Small Texas town gentleman turned political weapon, Revolution Spirit's founder Mark Shilling never expected that his days of lobbying would ignite a passion for distilling. It was one sip of quality moonshine that set Mark into the craft distilling stratosphere. Now, coming up on their first anniversary, Mark reflects on lessons learned and shares what Revolution Spirits is working on next. With a current product portfolio that spans from Gin to Coffee Liqueur, where does Revolution Spirits go from here and how does the term "craft" sometimes get in the way. Mark and I sip some fine bourbon and regale each other with tales of Gin escapades.
Hailing from the West Coast and inspired by a punk rock state of mind, Troy Kooper's early foray into graphics and design were the foundation that introduced him to whiskey. An early sip of scotch triggered all of the pleasure centers that ultimately led Troy into a love affair with Rye whiskey. Kooper Family Rye is the first rye out of Dripping Springs, but this floral, 80 proof, wonderfully balanced spirit won't be the only thing coming out of the Kooper Family. Enjoy this lovely chat about Detroit, fatherhood, wars, and how Rye is Troy's most beloved. Rye or die, as they say.
The quintessential spirits enthusiast, Jessica Tantillo Barnard is there to help us with all of our liquor ordering and educational needs. As an amazing asset to Twin Liquor in Austin, TX, Jessica's friendliness, worldliness, and penchant for good music inspires us all to live a great story. From humble beginnings in Tomball,TX, to traveling the world in search of culinary adventure, Jessica has seen all sectors of the booze industry and is a wonderful ally to the Austin cocktail culture. We reminisce karaoke, mezcal, and how once you find that one true love, it's all just a bit simpler.
Austin's dubbed, "Tiki-Trey" is a film student turned Rum fanatic. Both understated and pensive, Trey Jenkins has worked his way through many of the Austin cocktail landmarks, including: Peché and the tiki-centric Isla. A latent imbiber, and dedicated cocktail academic, Trey is through and through an artist. While balancing color and textures in celluloid, and parlaying his cocktail expertise into a chief mixologist position at RNDC, he has created an amazing amount of clout in a short amount of time. We dip into the Havana club this time around and have a fruitful chat.
The Texas cocktail movement would have never been the same without the behind-the- scenes brilliance of John Garrett. A recovering songwriter who happens to love the art of spirits and has dedicated his career to educating the industry with an unparalleled approachability. John has revitalized the excitement around Sherry, Mezcal, and Vermouth in the lone star state. And now with his most ambitious distribution gig to date, John heads Victory distribution with a new strategy and focus. We chat agave, becoming irrelevant, and how guitar is a great vehicle for what ails ya. It's an eye opening chat with a jet-setting unsung hero of the industry.
Inspired cook, admirable father, and shrewd businessman, Josh Loving is a man to be rivaled. He turned skillful weaving of esoteric ingredients at the now defunct cocktail incubator Fino into a successful stint in the world of consulting. This culinary journey not only created a Josh Loving brand of 5 spice bitters, but positioned him as one of the go to experts of cocktails in Austin. Starting in food, then transitioning to wine, Josh is now entering the next phase of his adventure, bar ownership. His new venture, Small Victory- 108 E. 7th Austin, Texas, opens very soon and the whole city is waiting in anticipation. We have a great chat ranging from post-college antics to the importance of being a present father. He's been there and done that, so let's drink some calvados and do this.
Being goth and Italian in Waco, Texas isn't the cakewalk you would expect. The multi-talented Becca King has established a name for herself in the entertainment, fashion (Waxed Black), and service industries (Drink.Well., East Side Showroom). This trinity of talents has taken her many places, and although ending up in Austin, Becca still pines over the hustling Los Angeles frenzy. We chat ex-spouses, new love, therapy, and Marilyn Manson in this 90's themed conversation.
An auteur of writing, sipping, and alcohol academics, Austin's Matt McGinnis has an interesting journey. Born in the midwest, and adventuring his way ultimately to Austin, Matt has dated models, borrowed the best wine bottles, and developed quite the thirst for spirits production in the process. Part prankster, part gentleman, we have a great conversation while sipping some fine 1960's bourbon; that's what we're drinking. And the conversation begs the question: What are You Drinking? (also Matt's blog)
An apple and PR infused power couple, Wes and Mary discuss their genesis and how working together becomes a challenging task at times. With a beautiful balance of reason and creativity, they share some great stories about Arkansas and how Wes' musical career peaked whilst opening for a premier harmonica player. We discuss how Argus became Argus and how Strange Fruit became the newly reborn Resplendent firm. Listen to the love and enjoy some cider in this great chat.
Tipsy Texan might be the most influential rock group to hit Texas mixology culture....ever. With a novel, string of mind altering classes, and a thorough disambiguation of cocktail concepts in the books. What's next for Tipsy Texan? This conversation with Joe Eifler might just reveal the answers. Growing up Catholic and shy, Joe details his love of plants and the formidable David Alan. From Mezcal to Rock'n'rye, Joe has helped guide the every shrewd step of the Tipsy Texan empire. Sit back and enjoy karaoke tales and misplaced song artists as Joe and I detail novice singing careers while educating the masses on the value of great cocktail ingredients.
