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The Cottonmouth Club Presents: Bars, Bar Culture, Cocktails & Spirits
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The Cottonmouth Club Presents: Bars, Bar Culture, Cocktails & Spirits

Author: Michael Neff

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“The Cottonmouth Club Presents” features Master Bartender and Mixologist Michael J. Neff talking with professionals from around the globe about hospitality and humanity through the lens of bars, bartenders, spirits and cocktails. Interspersed with Neff’s unique viewpoint are conversations and sketches, all created and performed by the amazingly talented staff of The Cottonmouth Club itself.
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Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discusses the different phases of mastery with some of the finest bartenders from around the world. In this episode, we’re talking with Modern Bartender, ms. franky marshall.This is the second of our two-part conversation with ms. marshall. You can find part one on our web site at https://thecottonmouthclubpresents.com.Ms. marshall has been a bartender for a hot minute—both before the modern cocktail movement in nightclubs & dive bars around New York, and after at such storied cocktail bars as The Holiday Cocktail Lounge, Clover Club & The Dead Rabbit.She has also traveled around the world studying spirits, cocktails, and the culture that surrounds them. Her insights in this, the first part of our conversation, are valuable to anyone with an interest in life on either side of the bar.Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discusses the different phases of mastery with some of the finest bartenders from around the world. In this episode, we’re talking with Modern Bartender, ms. franky marshall.Ms. marshall has been a bartender for a hot minute—both before the modern cocktail movement in nightclubs & dive bars around New York, and after at such storied cocktail bars as The Holiday Cocktail Lounge, Clover Club & The Dead Rabbit.She has also traveled around the world studying spirits, cocktails, and the culture that surrounds them. Her insights in this, the first part of our conversation, are valuable to anyone with an interest in life on either side of the bar.Some highlights include:“You have to put as much effort into making that vodka soda as you do in making a Japanese Whisky Highall.... You should be taking pride in your work, so that every single drink you make, even the simplest one, is going to be great.”“As a trainer, you need to be able to give and you need to be generous with your knowledge.”“(Relating to people is) why you need to read books, or travel, or look at art, so you have other things to to give to people across that bar.”Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Heart with special guest Ms. Yael Vengroff (aka Yael Stormborn).Yael is a long-time bartender who cut her teeth in some of the most storied bars in Houston (Grand Prize) & New York City (Pegu Club, Painkiller) before moving to Los Angeles to take over as Bar Director for The Spare Room in the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and Genghis Coen. The group also has bars in Seattle and Nashville, which Yael helms, as well.She has many accomplishments to her name, including winning the women-only charity speed competition Speed Rack, as well as being named Best American Bartender at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail.Some highlights from Part 2 of our conversation:“I think that vulnerability is mastery. Vulnerability is Mastery of the Ego.”“You have to be able to crush yourself to death and break yourself down enough to fully embody Mastery.”“You can be vulnerable and logical at the same time, but it requires removing your emotions.”Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: Katy HillSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Heart with special guest Ms. Yael Vengroff (aka Yael Stormborn).Yael is a long-time bartender who cut her teeth in some of the most storied bars in Houston (Grand Prize) & New York City (Pegu Club, Painkiller) before moving to Los Angeles to take over as Bar Director for The Spare Room in the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and Genghis Coen. The group also has bars in Seattle and Nashville, which Yael helms, as well.She has many accomplishments to her name, including winning the women-only charity speed competition Speed Rack, as well as being named Best American Bartender at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail.Some highlights from Part 1 of our conversation:“Our biggest mountain to climb after (COVID) is, how do we keep the sexy, how do we keep the romanticism, how do we keep all these things.”“Vulnerability breeds vulnerability. It means accountability. It means admittance. It means transparency.”“If you’re not a bartender-owner, your top-tier management better be that soldier that is so intuitive and that leads back to vulnerability. People without vulnerability don’t know how to listen.”“The reason that I can do what I do, and that I do what I do, is that I’m not afraid to talk about my weaknesses. And my shortcomings. And my mistakes.”Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: Katy HillSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
