This is an episode of the Libation Liberation Front podcast.
John and I both had shakers. I mixed up a sour with Bulleit Rye. John mixed up another fun creation, the Viva Zapata, with Jose Cuervo and a little spicy kick–Old Ballycastle Ginger Cocktail mixer, Stirrings authentic Grenadine, and Mexican chili peppers. Speaking about the cocktails with a bite, I was planning to return once again to Founding Farmers where I was looking forward to their muy piquante Bloody Mary.
Between the last cast and this one, John went to Kansas City, in Arkansas. He visited Boulevard Brewery and his hosts took him to Manifesto for drinks. Manifesto’s head proprietor was recognized by Imbibe and ran a classic cocktail bar with an awesome speakeasy vibe. John had a Papa Doc (rum, Barbencourt 8 year, spiced apple cordial, lemon, Kansas City Smoked bitters) and a Warden Precinct (Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon, orange, homemade Grenadine, Angostura bitters.) Everyone else tried a Stay Wet, an egg foam cocktail like a fizz.
They visited a pizza restaurant, Pizzabella, and a German restaurant as well. They had a little barbecue but perhaps did not spend enough time to have some of the signature offerings from KC. John confirmed that their trip was incredibly, incredibly short. As John described it, they spent almost more time in the air than on the ground in KC. Regardless, John left with an amazing impression, of a hip, wonderful place waiting for demand to materialize. I thought this was an interesting counterpoint and contrast to our lament from a few episodes back about the other end of this trend, of great food, drink and shopping coming too slowly to the suburbs.
Overall, John said the beer selection every place they visited was great and the food was all good. That extended to the layover in Chicago, which is home to La Frontera, a sort of torta shack. On a previous trip he availed himself of Goose Island at the same airport, enjoying the Matilda. This reminded John of my experience at DuClaw‘s little taphouse in BWI, near here in Baltimore. I had a Euphoria, a gorgeous toffee nut brown ale. I often try to enliven my own travels by seeking out these sort of venues at airports, like Harry’s Tap House and Old Dominion in the DC airports, National and Dulles.
The experience of travel, especially seeking out good incidental food and drink, put John in mind of his work on Cory Doctorow‘s current read along of his first novel, “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom,” which he is doing on his podcast to take notes in preparation for undertaking a sequel. In particular, this made John think of utopianism, not the popular conception but a more realistic one where there may still be challenges but abundance changes experiences and opportunities. This caused him to think of a great question: what would you do with practical immortality?
For me, I thought having that abundance of time would allow much more in-depth savoring of travel, food, drink and experiences. John suggested walking around the world, an idea very much in keeping with what I meant. This would lead to the opposite of the compressed, rushed weekend John just enjoyed, to really deeply hold to one of our mottoes, to travel globally and drink locally. An infinite lifespan would allow for really deeply appreciated regional differences and the craft going into them. Using time in this way changes distance, in a similar way to the old saying we’ve discussed about how 100 years is not so long in Europe and 100 miles is not so far in America. Immortality would bring the best of both.
For John, he expressed this idea that he’d only want to live as long as he was curious. This spoke to a similar driving force, following interesting experiences and new learning. He used the example of hanging with some friends who are beer enthusiasts and realizing that while he still loves beer, currently cocktails and spirits have been at the focus of his curiosity. I offered that more time would expand that, allowing a surcease of anxiety, a letting go knowing that one could always circle back around to an old curiosity after a spell of time to see what has evolved.
John tied this in to abundance. We both dug into the contrast between scarcity and abundance. On the one end, I related how choice can be appreciated after a period of organic or enforce scarcity, like the peasant fare we love or prohibition of alcohol, respectively. Watching Boardwalk Empire, an example of the latter, made me think of this, as one end point. Now we have such a proliferation of choice that we can drink for authenticity rather than investing in the craft of mixing to make the best of crummy ingredients. John explained this Grenadine he snagged out of a bargain bin as an example of the other endpoint, this odd, uneven distribution and mixture of scarcity and abundance.
We spent a good deal of time on that interplay, between scarcity and abundance, especially the mismatch when the mindset that emerges from one is unfortunately applied to the other. John tied this in nicely with his thinking on the default human condition, as an artist, the magic of craft and skill well developed and so seamlessly deployed it transcends.
You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.
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