Hockey, basketball, acid burns, and mezcal are only the beginning to this fruitful chat with Vancouver native Jonathan Smolensky. A serpentine road of broadcast journalism, hockey curriculum, and a genetic prosperity to understanding economic theory led Jon into the wonderful cocktail culture of Vancouver. Although he wouldn't admit it, Jon helped shaped the narrative of hospitality and craft cocktails in Canada. His bar talents eventually transitioned into business owner and Jon now operates Sovereign Wine and Spirits which brings some of the world's greatest spirits into Canada. We chat the Eagles, ageism, and what time management is all about.
The world is a crazy place and sometimes you can't shake the path on which you were raised. Ashley Haussermann started as a Hotel owner's daughter in Canada and touched with various types of performance arts in the process. Understanding the turmoil that surrounds divorce and substance abuse, Ashley has finely crafted her ambition to ensure success in any road she takes. As she just now leaves Austin, TX after a great impact at The Roosevelt Room and Vox table, what will her life have in store as she lands in NYC? Soon to be consulting and writing under the moniker the Drink Duchess, Ashley will pave a great path in the globally influential NYC cocktail scene. We talk gourds, greetings, love, and start ups.
This is the latest from Show de Vie, Jonathan Wingo is the brilliant Balvenie brand ambassador for William Grant and Sons. His passion for music and ruckus steered his life in very exciting directions. A conservative Christian upbringing became the impetus for a deep interest in something else, something wilder: punk rock. This musical foundation inspired creativity and ultimately coincided with the perfect Jack&Coke to unleash a deep interest in whiskey. Erudite, fun-loving, and resident Saddle Creek fan, Wingo loves to learn. As a Forbes 30 under 30 nominee, Jonathan only started to see his career in the whiskey industry emerging. He nows travels the world sharing the wonderful line up of Balvenie whiskey. We talk Tim Kasher, Connor, ethics, having beards, and the lovely label mates at William Grant and Sons.
It takes a lot to start a distillery. It takes even more to put your life into mastering the flavor of Whiskey. The passion, education, and sheer sweat equity you put into your business cannot be described. So imagine that someone wants to take this all away from you? This chat with Chip Tate is a frustrating and an optimistic one. The media has portrayed his departure from Balcones in a such misanthropic way. I hope this conversation dispels any of the rumors and serves as a cautionary tale of business. Beyond the whiskey mastermind lies a wonderful father committed to his family, and a utilitarian that will succeed at anything he puts his mind to. Chip is a deeply intelligent man who thinks about the details that can perfect a spirit. His knowledge of barrel chars, fermentation, and raw material processing is astounding. He's an encyclopedia of knowledge and it was a humbling conversation to say the least. We chat agave, science, strip clubs, and wonder why people trust us the way they do.
With wild talents in brass instruments, magnet school curriculum, and LSAT studying, June Rodil has succeeded at each new challenge she's approached. She's driven, brilliant, and fun to sip with. June is a Philippines-> Texas native that has embraced a life of knowledge and education. June is one of only 23 Female Master Sommelier's in the world and despite the grueling process of obtaining this credential, she's not done aspiring for the next thing. June's rich pedigree in the hospitality industry has led her to her most ambitious role yet as Beverage Directory for McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group. Her exemplary attention to detail helps Jeffrey's, Perla's, Josephine House (and others) produce some of the best beverages in Austin. The long-awaited "June's" becomes the latest experience from MMH, but also an homage to June herself. The anticipated wine bar becomes yet another journey and another chance to learn. We chat nerdiness, Netflix, and nuance.
It's Wine week at SDV! I know sometimes the show tilts more towards booze, but this enlightening chat captures one of the most influential wine personalities (and overall lovely beings) in the culinary movement. Paula is a drama loving, New York imbibing, wine savant. Her careers spans decades and has involved many wonderful experiences across the globe. We are lucky to have her back in Austin after nearly losing her to the gargantuan wine culture of NYC. But with a new title and a countless list of opportunities with La Corsha Hospitality Group, Paula is ready to start the next chapter in Austin, TX. She's courteous, intelligent, and a real pleasure to chat with. We talk Are You Being Served?, arrogance, the growth of Austin, and how wine folks aren't that bad after all.