If you would like to leave a virtual tip for the bar staff who helped produce this podcast, you can go to Venmo and contribute to TheCottonmouthClub-Staff. All proceeds go to the staff for food & essentials until we all have some clarity as to how this will all play out.Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Heart with special guest Mr. Toby Maloney.Mr. Maloney has worked in bars for many years, working behind the stick at dive bars and nightclubs around the country, as well as some of the most renowned cocktail bars in modern memory.He was the very first bartender hired at the original Milk and Honey in New York, and has opened storied cocktail bars in Minneapolis, Nashville and Chicago, where he currently co-owns The Violet Hour and the soon-to-open Mother’s Ruin Chicago.The Violet Hour received the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program in 2015.Some highlights from Part 2 of our conversation:“It comes down to the confidence you exude, and if you can nail those flair moves, people’s drinks taste better.”“(Bartending) is kind of like acting and kind of like drugs...”“People will go back to a bar that has great service and mediocre drinks, but if you have great drinks and mediocre service, people are like...meh.”“The difference between cooking and bartending is cooking is a marathon and bartending is figure skating. Both are insanely hard, but no one cares what you look like after a marathon.”Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: Tomcat BluesSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
If you would like to leave a virtual tip for the bar staff who helped produce this podcast, you can go to Venmo and contribute to TheCottonmouthClub-Staff. All proceeds go to the staff for food & essentials until we all have some clarity as to how this will all play out.Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Heart with special guest Mr. Toby Maloney.Mr. Maloney has worked in bars for many years, working behind the stick at dive bars and nightclubs around the country, as well as some of the most renowned cocktail bars in modern memory.He was the very first bartender hired at the original Milk and Honey in New York, and has opened storied cocktail bars in Minneapolis, Nashville and Chicago, where he currently co-owns The Violet Hour and the soon-to-open Mother’s Ruin Chicago.The Violet Hour received the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program in 2015.Some highlights from Part 1 of our conversation:“It comes down to the confidence you exude, and if you can nail those flair moves, people’s drinks taste better.”“(Bartending) is kind of like acting and kind of like drugs...”“People will go back to a bar that has great service and mediocre drinks, but if you have great drinks and mediocre service, people are like...meh.”“The difference between cooking and bartending is cooking is a marathon and bartending is figure skating. Both are insanely hard, but no one cares what you look like after a marathon.”Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: I Saw The LightSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. Before we start, an ask for you. If you would like to leave a virtual tip for the bar staff who helped produce this podcast, you can go to Venmo and contribute to TheCottonmouthClub-Staff. All proceeds go to the staff for food & essentials until we all have some clarity as to how this will all play out.In our first Bartending Masterclass Series, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. In this second installment, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Head with special guest Mr. Julian Cox.In this episode, we discuss:- The Tao of Training: “The whole idea of training is that you’re giving of yourself, and you want somebody else to know (the information) so they can take it to the next level.”- The unfortunate history of Tiki Lore- Julian’s worst shift of his career, and the night he met Sasha Petrarske- Bartender’s Choice vs. Bespoke Cocktails- How Ms. Cleo the Telepath connects to the cocktail community: “Getting the guest out of their comfort zone and asking them a question that will deflect any prejudgment of an idea is just the best way to get to the heart of what the interaction is supposed to be about...”- The bartender’s palate- Michael and Julian plan a shift- Julian picks a cocktail to serve Jimi HendrixJulian Cox is widely viewed as one of the great culinary talents of Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work behind the bar earned him 3 consecutive James Beard nominations (2012-2014) for outstanding bar program for his trendsetting work at John Sedlar’s restaurant Rivera. As Executive Director of Beverage for Sprout LA, Julian oversaw one of the largest restaurant expansions in LA history. Julian has worked with brightest culinary minds in the industry. He’s opened restaurants with Octavio Becerra, Nancy Silverton, Tim Hollingsworth, Ori Menache, Walter Manzke, Chris Bianco, David Myer, John Sedlar, Chad Robertson, Elizabeth Prueitt, and Doug Psaltis among many others. His restaurant experience covers opening over 50 restaurant and bar concepts in 10 different cities across the US.In 2017, he was named one of the 10 most influential bartenders of the past decade by Food and Wine magazine. He spent two