In the conclusion to our wonderful interview, Shid talks about his military service in Somalia and how a notorious shot of Bourbon catapulted him into the next chapter of his life. From Peché to the world renowned Half Step bar, each chapter has been an interesting one for Shid. We talk the perfect bar and how his living room might just be the best prototype for the next big cocktail concept. Enjoy the chat, and spend some time knowing that you have to enjoy each challenge and each triumph because we all die sometime.
In part 1 of an extensive chat about life, love, death, and spirits, Shid demonstrates the power of positivity and allowing things to be what they'll be. An army brat constantly challenged with defining his sense of self, Shid has worked through countless hurdles to end up detailing his great American novel of a life in an amazing interview. A pop culture lover, and an 80's child with a love of movies, Shid has lived twice the lives most of us have. Sit back and enjoy this riveting tale about a guy doing what his does and doing it well.
UT grad turned industry personality, Justin Elliott has the jokes and cocktail chops to entertain anyone. This composer, playwright, and self proclaimed "sad bastard" has traveled the world and ended up at the amazing Townsend Bar in Austin, TX. We chat Metaxa, Old Granddad, and about everything in between. It's a whole different story once you own part of a bar, and the tensions mounts every night as Justin's life takes a great turn for the future. Sit back, think of facial hair, and enjoy this episode in your favorite 1920's vest.
Is it Travis or is it Tober? We discuss the crucial difference between the outspoken, friendly hooligan Tober and the pensive, career driven Travis. A Buffalo, NY native, Travis shares a winding tale of behind the bar experiences and how sometimes your love life just has to be secondary. Leading the lovely Vox Table, Travis wears many hats as he also moonlights as one of the brand ambassadors for Aviation Gin. The warm Gin shots are flowing and so is this great conversation.
The agrarian brainiac, Andy is a modern renaissance man pairing good taste with great knowledge of ingredients. Currently bartending at the lauded Olamaie, he shares his home gardening tips and advice on keeping expertise an earned privilege. We share bourbon and biscuit recipes to the tune of life's cruel mistress, moderation.
Hank is a legend in the Austin booze narrative. A man driven by wanderlust and the quest for great whiskey. We chat about life, drugs, IRC, and a sobering realization that he looks like Ernest Hemingway. All of the studying, eating, and drinking led him here to a great opportunity in Austin with Whistle Pig. Glasses raised and banter heightened in this great conversation.
An El Paso escapee, Michael opens up in a wonderful chat about love, never moving forward too quickly, and ramen. Perhaps drifting in and out of love with Austin, he will always keep moving and always keep learning. At the helm of the Midnight Cowboy crew, he's constantly immersed in a culture of innovation, cordiality, and high proof pours. He shares great stories of his family coming together, booze laden genius, and the comfort in having that one love to come home to. Listen and enjoy.
Jessica has rose through the ranks in Austin and managed to create the wonderful Drink.Well. in the process. She's an influential force in spirits education and has an inspiring story in her break from corporate America. We discuss the soon to be opened Backbeat on South Lamar and find out how plutonic relationships can't often stay that way. It's a New York state of mind and a bourbon kind of evening in our great chat.
A intimdating force in the bar industry, the formidable Billy Hankey shows that simplicity is best and sometimes life just takes you where it takes you. A true Austinite with a resume that spans eras, Billy is a darling guy who just loves to sip Mezcal now and then. With his King Bee business partner (and soon to be wife) Colette, he's willing to take on any challenge and loves learning in the process. We chat love, music, and plague movies.
Warning: this conversation will be almost entirely about film and music. Don is a freelance editor, director, film buff, and writer that has emerged successful, despite the odds, in the "modern" film industry. From Hollywood Video to the Sundance film festival, we cover lots of ground and geek out in a great conversation about the tumult of life and the power of not throwing the towel in just yet.
What hasn't Jason Kosmas accomplished? From consultant, business owner, to spirits mogul, Jason has maintained a brilliant sense of nerdiness and humility. He's hopeful for the new Star Wars movie and anticipates the forthcoming 7 year Cana Brava Rum (which looks beautifully delicious). There isn't much left for Jason to achieve, but sometimes the transition from behind the bar to brand owner isn't the performance art it's cracked up to be.
Everything counts in large amounts and Javier Flores shares his wonderful story of navigating through self-purpose, business acumen, and the value of a college education. With family at the core of his experiences in the world, Javier regales us with tales from the border and the Big Ass ice shop.
The lovable Mr. Boley shares stories of rocky relationships, food, fatherhood, and writing great songs on the road. When a defining opportunity challenges his outlook on life and the service industry, he finds his love of music waiting for him right around the corner.
Bryan discusses his rise in the ranks at Sushi Zushi and how that presented a great opportunity with the El Chile Group in Austin. Pisco, plates, and private moments are shared as he prepares to load the Fun Fun Fun Fest taco cannon with the most delicious tacos ever used as a weapon.
Alex, a North Carolina expat, shares his serendipitous journey in Austin one year in. An economics student turned expert mixologist discusses the opening of The Roosevelt Room and how the greatest opportunities are near on the horizon....