Tis the season!
It's been a great year of creativity and distillation. Today on SDV I make 12 suggestions for great boozy gifts this holiday season. Let's look past the Pappy and BTAC to truly gift the greatest work in bottle today. In not particular order (and from left to right):
Copper and Kings Butchertown Brandy- $65 62% abv
Mezcal Vago Madre Cuixe by Emigdio Jarquin- $99 51.7 abv
Gracias a Dios Cuixe- $75 45% abv
Alipus San Andres Espadin - $45 47% abv
Siembra Valles Ancestral - $110 49% abv
PersonalWine.com - Vary$
Henry McKenna BIB 10yr SB - $35 50% abv
Pikesville Straight Rye 6yr- $50 55% abv
Treaty Oak Experimental Collection Whiskey- $50 50% abv
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked- $50 45% abv
Parce 12 Year Columbian Rum- $50 40% abv
El Dorado 15 Year Rum- $35 40% abv
Happy Repeal Day! To further celebrate and cheers to the progress of booze, why not buy yourself a bottle of personalized wine? Today's chat with PersonalWine.com founder Alex Andrawes dives into serendipity, the UT experience, and how a well traveled youth can lead to a deep passion with wine. This "oil kid" has traveled all over the world and leveraged his college broker gig to understand when to strike while the iron's hot. The resulting concept: buying wine that is branded and personalized just for YOU. As the project evolved, Alex needed a space to not only sip amazing wines but also do a little business now and then. The Red Room Lounge was then born; a cool downstairs wine bar to relax and converse. We chat The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dog, and the real value of high priced wine.
Looking for gift ideas? Head over to the Red Room gifting link below to explore some options for this holiday season.
We've all concluded our busy nights with a sip or 2 of the finest aperitif, Fernet. The late night favorite has established itself as one of the cult hits of the hospitality industry. And here, deep in the heart of Texas, Georgia native Megan Sparks carries the torch for the beloved spirit. Gymnast turned sculpture and cocktail mastermind, Megan has been dubbed the "Fernet Fairy" and no more apropos title has been conceived. With her career-centric business mind, Megan continues to shape a brilliant career evolving from one opportunity to the next. We chat public speaking, Italy, and bartender equality.
War, political turmoil, religion, and more with Diageo Reserve's Jorge Raptis. A true aficionado of all things agave, Jorge is both Greek and Mexican; an interesting combination that spills hospitality and cordiality. From early days in Mexico to the career influencing years in Houston, Jorge has been driven to learn, greet, and pair the best minds together. In the midst of a massive reorganization of the Diageo teams, Jorge now finds himself singing the praises of Don Julio Tequila and Zacapa Rum across the nation. We chat the "big guys", incubators, and Sotol Pechuga.
It's been a crazy year and yet despite all the disheartening conflicts among us, there is still plenty to be thankful for.
I hope you enjoy this day with your family and loved ones. Sip something delicious and eat just enough.
Don't forget to enjoy that Turkey of a wild variety.
Now onto Christmas.....
The cocktail revolution is upon us, but the coffee revolution is now intersecting perfectly. With amazing flavor combinations and coffee innovations, you would think Fleet Coffee in Austin, TX is the newest Texas cocktail haven. It is in fact an incubator for amazing flavor combinations constructed by the 2 least pretentious gentleman you'd expect. Patrick and Lorenzo both worked their way through the early days of coffee in Austin. After time working together at Cafe Medici and a brief spark of entrepreneurialism, Fleet Coffee was born. We talk fruity pebbles, closing drinks, and modern music.
Alexis Piotrowski is the perfect template for bar efficiency and no nonsense staff management. An early athlete and found object artist, Alexis found her destiny was in the hospitality industry. With varying experience serving shots, margaritas, and every other iteration of alcoholic beverages you can imagine, Alexis brought her impressive resume to Austin where she brought the original Jackalope into a new era of success and has been an integral force in constructing Version 2.0 Jackalope South Shore. We chat election results, being conscious of costs, and playing the right hits.
Jackalope South Shore's grand opening is THIS Saturday November 19th. Details Below.
Longtime guitarist and touring musician Aaron Beavers has been selling whiskey from the stage for years. Once he strummed his first guitar, he was hooked and writing hooks in no time. From Arizona to Colorado to Hawaii, Aaron has followed his passion for music and after years of writing, a pay to play gig in LA catapulted his music career. But as his rise to fame came to an apex, Napster was just around the corner redefining the operations of the music industry. Turning to hospitality to pay the bills and over a decade later, Aaron is still slinging whiskey. As a luxury specialist for Beam-Suntory, Aaron shares some of the world's greatest whiskies with some of the greatest minds in the game. We chat fatherhood, John Popper, and Wilco.
