Wonk: A person who likes to think about or study something and spends a great amount of time doing it
Hello! I’m Matt Pietrek. Thanks for your interest in my spirited site! Feel free to contact me at cocktailwonk @ gmail.com.
I describe myself as a spirits and cocktail writer, educator and historian.
This site, cocktailwonk.com, is where I share my whatever interests me regarding spirits, cocktails, tiki and tropical libations, bars, and spirited history.
- In 2018, I was a Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards “Final Four” nominee for Best Spirits Writer.
- In 2019, Cocktail Wonk was a Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards “Final Four” nominee for Best Publication.
My first two books cover very different aspects of spirits and cocktails:
- Minimalist Tiki: A Cocktail Wonk Look at Classic Libations and the Modern Tiki Vanguard
- A History of Empire Rum: London Dock and British Navy Rum (forthcoming).
I also write for a number of other publications (see below).
- Bourbon Plus (Vintage Columnist)
- Bevvy (Ruminations Column)
- Caviar Affair
Educational Event Speaker
- Tales of the Cocktail presenter
- Bar Convent Brooklyn presenter
- California and New York Rumfest presenter
- Hukilau presenter
- Tiki by the Sea presenter
- Saveur Magazine 2018 Best Drinks Blog finalist (announcement forthcoming!)
- Imbibe Magazine’s Imbibe 75 list of people to watch in 2018.
- Tales of the Cocktail 2017 Spirited Award “Top Ten” finalist in the Best Cocktail and Spirits Publication category.
- Credentialed media at Tales of the Cocktail 2015 – 2019.
- Dubbed “America’s foremost rum blogger” by noted author Fred Minnick in his book, Rum Curious
- Primary technical reviewer for Fred Minnick’s Rum Curious book.
- American Craft Spirits Association judge, 2017
- Miami Run Renaissance judge, 2016
- Author and Rum Reviewer for the Webby Award winning Distiller as a member of their tasting table
- Featured in Punch’s Home Bartending Goes Hardcore
- Featured in Chilled’s 7 Instagram Accounts to Make You Thirsty
- Toured every major American bourbon distillery in Kentucky
- Visited twelve Scotch whisky distilleries in Islay and Speyside
- Visited 14 Caribbean rum distilleries
I’ve previously authored a number of books and articles on Microsoft Windows, reverse engineering, and software development, and been recognized internationally as one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic.
I now use my ability to immerse myself in the world of spirits, cocktails, and bars. Much as when I wrote about Windows, I dig deep into a topic, demystify it and then explain it in a straightforward manner.
An integral part of the Cocktail Wonk experience is Mrs. Wonk (aka, Carrie in her civilian life), who provides storytelling wisdom, copy-editing and many humorous asides.
- Authentic Caribbean Rum tour of Jamaican rum distilleries
- Distillery visits in Cuba, Martinique, & Guadeloupe, and Barbados
- Rum Tasting of the Century – London
- American Single Malt – House Spirits, Portland
- In-depth sherry immersion trip in Jerez, Spain
- Media at Bacardi Legacy Global Finals 2016
Want more backstory on me? Read my first post.