years in Chicago at Lettuce Entertain You, studying under legendary restauranteur Rich Melman. Julian used his experience and business savvy to directly impact 144 million dollars of liquor sales across 9 properties for the restaurant group. At Three Dots and a Dash, Julian took a small craft cocktail tiki bar past 6 million in revenue and earned a nomination for America’s Best High Volume bar at Tales of the Cocktail in 2016. In 2017, he moved to San Francisco to help Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt attain their liquor license at Tartine Manufactory SF. He was tasked to open their San Francisco and SFO airport locations as well as project manage their openings in Korea and their upcoming location at The Row in Los Angeles. He recently oversaw the opening of Banc Of California stadium LAFC at The Fields in downtown Los Angeles.Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: That’s Where My Money GoesSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. If you would like to leave a virtual tip for the bar staff who helped produce this podcast, you can go to Venmo and contribute to TheCottonmouthClub-Staff. All proceeds go to the staff for food & essentials until we all have some clarity as to how this will all play out.In our first Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Head with special guest Mr. Julian Cox.Julian is widely viewed as one of the great culinary talents of Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work behind the bar earned him 3 consecutive James Beard nominations (2012-2014) for outstanding bar program for his trendsetting work at John Sedlar’s restaurant Rivera. As Executive Director of Beverage for Sprout LA, Julian oversaw one of the largest restaurant expansions in LA history. Julian has worked with brightest culinary minds in the industry. He’s opened restaurants with Octavio Becerra, Nancy Silverton, Tim Hollingsworth, Ori Menache, Walter Manzke, Chris Bianco, David Myer, John Sedlar, Chad Robertson, Elizabeth Prueitt, and Doug Psaltis among many others. His restaurant experience covers opening over 50 restaurant and bar concepts in 10 different cities across the US.In 2017, he was named one of the 10 most influential bartenders of the past decade by Food and Wine magazine. He spent two years in Chicago at Lettuce Entertain You, studying under legendary restauranteur Rich Melman. Julian used his experience and business savvy to directly impact 144 million dollars of liquor sales across 9 properties for the restaurant group. At Three Dots and a Dash, Julian took a small craft cocktail tiki bar past 6 million in revenue and earned a nomination for America’s Best High Volume bar at Tales of the Cocktail in 2016. In 2017, he moved to San Francisco to help Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt attain their liquor license at Tartine Manufactory SF. He was tasked to open their San Francisco and SFO airport locations as well as project manage their openings in Korea and their upcoming location at The Row in Los Angeles. He recently oversaw the opening of Banc Of California stadium LAFC at The Fields in downtown Los Angeles.Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: Sourwood MountainSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. In our first Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discusses the different phases of mastery. Walking a path is more difficult if you don’t know what that path is, so he has broken down the idea of mastery into three phases: The Head, The Hands, and The Heart.Mr. Neff has been a professional bartender for over 25 years, and has trained hundreds of bartenders around the world. He distills that experience into a discussion on the nature of training and the broad concept of how to truly master the art and craft of tending bar.This is the first of four Masterclasses on Mastery. Next up: Mastery of The HeadPalate Cleansers are brief interludes of Neff and his staff in their actual training sessions, which might sound a lot like a bunch of folks hanging out in a bar. But it is a small window into that long process of making humans into bartenders. Topics this episode include:- “Deliverance” vs. “Smokey & The Bandit”- Forest fires in California- The most famous bear of all time- Ron Jeremy vs. Sonic the HedgehogWeird-tempo Banjo Tune: WaterboundSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
For those of you who listen to this podcast, you know that we talk a lot about the importance of bars, what they’re for, and what role they play in hosting communities. Few other types of bars show this more starkly than the good ol’ American Dive Bar.But what is a dive bar? What defines one, and how are they made? These questions aren’t well discussed, but are important as we stand on the brink of a post-pandemic world.Our host, Master Bartender Michael J. Neff brings on a very special guest for exactly that discussion for this, the final podcast episode of 2020. World-renowned cocktail historian and veteran dive-bar appreciator, Dr. David Wondrich, is best known as the author of two books that have inspired generations of bartenders and mixologists: “Imbibe” & “Punch.” He was also the storied drinks editor for Esquire Magazine during the heyday of the modern cocktail revival, which has since turned into a movement.There are few people who know the value of a good dive bar better, and we are honored that Dr. Wondrich came on to discuss them with us.The nature of the conversation guarantees a lot of ground is covered, but you’ll also end up with a list of great dive bars around the country to visit when the world gets anywhere close to back to normal. If they survive the economic onslaught of this pandemic, they will definitely need your support.The Cottonmouth Club Presents is a podcast on Bars, Bar Culture, Cocktails & Spirits. This is our last episode of the 2020, and we look forward to bringing you more conversations in 2021.Weirdo-paced Banjo Music: “Hound Dog Song” & “Old Reuben”Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