It's the one year anniversary of Austin's Infinite Monkey Theorem winery: a reinvention of the classic concept; reasonably priced, ethically produced, and completely transparent wine production all under a roof in the city limits. The wonderful couple Aaron and Meredith Berman are the masterminds behind the Austin landmark. They are business savvy, artistic, and sharing the great flavors of Texas terroir with their wines. With a child on the way, and the one year Austin anniversary of the winery on the horizon, how has this venture affected the couple's relationship and how difficult is it really to run a business with the person you love? We chat writing, third wheels, and wines in a can.
It's Martine-y time! To celebrate the launch of the Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur, today on SDV we talk to its creators and massive influences on the Texas spirits scene, Dee and Gary Kelleher. From Texacello, Dripping Springs Vodka, to Pepe Z tequila, Dee and Gary have been at the forefront of creating exciting products to firmly establish Texas as a haven for distilled spirits. What started as a cocktail waitress/bar manager romance over 35 years ago, has now transformed into a power couple that inspires and delights. They've seen the Austin cocktail scene at its every turn and now influences its future profoundly with bold new concoctions. We chat distilling, distributors, and maintaining a loving marriage for over 3 decades.
Texas rears its head again upon the global cocktail stage. From early days in the Houston music scene, to an academic pursuit of design, Claire Sprouse's shift to the hospitality industry was the perfect platform for her creativity, love of sociology, and passion for design. Unassuming and brilliant perfect illustrates Claire's level of perceptiveness and abilities behind the bar. A single Gin competition launched a career that now has Claire leading green efforts in San Francisco with her consulting group Tin Roof Drink Community. She's a mentor and innovator. We chat Fugazi, Hands Up Houston, fast food, and more.
Growing careers and opportunities are built on education, and for Collectif 1806's Emily Arseneau, her journey through the hospitality industry has led to amazing twists and turns. A Louisiana native, Emily can create, craft conversations, and inspire. Her blend of radio DJ antics and studio art sensibilities, make her a prototypical, hard working hospitality veteran. With a wide array of bartending gigs under her belt, she leaves a massive impact on the Dallas cocktail scene while soon venturing to New York for her largest opportunity yet, National Brand manager for Collectif 1806- a group dedicated to best practices and education in the hospitality industry. We talk "Dig", Cointreau, and crazy facts this day in history.
Sometimes pouring that first cocktail just opens up a gateway to flavor and opportunity. For Houston's Hal Brock, the hospitality industry always offered the creative and humanitarian sensibilities on which Hal thrives. When academia doesn't quite offer the flexibility and cash flow of the bistro down the street, serious decisions need to be made and in Hal's case, they led him through numerous avenues in the hospitality industry. From the cocktail haven Anvil to working in the distribution chain at Glazers, this winding road has uncovered many new narratives. The latest chapter finds Hal spreading the joy of Rum with Parce, a Columbian variety that uniquely demonstrates the terroir and processes of the region. We chat astrology, love, and symbolic imagery in bottle enclosures.
Sometimes playing trombone in school band is the perfect gateway into bigger and better things. For Houston's Alex Negranza, this modest start transitioned into promotions, coffee, and booze....for now. With few dollars in his pocket, Alex left his native California to start a new chapter in Seattle. Here he fell more in love with coffee, which (as we'd expect) led to a deep passion for booze, and now he not only evangelizes the delicious Scrappy's Bitters, but he bartends at the cocktail mecca Anvil in Houston, TX. Aspiring to always learn and educate, Alex also serves as education chair for the Houston USBG. We chat bourbon, coincidence, and barista-ness.
In our second installment of horror movie madness at SDV, we chat with Trey Jenkins and Michael Phillips about their top 3 films for the season. Nestled in a chilling, dark booth in the back of King Bee, we dive into some absolute classics. Whether you like acid blood, vampire love, or arachnid heads, this chat will pique your interest about the horror genre. Sit back on the edge of your seat, and enter the bone chilling worlds of John Carpenter, Ridley Scott, and more.....
Diving into the spirit of Halloween, this week at SDV we take a look at some of our favorite guest's favorite horror movies. As we wait patiently for the weather to shift, i's time to bundle up, turn off the lights, and get scared a little with our favorite slasher, ghouls, and alien beings. Recorded in the dark annals of a booth at King Bee, this first installment of two dives into the minds of ghastly guys Billy Hankey and Don Swaynos. Perhaps you'll find some new favorite films in all of this.....
