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Drinking Lessons: The Minty Stuff

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 liqueur 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.

Peppermint Schnapps Recipes from the Episode


Melted Schnowman
(fancy name achievement: unlocked!)

Melted Schnowman.jpg

Peppermint Schnowman

by Steven Luna

  • 1 - 2 tbsp flavored coffee creamer
  • 1 tbsp baking cocoa powder
  • 7 oz hot water or coffee
  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1 oz Kaluha or other coffee-flavored liquor
  • Marshmallows
  • Candy canes

Mix coffee creamer with cocoa powder and add hot water (or coffee) to dissolve. Add schnapps and Kaluha; top with marshmallows and garnish with candy canes, then get somewhere comfortable and winter it up like a madman.


Minty Egg Schnog

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon simple syrup (recipe below) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Additional nutmeg, optional
  • Peppermint schnapps to preference 

In a saucepan, whisk together eggs, simple syrup, and salt. Pour in 2 cups of the milk, slowly, while stirring. Cook over low heat, stirring, until temperature reaches about 160 degrees (15-20 minutes). Do NOT allow it to boil. The goal is to heat the mixture without cooking the eggs into lumps. It's hard. Practice makes perfect!

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in vanilla, nutmeg, and remaining milk. Place bowl in an ice or ice water bath until the mixture is cool. (If the mixture separates, use a blender to reincorporate it.) Refrigerate, covered, at least three hours.

When ready to serve, beat the whipping cream separately until soft peaks form. Then pour eggnog mixture into a glass or jug, dollop in the whipped cream, and stir to combine. Add your peppermint schnapps, stir a little more, top with additional nutmeg, then enjoy the heck out of it!

Cinnamon Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Drop in the cinnamon sticks. Heat the saucepan on low, and do not allow the mixture to boil. Heat, stirring, until the sugar is incorporated with the water. Set aside, let cool, then strain out the cinnamon sticks.



  • 1 pint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 – 2 oz peppermint schnapps

Blend and serve and bring everybody to the yard!

Links from the episode

  • – the beverage brand company that brings you Rumple Minze!
  • – for when you’re just too lazy - er, busy - to make your own peppermint mocha

Drinking Lessons: The Spiced Stuff

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.

Luna's (Very, Very Successful!) Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine Recipes from the Episode


  • 1/2 c. raw sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 orange, juiced and peeled
  • nutmeg, grated
  • 2 bottles dry red wine

 Bring all ingredients except wine to a boil. Turn down to a simmer for 45 minutes (toss in a splash of wine if reduces too low). Add the wine and keep it on very low heat. (Tip: If you want something stronger, add a 1/2 cup of brandy.) Serve in glass mugs and garnish with fat orange twists.


  • 1 bottle of red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto
  • 1/4 cup dark spiced rum
  • zest of one lemon
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • three cinnamon sticks
  • a few star anises
  • allspice
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • maybe 4-5 tablespoons honey
  • one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

Stir it all together in a slow cooker and cooked it at high for 45 minutes, then let simmer to desired warmth.


  • 1.5L sweet red wine
  • .375 water
  • .375 brandy
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Wildflower honey (to taste)

Combine all ingredients and simmer until warm, about 30-45 minutes.

Drinking Lessons: The Simple Stuff

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!

We also learned that our favorite gins come from a couple of distillers local to the Spirit Guides; CH Distillery in Chicago has an unbelievably good key lime gin, and Pinckney Bend, a small-batch distillery in New Haven, MO, has all sorts of goodies that you probably need in your bar.

Luna also referenced a great list of two-ingredient cocktails on Wise Bread. Click here to check it out!

Gin Gimlet Recipe

  • 2 oz gin
  • ¾ oz lime juice + ¾ simple syrup (or 1.5 oz sweetened lime juice)

Mix with ice, and drink on a deck in the sunshine!



Drinking Lessons: The Fizzy Stuff

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. 


Side by side!

The Blacktail rum and cola on the left, the cheap rum and Coke on the right.

The Recipes

Rum and Coke

  • 5 oz Coke
  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 1/3 oz fresh lime juice

Mix all ingredients in a red Solo cup with ice and drink with gusto.


Blacktail Rum and Cola

  • 1 oz rum
  • 3/4 oz cola syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Fernet Branca
  • 1 dash Orinoco Bitters
  • 4 oz Champagne, chilled
  • Lemon twist, for garnish

Build over big chunks of ice in a double old fashioned glass and stir. Garnish with fresh grated lemon zest.

For a look at how the professionals do it, be sure to check out Blacktail in NYC

And for more great recipes, including more from Blacktail, check out Supercall: The Spirit of Cocktails and Culture.

Drinking Lessons: The Shaken Stuff

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.

Here's our recipe for a basic gin martini:

  • 3.5 oz gin
  • .5 oz dry vermouth
  • Olive
  • Lemon peel

Pour the gin and vermouth into a cocktail shaker with some ice and give it a few good stirs, about 10 seconds worth. Then strain the liquid into a martini glass, twist a lemon peel over the top, and garnish with an olive or two!

Pretty simple, right? Well...maybe not. Here's what Luna came up with when he tried to make his first martini:


Luna's Martini.

Notice the deep brown color.


A closer look

at the Lunatini reveals no answers, only more confusion.

Drinking Lessons: The Ancient Stuff

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.

Here are some shots from the live recording!



Drinking Lessons: The Islandy Stuff

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.

Mai Tai

1 oz amber Martinique rum.
1 oz dark Jamaican rum.
1 oz fresh lime juice.
1/2 oz orgeat syrup.
1/2 oz of Cointreau.
garnish with mint (a lime if you like)

Fill a rocks glass with 1 cup crushed ice. Set aside in the freezer. Combine rum, orgeat, orange Curacao, rock candy syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Garnish with half of the lime shell inside the drink and float a sprig of fresh mint on the edge of the glass.

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Mai Tai and Flaming Zombie

Tiki Iniki, Kauai, Hawaii

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Mai Tai with Hawaiian Shirt

with Steven Luna

And don't forget to check out Koloa Rum in Kauai and Three Dots and a Dash, Lost Lake Tiki Bar, and Hala Kahiki Lounge in Chicago!

Drinking Lessons: The Cheap Stuff

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.)