This is an episode of the Libation Liberation Front podcast.
Joining us for final interview we recorded while we were at Balticon was Randy Chertkow, friend of the podcast. We mixed up Manhattans all around, a bourbon one for Randy who is allergic to rye, which John and I had. John and I revealed some of our preferences for mixing this, one of our favorite cocktails.
We talked a bit about the bitters we brought to the con, as between John and I we stocked a pretty complete bar. We dwelled on the mole bitters. I explained why I picked up that particular bitters, for a particular sour, one with rye and egg whites. Having a bottle around has led me to experiment, which is how I ended up finishing my own Manhattans with a few drops, which adds a nice little something extra.
Randy asked about the history of the Manhattan. John tried to recall what David Wondrich said in his Esquire cocktail book. Dating particular concoctions is often elusive. Some of this has to do with the way drink recipes diffuse and are responded to with local inspiration. I pulled up the Bon Vivant’s Companion on my tablet to try to help answer the question.
Anticipating the BYOBS which was later in the day we recorded with Randy, I asked about his preferences. Admitting he is not a big drinking, he did say he enjoys beer, spirits especially whisky, and even cigars. He talked through some of his bar stock: Nolan’s Mill bourbon, Macallan 18 year. The latter set us on a scotch tangent.
We diverted on a further tangent, on how ice and sugar are more than recommended or not for particular drinks, that they are rooted in status and outward trappings. We touched on themes from our belief in the power of inefficiency, that time and experience trump artifice alone.
John asked about Randy’s recent travel. He contacted John for some multimedia help while he was in Essen, hanging with friends of his from BoardGameGeek.com. On the same trip, he visited with other friends, band mates, staying in Ireland. He expanded on the experience had had at BoardGameGeek.con and how it highlights the difference between table top gaming in the US and in Europe. Beyond that excellent base experience, Randy got special access due to the live cast he worked on, getting a chance to talk to the game creators.
John geeked out about his craft as a producer. He revealed the moments when he is able to calm his beaker nature, cultivating the focus needed to do seamless, live switching of video. Randy appreciated that same experience for much the same reasons.
Randy’s most recent travel was San Francisco, on the dime of the Grammies association. They flew him and his co-author, Jason Feehan, out to talk about the material in their book, the Indie Band Survival Guide. A new edition just came out. The themes in both editions have so much driven the industry that a stayed old industry stalwart still respects the value of what allows indies, and really all musicians and creators, successful today.
Randy brought us back around to the cocktails we were finishing up, asking whether Manhattans were traditionally bourbon or rye. He and John speculated that local sourcing may have informed why certain liquors were used for certain local and regional cocktails. And on a local theme, they quickly recapped John’s Chicago visit, to tempt him and me both to come out to Chicago for a visit soon.
You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.
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