A love of history, science, and Utah was the spark for one of the great American whiskey tales. David Perkins wanted to be a doctor, but found better ways to help his fellow man in the pharmaceutical industry. This successful career forecasting sales and further understanding chemical compounds were the perfect precursor to a voyage in whiskey. In the face of unpopular whiskey sentiments, David learned about blending and leveraged it to make some of the finest blends in modern spirits. As the world's love of whiskey increased, so did High West sales and its need for expansion. Now, in the wake of a $160 million acquisition by constellation brands. who is the man that started it all? We talk Paul Newman, the mountains, and gadgetry.
Image from WSJ
It's High West Whiskey week at SDV! Today we dive into the one man Texas show, Chris Furtado. Chris has worked in all aspects of the hospitality industry and most recently shifted his knowledge at RNDC to become a whiskey maestro for High West. Despite some tangents into tech and coffee, whiskey kept calling him back. It's only a matter of time before this chef, bartender, and father is slinging you drinks behind his own bar. We chat rye, patrons, and talking to your audience in a language they can understand.
Welcome to inside the actor's studio with the whiskey king of Chicago, Martin Duffy. Martin has acted, has poured, has traveled, and ultimately established himself as one of the finest minds in the world of whiskey. After working his ranks through the kilt wearing days of "Brand Ambassadors" version 1. He became a SR masters of whiskey for Diageo where he tasted, saw, and smelled everything that whiskey had to offer. He now ponders the next steps while traveling the states spreading the word on the world's most luxurious sipping vessel: the Glencairn glass. In his constant support of the spirits industry, Martin has also co-produced multiple installments of the Chicago Independent Spirits Expo. We chat impressions, Gene Hackman, and how perhaps this is no whiskey country for old men.
Take a deep look into the products and culture of St. George Spirits with the hospitality veteran Paul Skiera. Working through the ranks behind the bar in Michigan and Florida, Paul made the step from RNDC to the largest small guy- St. George. 3 years later, he loves to share and imbibe in the wonderful reputation his portfolio of spirits has garnered among the industry. No doors are closes, and no projects are off limits as St. George explores every grain and fruit imaginable. We talk terroir, rock stardom, and suit jackets.
An observer of life and people, Alex Smith set on a writing journey that derailed due to academia and its creative confines. A long time California native, Alex has worked in all types of hospitality settings but found an affinity for Oakland very early on. The journey has ultimately led Alex to a deep passion for Gin, so much so that he now owns one of the the world's most amazing bar destinations for Gin, White Chapel. The idea was fortified on trust, arbitration, and ultimately Alex's reputation. We talk change, Trump, Gin, and more Gin.
100 episodes, many sips, and numerous life changing moments, this is Mike G. The wonderful guest host Michael Sanders switches roles for this 100th episode and we finally get to know a bit more about the reasons behind Show De Vie. The what, where, how, and why all encapsulated in a mezcal flight. Thanks to everyone that has made this possible, now onto 200 episodes. We chat gin, divorce, music, and the modern travesty of politics.
Back on his way to Austin for Bar Smarts, recovering punk bassist Sean Kenyon expresses his pure hospitality with Occidental and Williams & Graham in Denver, Colorado. The industry veteran has seen it all and possesses a grounded-ness that is sorely missing from the latest wave of craft bartending. From New Jersey to Austin to Colorado, the road has been filled with visceral experiences. But despite what at times might have been a tumultuous story, the latest chapter is all about love. We chat Bad Religion, Trump, Rye, and motorcycles.
Mr. Rum himself, Ed Hamilton. There is no more world traveled and scientifically adept rum man than the minister of the Ministry of Rum. Spending many of his years on boats and rigs of all sizes, Ed has sought out the finest rums in the world. With his own label Hamilton, he showcases funk, flavor, and variety with some of the most delectable rums bottled. A wealth of knowledge; this conversation is the advanced class on Rum/Rhum. We chat beer, boats, and yeast.
From Russia with love: Ania Robbins, the linguist, the teacher, the cocktail extraordinaire, and now Rhum fanatic, has had an interesting journey since leaving Russia years ago. She has mastered English and the construction of amazing cocktails. From hospitality in Mobile, AL to Austin, TX, Ania now manages one of the best cocktail destinations in Austin, Backbeat. In the latest twist of fate, Ania's fascination with Martinique has led her to represent the House of Agricole Rhum's in Texas. With such amazing marks as Rhum JM, Clement, and Damoiseau, she's elevating the conversation about agricole in Texas. We chat Calvados, advertising, and bread lines.