Luna bids a fond farewell to his trusted Spirit Guides and starts some independent study with Champagne, with a knowledge base limited to pop culture references. He learns the process of creating sparkling wine, the history and specifications of Champagne-with-a-capital-C, and the range of flavors and prices. He also finds some tasty recipes that add fruit juices and simple syrups to the mix, because sweet, jazzed-up Champagne is for your real friends, and plain, dry Champagne is for your sham friends. Or something like that.
Luna and the Holiday Spirit Guides invent their own cocktails based on their favorite Christmas characters: The Grinch, Krampus, and the explosive battle between good and evil from Die Hard (technically not a character, but it still counts)! And when the talk turns to holiday party memories, Luna recalls an event that featured Russian Squirrels, and Spirit Guide Jordon shares a holiday adventure that can’t be topped…not even by Clayton’s paratrooping cold-war Christmas recollections.
Eggnog is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of drink…and Luna is staunchly in the hate-it camp. The Spirit Guides school him on the history (revelation: nog is NOT part of the drink itself) and everyone comes up with a recipe to try. One of them doesn’t even include eggs. Intriguing, right? Listen in and find out why! And how! And…what it tastes like.
Find the recipes from the episode in the show notes!
Nothing says “holiday flavor” quite like the brisk taste of peppermint…and nothing says “peppermint” like schnapps. The lads take a dive into the minty liquor by concocting their own minty beverages – one warm, one cold, one somewhere in between – and finding out the true nature of the plant that gives us the taste of what Luna describes as “a melted snowman in a cup.” It’s not as horrific as it may sound.
The season of warm beveraging arrives, and with it comes mulling about…erm, mulling. What’s the deep, rich history behind mulled drinks, you ask? We’ll tell you, because we found out just for this show! What sorts of fruits and spices can be used in such a process? We’ll tell you that, too, because now we have that information! How much mulling should you do about your mulling? We…have no idea. We’re thinking maybe half. Give or take.
Check out the show notes for the recipes used by Luna and his Holiday Spirit Guides!
It might seem pretty easy to make a two-ingredient drink, but Luna once failed at martinis badly enough to turn his beverage red. In order to clarify things, the team explores the virtues of a drink so simple, even a fool can get it right: the gin gimlet. It turns out to be a Drinking Lessons favorite, the next best thing to a gin and tonic, and its history leads back to curing scurvy and working with hand tools. Unexpected!
The n00b talks Rum and Cola with guest Spirit Guide Erin Crouch who explains how to elevate a modest, popular drink into something a bit more bougie - but not too much…it turns out a little mixology bougie goes a long way. Along the way, they discuss the revolutionary roots of the drink, and the notion that a drink can be either simple or sophisticated, depending on your ingredients and your flair for the theatrical.
Find recipes for both versions of the rum and cola in this week's show notes!
Luna tries to make a martini for the first time ever…and boy, does this podcast ever justify itself when he does. Once his spirit guides determine that his ingredients aren’t quite up to par, they set about teaching him the various historical possibilities of the drink’s origin while instructing him that no, you don’t use sweet vermouth, and yes, you do twist the lemon over the glass before you drink, and no, your martini should never be brown at any stage of the game.
Check out our show notes for our martini recipe, and to see photos of Luna's original martini gone horribly, horribly wrong!
You meet the coolest people when you beverage with purpose. While recording The Ancient Stuff episode, we were introduced by our incredible bartender Justin to a celebrity: Giovanna Horning, winner of Naked and Afraid Season 7. Giovanna was kind enough to chat with us about what it took to survive the experience more than once, what she did to prepare for it, and what happened afterward.
Luna and his Guides quote Top Gun and give their best Kermit the Frog impersonations while on location at Superstition Meadery in charming Prescott, Arizona, while exploring a dozen different types of meads (ancient honey-based wine) and ciders - drinks with awesome names like Warhoney and Blood Eagle, and Ragnarok. How exactly is mead made, anyway? The incredibly helpful bartender Justin tells all – including what makes a melamel, a pyment, and a cyser. No spoilers here, but one of the samples ends up tasting like peanut butter and jelly...UNEXPECTED.
Spirit Guide Clayton returns from Hawaii and brings with him reviews of the island Mai Tais he sampled while adventuring, plus a recipe for Luna and Jordon to try. A discussion of tiki culture ensues, including drinks on fire, drinks in angry glasses that spew smoke, and drinks that expect you to throw off your remove and jump headlong into the kitsch! There’s intrigue afoot as well when the questionable history of the Mai Tai arises - who really invented this delicious thing? Where did it get its name? And does any of that really matter when it tastes like an island in a glass and you’ve had two in the course of a twenty-seven-minute podcast? According to the spirit guides, the only thing that matters is that you have fun.
The Spirit Guides introduce Luna to malt beverages - namely Smirnoff Ice, and along with it, the concept of “icing”...which brings about his misguided assessment that it’s basically adult soda. And as everyone discovers, the US isn’t the world’s most emphatic consumer of Ice...but which region could possibly claim the title? And what exactly is it about malt that makes it a likely candidate for these non-beer potables?
Not everyone dives into the world of adult beverages in their college years. Steven Luna is one of those who waited until he was well on his way to retirement. Now, at the ripe old age of 47, he’s diving in…or, more accurately, wading in very gradually, and with the help of his “spirit guides,” Clayton Smith and Jordon Quattlebaum.
Where better to begin learning about the progression of What to Drink than with the beverage most novice drinkers can afford best: cheap beer. The crew explores the virtues of cheap beer (cost, ease of inebriation, and nostalgia, mostly) before touching on how to progress to cheap wine and malt beverage. Then they sample the goods, and Luna gives his…er, descriptive first impression. And as they say, it’s all downhill from there. (Beers sampled: Icehouse, Natural Light, and Bud Ice, all for under $3 per 25 oz can.)