Wilks & Wilson: Purveyors of Fine Elixirs

After spending decades in software and marketing, Greg Wilson partnered up with bartender Zach Wilks in 2012 to launch Wilks & Wilson. In six short years, the guys have grown from making syrups for a few bars in Indianapolis to an becoming an internationally-distributed producer of specialty mixers and bitters. You can find their syrups and bitters being used in home bars, Vegas casinos, cocktail competitions, some of the country’s most respected bars, and Italy & Australia.


Greg Wilson

Wilks & Wilson: Purveyors of Fine Elixirs

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After spending decades in software and marketing, Greg Wilson partnered up with bartender Zach Wilks in 2012 to launch Wilks & Wilson. In six short years, the guys have grown from making syrups for a few bars in Indianapolis to an becoming an internationally-distributed producer of specialty mixers and bitters. You can find their syrups and bitters being used in home bars, Vegas casinos, cocktail competitions, some of the country’s most respected bars, and Italy & Australia.

Shift Culture

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The tables got turned on this week’s episode. We sat down with the guys from DRNK CLTR to talk about a bit about Shift Drink, and about our “day jobs”. We drank some Jamaican rum & French wine, discussed our lack of importance in the world, uppity sommeliers, rum’s increasing popularity, and how the Midwest is (mistakenly) perceived as flyover country.

Brother Cleve: Cocktail History, Exotica, and Tiki

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Brother Cleve is a true Renaissance Man. He’s a legendary bartender, an accomplished musician, an amateur historian, a charismatic storyteller, and a Minister of the Church of the SubGenius. He’s remixed Bollywood film music, toured the world playing exotica, and was instrumental in the craft cocktail revival. His place in cocktail history was recently documented in A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World by Robert Simonson. He needs little introduction in cocktail & Tiki circles. Grab a Mai Tai and listen to the most interesting stories you’ll hear all day.

UPDATE: After listening, many people have expressed interest in his DJ work and his Bollywood mixes. You can find them at:

MIXCLOUD: Brother Cleve
MIXCLOUD: Cultures of Soul (look for the Brother Cleve mixes)

Ben Jones and St. Lucia Distillers

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It’s been a year since we’ve had Ben Jones on the show. The last time around (Rhum Agricole with Ben Jones) we were talking all things Martinique. This time he’s back to talk about St. Lucia Distillers, a relatively recent addition to the Spiribam portfolio. Learn a bit about how the islands work together, how the hurricanes affected the islands, the Ti’ Punch Cup, and rum salad. So grab a bottle of Chairman’s Reserve and have a listen.

Our Best/Worst Episode Yet – with Chris Benedyk

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This week we planned on talking with Chris Benedyk of Love Handle about the breakfast/brunch revolution. We planned on talking about how chefs that traditionally opened dinner-only restaurants are now rethinking their concepts and cooking innovative food for the morning hours. We planned to get deep into what makes a dish a “brunch dish”. We planned on delving into the world of offal and how it can elevate a breakfast. Instead Ed got drunk. With Chris Benedyk. In an hour.

Episode title stolen from The Boogie Monster Podcast

Vermouth, Amaro, and Haus Alpenz with Jake Parrott

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Vermouth, Amaro, and Haus Alpenz or:
How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Tell Jake to Shut The F*ck Up

If there are two confusing categories of alcohol, vermouth and amaro are at the top of the list. There are few people as knowledgeable on the subject as Jake Parrott of Haus Alpenz. He’s an old friend of the show so expect some NSFW language and ribbing along with some twisting rabbit holes of information. This is a very deep subject and the best way is to dive right in. We recommend giving this episode a few listens while making some of the simple cocktail recipes that Jake offers up for our listeners. And don’t forget to check out their instagram feed for even more inspiration

Alexandre Gabriel

Alexandre Gabriel and Plantation Rum

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Alexandre Gabriel, Master Blender and Owner of Maison Ferrand, has turned the company into one of the most important producers of fine spirits in the industry. He’s a bibliophile, voracious reader of historic texts, a farmer, and a perfectionist. As the charismatic leader of a band of misfits, he and his team have brought the world elegant Cognac, obtained permission to distill gin in Cognac stills during the off-season, and produces liqueurs that recall his childhood in Burgundy. But one of the biggest marks he’s leaving on the industry is with Plantation Rum. There is nary a rum producer that he doesn’t know. His Grands Terroirs series of rums exhibit the very essence of the islands from which they’re produced. His recent acquisition of the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados is guaranteed to ensure that we’ll be tasting new expressions of Plantation Rums for decades to come.

