Guadalajara native Alan Ruesga-Pelayo has hospitality in his blood. As a helper with his parents social events, and a lover of conversation, the perfect stage was set for Alan to excel in the bartending community. After moving to meet his sister in Washington DC, a necessity to learn English and a great deal of opportunities in hospitality started to pave his career. Some years later, a chance meeting behind the bar led to his most recent connection with Cazadores as the new and colorful brand ambassador. We chat hosting, press, Austin, and more.
John Campbell has lived on the wee island of Islay his entire life. Ensconced in the culture of Scotch production, fishing, and shepherding, Mr. Campbell couldn't represent the tradition of Laphroaig any deeper. Working his way through all positions at the distillery, John now travels the world talking about the delicious world of peat, and the exceptional liquid that is Laphroaig. What has the 25+ years at the distillery taught him? We chat fatherhood, inspiration, numbers, and more.
The deeply unique and rich flavors of Laphroaig can only be represented by the most exceptional of hosts; enter stage right, Mr Simon Brooking. Simon has a wealth of knowledge about literature, poetry, acting, and the essence of culture. When his passion of acting is combined with the eccentric yet traditional flavors of a heavily peated Scotch, the ensuing fun is unparalleled. The road to Scotch is winding, but Simon punctuates it with eloquence and excellence. We chat about Lore, pairings, Shid, and more.
Ryan Ehrlichman takes deep interest in the world around him. Whether it's traveling, art, or music, he envelopes himself in information to keep his mind expanding. This inner motivation brought the native Indianian to Austin just for the prospect of opportunity. Now, just a few years later, Ryan manages the team at Austin's renowned Midnight Cowboy. Just on the heels, THIS WEEK, of a new horror/fall themed menu release, what's next for Ryan and how will he get there? We chat art, travel, language, and more.
From Ice Cream to Tequila to New York Bitters pedaler, Eric has lived a very interesting life. His friendly demeanor and disarming laugh can make anyone a believer. But a life in hospitality serving others so often, how do you create a balance for yourself? We chat Connecticut, agave, connections, and more.
Sother Teague's journey has been an epic one. But despite where the voyage has taken him, it's always been within the realm of hospitality. A teacher, a writer, a host, and a massive fan of all things bitter; Sother is a renaissance man. Whether pouring drams at his esteemed Amor y Amargo or capturing his essence as a host with his new book I'm Just Here for the Drinks, Sother is the perfect drinking companion. We chat Huey Lewis and the News, Alton Brown, style, and more.
Starting as a finicky eater and a boy of routine, Danny Mena's mathematical mind transformed in his college years. The once deeply analytical mind evolved into the world food. Supper clubs, and many flavor combinations later, Danny paired his business acumen and his kitchen experience to launch a successful restauranteur career. This deep passion of Mexico and flavor inevitably drove him into the beautiful world of Mezcal. We chat music, flavor, inspiration, and Mezcal.
Sombra Mezcal's Andres Portela was steeped in hospitality as part of a generous Argentinian family. Early studies in English and getting mix tape suggestions from his musical siblings encouraged Andres to take the stage, but not in the way you'd think. Working his way through the hospitality industry in Mexico, Andres now takes the stage to educate the masses on the beauty of Agave, and of course Sombra Mezcal. We chat Metal, RiotFest, sustainability, and Mezcal.
Few individuals have lived such a colorful life as the artist and agave shamen, Ron Cooper. As a creative kid interested in cars, travel, and love, Ron started the first chapter of his beautiful tale as an artist. A tale that weaves through decades of creation, learning, and ultimately Mezcal. We chat about everything.
Dallas has recently seen a nice influx of agave centric bars, but none have the heart and history like Las Almas Rotas. Shad Kvetko is a writer, a collector, and a passionate agave amigo. His deep passion for Southwest aesthetic, as having grown up in Arizona, changed the way he perceived his surroundings. Many tales late, after starting a semi-secret Mezcal club, a beautiful Mezcaleria, Las Almas Rotas, was born. We chat roadside attractions, Mezcal, cacti, and more.
I had a beautiful partner for over 10 years. Kichi, a pensive and dedicated Shiba Inu, changed my life forever. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our life together and share a few thoughts. Rest in peace.
The world of agave is constantly changing and without the efforts of Jason Paul Cox, this narrative wouldn't be moving forward as boldly. After years of translating Spanish to English for those in need, a combination of emotionally gravity and worldly compassion changed Jason's trajectory completely. A risky foray into food brought him to open the lauded Oaxacan culinary landmark El Destilado. The heavy focus on agave of the region naturally transitioned into the creation of Cinco Sentidos destilados de agaves. We chat empathy, entrepreneurialism, Puebla, and more.
When you decide that your journey as an entrepreneur has begun, that trek will never end. Arik Torren had family inspiration, and a lust for life when he set out to do that thing that would ultimately define his career. Agave Spirits have grown profoundly as a category in the US, but much the interest in Mezcal and Raicilla wouldn't have occurred without Arik's passion and tenacity. We chat restaurants, his baby Fidencio Mezcal, teaching, and more.
Aaron Kolitz has traveled around the world, sometimes cooking, sometimes sipping, but always learning. The San Antonio native has always been interested in education. And once the hospitality bug settled in, his ability to adapt and learn landed him gigs at various wonderful restaurants. Now as a brand ambassador for Casa Noble tequila, his kindness, interest in raw ingredients, and ability to connect with folks keeps propelling him forward. We chat shuttering a restaurant, top golf, and agave.