In this episode, General Manager & Distiller of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey Nicole Austin talks with us about the traditions in Tennessee Whiskey, the idea of imbibing a place, and why she doesn’t use the title “Master Distiller.”A wonderful primer into the nuances of whiskey-making in general, Nicole offers insights into the art of distilling, and how to make choices based on both tradition and the drive to succeed as a business. In the meantime, she dispels some myths about the whiskeys of Tennessee and talks about its relation to bourbon.This is Part Two of our two-part conversation. We hope you enjoy it—you can find part one or check out our other Spirit School entries on our website (https://thecottonmouthclubpresents.com), or browse conversations with some of the world’s best bar professionals in our Masterclass Series.Nicole Austin came up in Kings County Distillery in the early days of the Craft Spirits movement, breaking into the business with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a desire to work in spirits.From her interview with The Tennessean: “I didn’t have the right last name to work in Kentucky or the right degree for Scotland, so I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ ” Austin said. “In 2010, Kings County got the license to distill … and I basically knocked on their door and was like, 'I’m going to work for you now. I’m done asking, I’m telling.’ ”After working for the consulting company of the legendary late distiller Dave Pickerell, she took a job with Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey before being tapped for the top-job at Cascase Hollow Distillery, maker of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey.An advocate for the craft spirits movement, Ms. Austin helped found the American Craft Spirits Association, New York Distillers Guild, and helped create the idea of Empire Rye.Weirdo-Paced Banjo Music: “Lady Gray”Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
In this episode, General Manager & Distiller of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey Nicole Austin talks with us about the traditions in Tennessee Whiskey, the idea of imbibing a place, and why she doesn’t use the title “Master Distiller.”A wonderful primer into the nuances of whiskey-making in general, Nicole offers insights into the art of distilling, and how to make choices based on both tradition and the drive to succeed as a business. In the meantime, she dispels some myths about the whiskeys of Tennessee and talks about its relation to bourbon.This is Part One of a two-part conversation. We hope you enjoy it—stay tuned for the second part coming up. In the meantime, check out our other Spirit School entries on our website (https://thecottonmouthclubpresents.com), or browse conversations with some of the world’s best bar professionals in our Masterclass Series.Nicole Austin came up in Kings County Distillery in the early days of the Craft Spirits movement, breaking into the business with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a desire to work in spirits.From her interview with The Tennessean: “I didn’t have the right last name to work in Kentucky or the right degree for Scotland, so I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ ” Austin said. “In 2010, Kings County got the license to distill … and I basically knocked on their door and was like, 'I’m going to work for you now. I’m done asking, I’m telling.’ ”After working for the consulting company of the legendary late distiller Dave Pickerell, she took a job with Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey before being tapped for the top-job at Cascase Hollow Distillery, maker of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey.An advocate for the craft spirits movement, Ms. Austin helped found the American Craft Spirits Association, New York Distillers Guild, and helped create the idea of Empire Rye.Weirdo-Paced Banjo Music: “Lady Gray”Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