Iain is the "Norm" of the industry. We all want to hang out with him and we all want to know his name. He's managed to deliver amazing flavors and brilliant concoctions across the bar in White Lyan and Dandelyan in London while never showing signs of stopping. At an age just shy of 30, Iain is innovating in every way possible. His zero waste and high flavor efforts at White Lyan in London make it an international destination and his genius spawned from necessity is giving way to some of the finest cocktails in the world. Iain's career has garnered a seat at the international table of hospitality and his simple yet cerebral approach to flavor is far ahead of the pack. We chat Australia, catering, bourbon, and how apologies are so very endearing in the name of love.
Texas couldn't be more thankful for New York sending over their talented hospitality pro, bass guitar fanatic, and overall music lover, Omar Yeefoon. The NY transplant has delved into music, touring, academia and bartending while emerging one of the brightest talents in the game. With a checkered history in the Dallas cocktail scene, Omar now helms 86 Co in the region as the Texas Market Manager; where he pours quality rum and speaks the praises of this brilliant portfolio of spirits. His warmth is massive and maybe someday a new album is on the way from this jack-of-all-trades. We pet dogs, sip rum, and chat about the Descendants. Sounds like a great time right?
The week of Brazil continues at SDV! This time we dive deep into the other rich libation that we so often imbibe: coffee. Joel Shuler is a soccer prodigy who's knee injury set him on an amazing journey of exotic occupations and travels. As his Kipling-esque life kept bringing him back to Brazil, Joel set out to find amazing high-quality Brazilian coffee because someone told him it didn't exist in the states. Again, passion and necessity spawned the beautiful Casa Brasil in Austin, TX. A coffee haven, and the once pulse of Brazilian culture in Austin, that imports the finest Brazilian coffee and show now signs of slowing. The evolution and delicious endeavors of Casa Brasil also brought brewer/troublemaker Eric Wolf into the mix to roast, to create, and to deliver great flavors. A hospitality expert and ex-assistant brewer to South Austin Brewery, Eric brought the perfect set of skills to elevate the already incredible flavor profile of Casa Brasil's labels. We chat rum, back soccer movies, and getting into trouble in Waco.
Military, music, and mixology: Nate Casablanca Whitehouse is the science/art hybrid that we see so often in this industry. Good with music, but also good with details. NCW's sobering realization that he didn't want to be a musician anymore turned into a successful foray into law and booze. What was created out of necessity, Avua Cachaca became the answer to the more aggressive Cachaca's in the US market. With its impeccable design, lush flavor, and beautiful expression of the Brazilian terroir, Avua soon rose to the ranks as the best cachaca available in the US. A few years later, there are lessons learned but still so many opportunities for education.. We talk divorce, chemistry, distilling, and true generosity still present in our fellow man.
Hardcore shows, pizzeria bussing, and softball umping seem like a disparate blend of activities, but Daniel Kutch has parlayed them into a thriving career in the bartending industry. A California native with a keen interest in learning, Daniel has been manning Maven in San Francisco for over 3 years now and at the ripe age of 25 is joining us in Austin to guest bartend at The Townsend this Thursday. He's got lots to learn, but no more eager and willing a student will you find. Daniel is well traveled, well spoken, and entrenched in the well; not to mention he will be making 3 special drinks at The Townsend (718 Congress Ave, Austin, TX) on Thursday, April 7th in conjunction with Collectif 1806 from 4p-12a. We chat serial killers, tattoos, and being at the right place at the right time.
Bonjour Bob King, may your travels be fruitful. The 12 year Austinite has just left to start a new chapter of his life in PDX. The music prone, cocktail prone, and humor prone Bob King is an all American guy from Katy, TX. From Eastside Showroom to The Townsend in Austin, TX, Bob has left an amazing imprint of the lives of those around him. His sarcastic delivery and loving connection with the industry makes his departure a sad blow to Austin, TX. Sometimes love changes and deforms, and sometimes leaving it all behind to start something new is the most poetic way to punctuate an ongoing story. We talk Bourbon, guitar, Austin, and matchmaking.
