Quench Your Thirst: A Drinks Playlist

By: Aviva Futornick

Ever wondered about the origins of the first cocktail? Or do you find yourself looking to learn from fellow industry professionals about the craft of brewing, distilling, or mixing beverages? 

From the history of the American apple cider and Mexican corn whiskey, to the folks on the front lines of sustainable brewing and bean-to-cup coffee production, the HRN archives are home to episodes that anyone can imbibe. This playlist will introduce to our Drinks topic and to several of our shows dedicated to what we sip on, including: Agave Road Trip, Back Bar, Beer Sessions Radio, Hard Core, The Grape Nation and The Speakeasy.

Back Bar Episode 1: An Old Fashioned Type of Drink: The story of the very first cocktail - where it came from, the strong opinions it breeds and what the way we drink it says about us. The word “cocktail” was first defined in print in 1806 with a simple recipe - strong spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters. Since then the specs have morphed to include brandy, rum, whiskey (and whisky), rum, vermouth, absinthe, amaro, campari, lime juice, even pickled mushrooms. The list goes on and on. And as the years have gone by the way we make and stir and argue over this drink has shaped the cocktail world forever - but perhaps it’s shaped us even more. We’re joined on this episode by David Wondrich, author of “Punch!” and “Imbibe” and by Dale DeGroff, former head bartender of the Rainbow Room and author of “The Craft of the Cocktail.” 

Hard Core Episode 8: America’s First Apple(s): North America was home to apples long before Europeans - or cider - reached its shores. Malus fusca, or the Pacific crabapple, is native to the continent and there’s a rich history and contemporary culture surrounding the variety to explore. We’ll look at how the apple has been and is still used by Indigenous nations and poke holes in the narratives about cider we’re all too familiar with. We follow apple seeds and stocks across the continent and through time, visiting a vault, getting to know Midwestern cideries, and embracing the eclectic flavors (and stories) behind American cider. 

The Speakeasy Episode 466: Remixicles: Jen Morales and Jason Stitt dial in from Cincinnati, Ohio to talk Mixicles, the world’s first frozen home mixology kit (that we know of anyway): how they made it, what they’re working on now, some R&D tricks of the trade and the wide array of things you can put these frozen little beauties into. Plus, we get to the bottom of the secret ingredient in Erin Rose’s famous New Orleans iced coffee. 

All in the Industry  Episode 270: Julia Bainbridge, Good Drinks: Shari Bayer's guest is Julia Bainbridge, writer, creator of The Lonely Hour podcast, and author of Good Drinks, a new book featuring alcohol-free recipes for when you’re not drinking for whatever reason. Julia is an editor who has worked at Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, Yahoo Food, and Atlanta magazine, and a James Beard Award-nominated writer whose stories—mainly but not exclusively (!) about food and drink—have been published in Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, among others. Her mission: to normalize all kinds of drinking, including not drinking.

Cooking in Mexican from A to Z Episode 21: Preserving Diversity Through Corn Whiskey: Zarela and Aarón are joined by their friend Yira Vallejo. Yira spent ten years as a brand incubator in the wine and spirits industry of New York City, before returning to Oaxaca in 2014. Now she works to preserve the cultural and biological diversity of Oaxaca through a number of projects, including a documentary film and the production of Mexican Corn Whiskey. Together Aarón, Zarela and Yira outline the history of corn whiskey, tell us about the system of seed exchange that has preserved heirloom crops, and explain how Yira partners with local farmers to encourage the production of these precious grains. 

Item 13: An African Food Podcast Episode 24: Exploring African Coffees with Amani Kiflemariam: Amani Kiflemariam was born in Eritrea and grew up in the Sudan and the UK with a deep appreciation for the social and economic significance of coffee within Habesha culture. Amani worked in Finance in London before putting her talents into building Amatte that not only promotes African heritage but also benefits those small-lot farmers who nurture this precious crop. Named after her grandmother, whose name means ‘lead by example’ in her native Tigrigna dialect, Amatte honors her strength and integrity through its brand values, specialist roasts and enchanting tales from Africa. “I wanted to create a premium brand that offers the finest coffees Africa has to offer and one that empowers the real superstars, its female farmers,” says Amani. “I’ve combined my passion for fine coffee and gender parity into Amatte, which offers high end coffee cultivated by these amazing, hard working women.” 

Agave Road Trip Episode 70: The Many Different Flavors of Mezcal: For decades we’ve seen flavor-wheels for wine, and more recently they’ve been appearing for mezcal. It makes sense, both in terms of market positioning and also trying to define the broad spectrum of different flavors you’ll find in mezcal and other agave spirits. But … what if banana tastes different to me than it does to you? The flavor training wheels come off in this episode of Agave Road Trip

Beer Sessions Radio Episode 634: Drink Up, Green Up: Sustainability in Brewing and Distilling: Host Jimmy Carbone welcomes two environmental defenders in the brewing world — Michael Kowalski from Berkshire Mountain Distillers and Sean Lawson from Lawson’s Finest Liquids. They will be coaching the hosts on how to take the waste out of getting wasted! Opening the episode, Sean presents his pioneering Green is Grand project before spilling all about the Sunshine Canopy, Vermont’s largest free-standing solar power structure. Michael joins the conversation with the “wasting not and wanting none” approach at Berkshire, which involves repurposing their used ingredients, remodeling their cooling system, and reusing their wastewater. The discussion then took a citrusy detour for you to take a sip of Sean’s Double Sunshine and Michael’s Grey Lock Gin. Do stay sober as we close the show with Sean emphasizing the holistic mentality when it comes to sustainable brewing, and Michael diving deeper into water and energy conservation.

Grape Nation Episode 202: Josh Greene, Wine and Spirits Magazine: Josh Greene has been the Editor and Publisher of Wine and Spirits Magazine since 1986; the magazine was founded in 1982, and Josh eventually purchased it in 1989. Josh also serves as wine critic at Wine and Spirits for Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Portugal, Italy, and Napa Valley to name a few. You can find Josh’s commentary and long form stories in every issue. Josh and his staff taste over 15,000 bottles annually, and Wine and Spirits Magazine is the only recipient of five James Beard awards for excellence in wine writing. 

Japan Eats! Episode 254: Japanese Sake Delivered To My Door: Meet Genki Ito, is the founder of Tippsy Sake, an online store that specializes in Japanese sake, based in California. Japanese sake has been increasingly popular globally in recent years and the US is one of the most promising markets for the sake industry. Americans are drinking not only more sake but also higher-quality sake than 10 years ago. But if you live in America, you normally have to go to Japanese restaurants to discover great sake, partly because your local liquor shop doesn’t carry good enough sake for you (or sells no sake at all), or the store does not have anyone who can give you solid advice on which one to buy. Tippsy Sake is a nice solution for the problem by making Japanese sake more readily available to everyone from sake novices to connoisseurs. In this episode, they discuss how Genki’s unique background led him to come up with the successful business concept, what types of Japanese sake people are drinking right now in America, how COVID-19 dramatically boosted Tippsy Sake’s business, and much, much more!!! 

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