In this episode, Tequila Ocho Global Brand Ambassador Jesse Estes joins us to talk all about agave spirits, diving specifically into Tequila! This isn’t your average tequila talk—our topics range from the two categories of Tequila and the process of making Tequila Ocho to “What is a diffuser and why is it controversial?”There is something for both experts and neophytes in this, the second of our two-part conversation with Jesse Estes. Stay tuned for Part Two. In the meantime, check out our other Spirit School entries on our website (https://thecottonmouthclubpresents.com), or browse conversation with some of the world’s best bar professionals in our Masterclass Series.Jesse Estes is a London-based spirits educator, author, and former award-winning bartender. He has worked behind the bar at establishments like The Lonsdale, Green & Red, All Star Lanes, CalloohCallay, and The Luggage Room, as well as performing guest bartending shifts around the world. He has won a number of cocktail competitions and regularly acts as a judge and chairman for various cocktail competitions and spirits awards including the Drinks International's International Spirit Challenge and the Tequila Masters. In 2013, Jesse developed the bar program for London's first 'agavería' – a bar specializing in Agave Spirits – El Nivel. That same year, Jesse was named one of London's Best Bartenders by the Huffington Post.  He is often consulted as an expert on agave spirits, and has been interviewed or featured in publications such as: Imbibe, Esquire, Shortlist, Spirits Business, Forbes and Drinks International, among others. In 2019, Jesse was one of the first people to sit the WSET Level 3 in Spirits, which he passed with Merit. Jesse is now the Global Brand Ambassador for Tequila Ocho and can be found leading seminars, tastings, and masterclasses on tequila and other agave spirits across the world. He is also the author of two cocktail books, Tequila Beyond Sunrise and From Dram to Manhattan, and regularly contributes articles to trade publications. Jesse recently became the Agave Spirits Curator for Spirits Kiosk, a craft online spirits retailer directed at discerning drinkers.  Get in touch at jesse@ochotequila.comWeirdo-paced Banjo Tune: “East Virginia”Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
In this episode, Tequila Ocho Global Brand Ambassador Jesse Estes joins us to talk all about agave spirits, diving specifically into Tequila! This isn’t your average tequila talk—our topics range from the changing definitions in agave spirits generally to how everything about tequila can be thought of in...reverse?There is something for both experts and neophytes in this, the first of our two-part conversation with Jesse Estes. Stay tuned for Part Two. In the meantime, check out our other Spirit School entries on our website (https://thecottonmouthclubpresents.com), or browse conversation with some of the world’s best bar professionals in our Masterclass Series.Jesse Estes is a London-based spirits educator, author, and former award-winning bartender. He has worked behind the bar at establishments like The Lonsdale, Green & Red, All Star Lanes, CalloohCallay, and The Luggage Room, as well as performing guest bartending shifts around the world. He has won a number of cocktail competitions and regularly acts as a judge and chairman for various cocktail competitions and spirits awards including the Drinks International's International Spirit Challenge and the Tequila Masters. In 2013, Jesse developed the bar program for London's first 'agavería' – a bar specializing in Agave Spirits – El Nivel. That same year, Jesse was named one of London's Best Bartenders by the Huffington Post.  He is often consulted as an expert on agave spirits, and has been interviewed or featured in publications such as: Imbibe, Esquire, Shortlist, Spirits Business, Forbes and Drinks International, among others. In 2019, Jesse was one of the first people to sit the WSET Level 3 in Spirits, which he passed with Merit. Jesse is now the Global Brand Ambassador for Tequila Ocho and can be found leading seminars, tastings, and masterclasses on tequila and other agave spirits across the world. He is also the author of two cocktail books, Tequila Beyond Sunrise and From Dram to Manhattan, and regularly contributes articles to trade publications. Jesse recently became the Agave Spirits Curator for Spirits Kiosk, a craft online spirits retailer directed at discerning drinkers.  Get in touch at jesse@ochotequila.comSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
In this, the second wave of shutdowns across cities due to the shocking rise of Covid-19 cases, the bars in America are bearing an undue burden and forced to make a terrible choice: shut ourselves down and risk our lives, our livelihoods, and those of everyone who works for or around us; or find some way to skirt the rules, stay open, and contribute to the general health crisis that is crippling our country.If bars in a community fail, the economic and cultural impacts to that community will be felt well beyond the bar industry itself. Bars promote local economies, and it is the local economies that will suffer, sometimes for decades to come.There is a way to prevent both of these tragic outcomes: a bailout. We’ve bailed out many industries before, and in this podcast, we examine what those are, and apply the same kind of thinking to bars and the local economies they anchor.Oh, and there might be some conversation in here about a church diocese or two. Listen to find out how these things relate, and please share this with anyone who will agree and, maybe as importantly, those who won’t.Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