This is a chat about Mezcal, this is a chat about being involved, but moreover, this is a chat about how you can have your voice heard in the debate over NOM-199. Misty is a purveyor of truth, ethics, and passion for agave. We discuss the current legislative threats to the state of the agave spirits that inspire us so deeply. Misty disambiguates this verbose bill and allows us all to make an educated choice on the issue. She embraces the midwest humility while still retaining an amazing academic pedigree. Her story is punctuated by distinct moments of clarity and learning. From a master's program at Harvard to emerging as a global personality in the field of mezcal for Del Maguey, she has experienced agave and the brilliant people that produce the best Mezcal in the world. We make jokes, sip Mezcal, and applaud Evan Meeker's professionalism. The time is now to passively engage a single petition to truly influence a classification of spirits that affect us deeply. Mezcal is pure, passionate, and is one of the finest conduits to the earth we inhabit. Please weigh the consequences and leave your mark here
Book writing, Patron slinging, karaoke singing, and overall inspiration to the industry, Tipsy Texas- aka David Alan stands at the apex of education and empowerment. David is the quintessential Texan and friend of the industry. Whether it has been promoting good cocktail etiquette via his beautiful book or spreading the joy of amazing cocktail flavors via Tipsy Texas, David has helped launched an assail on cocktail culture. He has helped shape the narrative while always making time to sing a few songs in the process. This decorated road has led him to a global position with Patron Spirits and it proves to be the biggest challenge to date. What is good Tequila? How does it get here? Why should we be concerned? David creates agave awareness with the utmost diplomacy and is in a sense the "patron saint" to the industry. We talk love, singing, booze, arrogance, and old-school Austin.
Punk, bass, scrawny, and French, are but a few of the words to describe the lovable Florian Minier. An early academic success transitioning into the arts, Florian is down to earth, hard working, and wise beyond his years. Growing up in Connecticut and making his way into the burgeoning cocktail movement of NY were only the preface to what has and will be an illustrious career in Texas. Currently residing at the world-class Half Step, Florian manages to build a wonderful reputation while being a great soul to be around. We talk Motorhead, Calvados, love, and ownership (not connected).
Happy 40th birthday to a friend of the industry, Mr. Brian Floyd. Floyd is a charmer, a dancer, and an all around renaissance man. With an amazing tale of missed opportunities, broken down cars, and chance meetings that formed the future of his hospitality career, Floyd is an inimitable force in the industry. Between opening up Weather Up in NYC and transitioning his career from behind the bar to creative directing at Sourced Craft Cocktails, this is just the beginning. We chat about film, music, love, grudges, and building a strong relationship with Dad in our adulthoods. Of course we sip bourbon and talk about Paul Newman.
From Baylor to London, Tom Thornton has seen it all and experienced it all. A music fan turned food writer/aficionado, Tom's journalistic endeavors have led him to chat with some of the finest people in the business. From frank conversations with Noel Gallagher to attending small venue David Bowie shows, Tom's enviable journey is laden with music greatness. A fine father, distinguished drinker, and successful realtor, Tom Thornton embraces the multi-faceted modern occupation while still taking some time to enjoy the finer things in life. We chat Rye, modern music, the state of food writing, and how London is a wonderful place to do just about anything. Enjoy this Saz 18 infused chat.
Quintessential food expert Mariam Parker continues to fight the good fight with the Austin Food and Wine Alliance. With programs for children aspiring to be in the food industry, a showcase for the Texas spirits industry, and multiple grants empowering food entrepreneurs, Mariam is at the pulse of Texas' culinary culture. As a UT grad with a rich food history, she found a serendipitous seat as the executive director of the AFWA. She continues to support the industry while enabling great culinary innovation. We chat dating, mezcal, karaoke, and the ubiquitous nature of beards.