Nicole Austin brings a new breath into the world of whiskey. Former King's County blender and project engineer, Nicole has a blend of science and art in her blood that is truly unique. Her understanding of chemistry and love of music managed to converge into the world of whiskey. Now with her highest profile role yet, the distillery manager for Cascade Hollow Distilling Company, how can she bring the delicious George Dickel back to the limelight. For some of us it never left, but the saturated world of whiskey leaves lots of work to be done. We chat hardcore, horse riding, and the new Dickel Bottle in Bond.
David Blackmore brings suaveness, Scottish-ness, and charm to Ardbeg and Glenmorangie. As the global brand ambassador, he traverses the world sharing some of the most delicious drams in the world. With a keen background in wildlife, entrepreneurialism, and whiskey, he brings a certain flair to the conversation. Always the life of the party, he returns to the road for the newest Ardbeg release DRUM for Arbeg's commemorative day 6/1/19. We chat health, Deep Purple, grooviness, and more.
Sometimes you never realize where an advanced degree in fermentation might take you. Now decades later, it's easy to say, you get to create the best Scotches in the world with creative carte blanc. Dr. Bill Lumsden is one of the most insightful and humorous figures in Scotch whiskey. A fan of music, art, and dream journaling, his creative output is unparalleled. So much so, that in the last Glenmorangie Private Edition series Allta, he found a yeast never before used and made a Scotch out of it. We chat Prince, writing, inspiration, and age.
Diageo's Scotch Expert Ewan Morgan has achieved many accolades across his 25+ year career in Scotch. But perhaps most important is that Ewan is a humble, good guy. Whether traveling, fishing, farming, or just exploring the world of distillation, Ewan has kept a level head about it all. Perhaps it's the community of punk rock ideology, or maybe it's a penchant for horror movies? Either way, his love of people and process makes him an encyclopedia of Scotch knowledge. We chat GOT, John Carpenter, Clynelish, and more.
Jared Brown has been chronicling the world of spirits and bar culture for many decades. His efforts to bring understanding to cocktail culture, distillation, and overall "mixology" have resulted in publishing over 20 books on these subjects. But being an accomplished author wasn't nearly enough, as Jared now works for the British Gin company Sipsmith; a delicious concoction actually made within the London city limits. We chat about craft distilleries, love, traveling, peace, and more.
Lynnette Marrero has earned entry into the esteemed Tales of the Cocktail's "Hall of Dames"; a loving moniker dedicated to the work of great women in the hospitality industry. Her interest in the human condition, art, music, and helping others has resulted in some of the best collaborations the hospitality industry has seen. For many women, the ability to compete in Speed Rack, one of Lynnette's many project, is enlightening and introspective. Further, as an educator, Lynnette's work unearths what might be otherwise the lost history of powerful women breaking boundaries in hospitality. What's next? And where can we take inclusivity? We chat the 20's, singing, Puerto Rico, and more.
Jameson's Simon Nicolian is no stranger to travel and the ease of island life. Raised on the small island of Anguilla, he helped with day to day duties of his father's hotel. Hospitality was strong as a very young age. As relationships change, so do families and Simon then started to explore the streets of London. Never leaving his hospitality roots, Simon travels the world delivering great cocktail program, choice jokes, and a charisma you won't soon forget. We chat Thanksgiving, hats, mezcal, and more.
The new Austin cocktail staple has shifted the paradigm on cocktails in Texas. Constructed entirely from scratch, the basement-esque, Here Nor There keeps service #1 and pretention somewhere outside the doors. Chatting with a few brilliants minds that created the culture, Terry Robson and Nik the Greek, you quickly learn that this is the place you want to drink. Lauded, delicious, and still obscured by city streets, Here Nor There is just about to launch their new menu. We talk about acting, having what you want, creativity, and more.
Tullamore Dew's latest addition to the team is the Irish force, Donna Stewart. With a background in business and event coordinating, a fortuitous trip to L.A. turned into the beginning of a deep love of Irish whiskey. The seemingly random stint working at an Irish bar in California became the perfect stage for Donna to represent one of the world's finest whiskies. We chat Irish Coffee, podcasts, Boston, and more....
Bacardi Malts international ambassador Georgie Bell has trekked far from her original geography studies in Scotland. A fan of culture, travel, and flavor, Georgie traverses the world sharing drams of the finest Scotches: Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Deveron, Aultmore, and others. Her keen interest in making Scotch accessible in terms of discussion and flavor keep elevating the narrative of whisky. We chat females in whisky, Marsala, Austin, and more....
The shores of Islay have been described as beautiful, gray, and obscured. However, this small area of Scotland produces some of the most beautiful and vibrant spirits in the world. Master distiller of Bruichladdich, Adam Hannett and master forager, James Donaldson, have constructed something different on Islay, something truly unique to the flavors of the area. The resulting Botanist Gin is the beauty, smoke, and grayness of Scotland in a bottle. The painstaking process of hand picking botanicals, using different distillates, and crafting something outside the comfort zone of Scotch, is the perfect of The Botanist gin. We chat fatherhood, humility, not recognizing actors, and more.