominated four year running in multiple writing categories at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. (Best Writer, Best Publication, Best Cocktail Book.)
While Pietrek has a deep love and writing portfolio covering many spirits, rum is his particular passion. He’s considered today’s foremost writer in the rum world. The history of Caribbean rum is a particular obsession, and he has a forthcoming book on the history of London Dock and British Navy rum.
He serves as the Community Envoy for the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producer’s Association, aka WIRSPA, and advises numerous cane spirits brands. He also serves as the Vintage columnist for Bourbon Plus magazine.
With his wife, Carrie, he recently published Minimalist Tiki: A Cocktail Wonk Look at Classic Libations and the Modern Tiki Vanguard, which is a Top Four finalist at the 2020 Spirited Awards for Best Cocktail Book.
Pietrek also takes on commissioned writing projects that benefit from his subject matter expertise.
Now based in New Orleans, he can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @cocktailwonk, or maybe on the barstool next to you.
- 2020: Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards “Top Ten” for Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer, Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication (Cocktail Wonk), and Best New Cocktail & Bartending Book (Minimalist Tiki).
- 2019: Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards “Final Four” for Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication (Cocktail Wonk)
- 2018: Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards “Final Four” for Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer.
- 2017: Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award “Top Ten” for Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication (Cocktail Wonk)
- Bourbon Plus (Vintage Columnist)
- Bevvy (Ruminations Column)
- Caviar Affair
- Tales of the Cocktail
- Bar Convent Brooklyn
- Bar Convent Berlin
- UK Rumfest
- Black Tot 50th Anniversary 24 Hour Event
- Miami Rum Congress
- California Rumfest
- New York Rumfest
- Tiki Oasis
- The Hukilau
- Tiki by the Sea
- Imbibe Magazine’s Imbibe 75 list of people to watch in 2018.
- Credentialed media at Tales of the Cocktail 2015 – 2029.
- Saveur Magazine 2018 Best Drinks Blog finalist
- American Craft Spirits Association judge, 2017
- Miami Run Renaissance judge, 2016
- Author and Rum Reviewer for at Distiller.
- Featured in Punch’s Home Bartending Goes Hardcore
- Featured in Chilled’s 7 Instagram Accounts to Make You Thirsty
- Written extensively on major American bourbon distilleries.
- Written extensively on Scotch whisky distilleries.
In a prior life, Pietrek authored a number of books and articles on Microsoft Windows, reverse engineering, and software development. He was recognized internationally as one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic.
An integral part of Cocktail Wonk is Mrs. Wonk (aka, Carrie in her civilian life), who provides sage advice, storytelling wisdom, copy-editing and humorous asides.
Want more backstory on me? Read my first post.