Their eyes met from across the bar: one possessed an adept ability to build syrups and bitters to empower the aspiring bartender, the other possessed a meta quality of flavor building and a rich cultural history in food. The resulting brainchild Bittercube was born thereafter. Many states, and employees later, Nick and Ira operate the consulting and bitters producing behemoth Bittercube. The two compose the perfect buddy cop dynamic while embracing their individually unique talents. Ranging from Orange and Jamaican bitters to their delicious Cherry Bark variety, Nick and Ira are sharing their brilliance one dropper at a time. We chat Half Step, community, fate, and family foods while sipping black coffee at 9:30am.
If the tenderness, coolness, and overall cordiality of the midwest can be summarized by JR Mocanu, then the country isn't as bad off as we make it out to be. A first generation Romanian American, JR is an everyman's man. He enjoys beer, action movies, and having a good time. These traits of course set his love of hospitality perfectly in motion. However, the grips of the midwest winters sent him south to Austin, TX to explore a new chapter in his career. JR has recently released one of the most ambitious cocktail menus in recent memory at Vox Table and the Texas cocktail scene thanks him. We chat Madison, beer, Wild Turkey Rye 101, and how moving for love sometimes opens the greatest of doors.
The anime and Final Fantasy doesn't define Amanda Carto, but the insatiable thirst for quality and knowledge just might. Amanda is a Pittsburg native that entered the hospitality industry at a young age and showed her talent for ingredients immediately. Both a Tales from the Cocktail and San Antonio Cocktail Conference student, her ambition and professionalism know no bounds. She is the future of the industry because she's willing to work for every opportunity she can. We chat video games, UCLA, camps, and Geraldines in Austin, TX.
Jen Keyser has lived the Grapes of Wraith American tale. Her immersion in culture and conflict was the perfect breeding ground for the latent creativity that she's unleashing at Geraldines in Austin, TX. With obstacles from California to Texas, Jen could construct the perfect folk record. The tumultuous tale carried Jen into Texas where her career experienced a brilliant renaissance. As an amazing gig at The Highball introduced Jen to the incredible Drafthouse crew and community, her love of whiskey also started to blossom. Known for her cheekiness and love of the brown trickle, Jen is now the Chief of Bar Operations at Geraldines at the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, TX. Will the corporate gig cause turmoil, or is it the perfect launching point to achieve even greater success? We sip bourbon, talk about love lost, and stealing all the right things.
From Germany to Ohio to Texas, The Roosevelt Room's Dennis Gobis is a devotee to family and hard work. A father of 4 pit bulls and an amazing cocktail destination in Austin, TX. He continues to learn and innovate in the cocktail world. A strange trip from Germany ejected Dennis into the United States without a grasp of the English language or a sense of what was next. After years of pummeling drums, working in real estate and construction, he ultimately found solace in the hospitality industry. Austin has embraced his personality with awards and now he is finally making his mark with the Roosevelt Room. With an unparalleled dedication to detail and cerebral ingredients, Dennis continues to defy the parameters of stagnant cocktail ingredients while romancing his patrons from behind the bar. We sip Mezcal and talk about America's predilection to solve problems with pills.
Justin Lavenue is the perfect candidate for the cover of GQ. He embodies fashion- forward thinking, wit, intelligence, and the pure essence of a gentleman. A child of divorce and ironically great role-models, Justin Lavenue balances classic chivalry and metropolitan ambition. From an unlikely start at an Indian restaurant in Boulder, CO, to being one of the owners of Austin's The Roosevelt Room, JL has only begun to take the industry by storm. We talk father influence, wrestling our younger brothers, and how working hard will always make you appreciate hard work. Despite the accolades, peer recognition, and natural talent though, will Justin be able to ever take a moment to enjoy it? We chat long term workloads, and how maybe sometimes we have to seize those moments of reflection.
40 episodes to freedom! This milestone interview captures the brilliant Francisco Terrazas, an erudite mezcal savant who educates and shares the gospel of Mezcal Vago across the nation. With a rich academic past in Arizona, and a resume that would make agave lovers awe, Francisco loves what he does and is a spokesman for tradition. His core appreciation of family and chivalry also makes him an amazing role model. We sip a rare bottle of Del Maguey and talk marriage, absentee fathers, and partying it up at Arizona State University.