Cognac is a category of spirit that is steeped in history, and has been associated with quality in so many different ways for hundreds of years. To many modern drinkers, it has also been steeped in mystery, with governing bodies and definitions that many people, both bartenders and consumers, don’t always have the experience to understand.To help us get to know the intricacies of Cognac, we reached out to ms. franky marshall. Not only a Modern Bartender (you’ll hear her in our Masterclass Series coming up soon), ms. marshall is also a certified spirits educator, and works with the governing body of Cognac—the BNIC—educating the trade on this most historic of spirits.Don’t expect a dusty guide to such an exciting spirit. Our conversation touched on many topics that you won’t hear in a typical spirits lecture. We talked about the association with Hip Hop culture, classic Cognac cocktails, and if the regions of Cognac were styles of music, what would they be?Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
This is a live-stream podcast, taken from our nightly “Virtual Bar” on Instagram @thecottonmouthclub. The threat of Covid-19 is existential, which is pretty clear, but the risk to the rest of society isn’t always. Here, we have a conversation that breaks down why this time is different. For the second time, we’ve been closed down, but this time, it’s just us.This conversation was inspired by, of all people, Vice President Mike Pence after we followed him on a live news conference with Fox Business. Don’t let that dissuade you. Part one of two.Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
To support what we’re doing, you can leave a contribution in our virtual tip jar on Venmo at theCottonmouthClub-staff, or at www.paypal.me/michaelneff. Thanks so much.The city of Houston is the first major city in the United States to reopen its bars and restaurants. Despite the best intentions of many operators and many patrons, there are enough bad actors on both sides of the bar to create an environment that, we believe, is actively unsafe, both for staff and clientele.This podcast was pulled directly from our Live Stream bar, which happens every night on Instagram @thecottonmouthclub. From that, we asked our virtual regulars to share a video we made, essentially telling people that we, all of us, are in jeopardy. And we need help.That led to a massive campaign of sharing, which led to over 30,000 views. One of the first requests was to put up the conversation that sparked the original video. Here is that conversation.Warning: the gloves are off and we pull no punches. If you are offended by the occasional grown-up word, then this podcast is most likely not for you anyway, but you’ve been warned. We got a bit heated at a couple points.Wear your masks! Take care of each other. Please share this with everyone you know in states that have yet to reopen.Weirdo Banjo Track: “That’s Where My Money Goes”Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
In Part Two of our conversation with Sly Augustin, we discuss the place his bar, Trailer Happiness in Notting Hill, has in the grand scheme of the Modern Tiki Revival. "Is the bar that sparked the Modern Tiki Revival in the UK allowed to be a tiki bar?” - Sly Augustin“What’s more important for tiki: the drink and the philosophy, or the flotsam?” - Sly AugustinIn this episode, we talked about the history of Trailer Happiness, what it means to be tiki, finding hidden treasures, and bottled cocktails. Here’s what you’ll hear:The meaning, or lack thereof, of the name “Trailer Happiness”Is it allowed to be a Tiki Bar?Rum, whiskey, and who gets that Tiki moneyDoes the lifestyle require the cocktails or vice versa?Legacy Tiki BarsDon the Beachcomber and Trader VicHow to grow a Tiki BarHidden treasuresThe upside of smoking in barsNew York, New YorkTips, and their effect of serviceShowing loveIdentifying the community of a barBottled cocktails are here to stay?Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
The current Covid-19 pandemic has hit the bar industry particularly hard. Bars are gathering places, and people gathering is the threat that necessitated quarantine and sequester orders all across the United States and around the world. This crisis is international, and we wanted to find out if the challenges facing bars in America were similar to those faced in other countries.To do that, we spoke with Sly Augustin, owner of Trailer Happiness in Notting Hill in London. Trailer Happiness is a fantastic bar, and one that is generally considered to have sparked the modern Tiki Revival in the UK. We spoke a lot about what is happening to the bar industry currently, what we think people will do in the future, and the similarities between being forced to shut down our bars in two different countries.This is the first of a two-part conversation. Some highlights include:Thoughts on the spread of Covid-19 as bars reopenBLM protests in LondonThe current state of bars in the UKHow bars are like genres of musicMaking the best bar for your peopleWill bottled cocktails save us?What do you do in your bar when you can’t make drinks in it?Opening with limited capacityImproving the bar to improve the experienceAre people ever going to go back to normal?The history of Trailer HappinessThe origin story of Sly AugustinOn Seeing the FutureHow Air Crash investigations relate to the bar businessWhat London might look like as it reopensStrategies to save usSupport the show (https://www.paypal.me/michaelneff)
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