Door 74 Timo Janse

Door 74 with Timo Janse

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Still bar hopping in Amsterdam, this week Ed and Arthur met up with Timo Janse of Door 74. He started out working at hotel bars before there was a cocktail scene in Amsterdam and soon enough he was running a place considered one of the World’s 50 Best Bars. As an active participant as a judge and competitor at cocktail festivals around the world, he’s proven that the Dutch are a force to be reckoned with. With such a diverse population around him, he draws inspiration from cultures all over the world and the spirits that connect us. So grab a glass of baijiu and have a listen.

Guillermo Gonzalez

Hiding in Plain Sight with Guillermo Gonzalez

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The guys are in Amsterdam and hitting some of the best bars in the world – in Amsterdam. Born in Argentina, raised in Miami, and now residing in Amsterdam, Guillermo Gonzalez is operating one of the best bars in the world. This week he sits down to talk with the guys about life in Amsterdam, how he operates his bar, Hiding in Plain Sight (HPS), under the radar and still serves some of the best drinks in town, and how the cocktail scene in Amsterdam has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years.

Aric Geesaman of Ash Blaeds

Ashblaeds and Knifemaking

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Aric Geesaman of Ash Blaeds has a background in the sciences, but his frustration with cheap knives lead to a whole new business. He drops by to talk about metallurgy, forging blades, making custom knives for professional chefs and home cooks, reality television, choosing the right sword for the right armor, and “The Blondes Age”.

Chris Morrison

Black Metal BBQ

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It’s our Independence Day Episode! What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with BBQ and heavy metal? This week’s guest does it all – a food truck, competitions, full-time work in Criminal Justice, and brings it all together with the edge of black metal. Chris Morrison’s Black Metal BBQ has been working it’s way up to the top of BBQ competitions. Though he’s relatively new to the circuit, he’s been barbequing for over a decade. Chris fills us in on regional styles, how the competition judging works, and offers some tips for those of you looking to become the neighborhood pitmaster. Hint: drink a lot of bourbon.

Patrick Aledo

Wines of Alsace with Patrick Aledo

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Patrick Aledo took over as General Manager of Pierre Sparr in Alsace, France in 2009. Under his direction, the winery has released some beautiful expressions of the Alsace terroir. Uniquely situated on the border between France and Germany, Alsatians make wines that, according to The World Atlas of Wine, are “Germanic wine in a French way”. Varietals like Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, and Gewurztraminer thrive here, but Riesling is king. Patrick discusses why wines of Alsace are so different from their French and German cousins, a bit of the history of Pierre Sparr, Alsatian dogs, and invites us to the Alsace Wine Fair – which we immediately decided we would attend. Look for shows from Europe in August.

Mony Bunni

Speed Rack & Sherry with Mony Bunni

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Mony Bunni is one of Chicago’s hardest working bartenders – working three jobs while serving as a brand ambassador for Bodegas Lustau sherry. Fresh off her win at Speed Rack, Mony drops in to talk about sherry, brandy, travel, and the Speed Rack competition and how the organization helps raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. Special note to bartenders: there is a Lustau cocktail competition happening now. We talk about it at the end. You have until June 30th, 2017 to submit.

Isaac and Cody

Craft Beer Branding

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Breweries are popping up across the country so fast that it’s hard to keep up. Our guests this week, Isaac Arthur and Cody Fague of CODO Design, specialize in helping craft brewers with the branding process – from the taprooms, logos and website, to the story behind the breweries themselves. Having worked with dozens of breweries, CODO Design just released a new book – the Craft Beer Branding Guide. We sat down the the guys, drank some great local brews, and talked about the pitfalls of creating a beer brand.

Kate Franzman Brett Canaday

Beekeeping and Mead Making

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It’s spring, and that means it’s swarm season. This week, we’re sitting down with beekeeper Kate Franzman of Bee Public and mead maker Brett Canaday of New Day Craft to learn about honey, bees’ murderous tendencies, the battle for the throne, their portrayal in film, and mead – the nectar of the gods. If it’s good enough for the Vikings, it’s good enough for you. Valhalla, we are coming!


A Shochu Addendum

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After our episode, A Shochu Lesson with Erik Zmara aired, Stephen Lyman of Kampai.us tweeted us some extra info that we are including here. Follow Stephen and keep learning about...
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