Is there a drink for every occasion and mood? When one reaches for the bottle for any given reason, Deborah Pardes of Get Smart Radio wanted to know "which one?"
On April 1st, Pardes invited mixlogist Brian MacGregor of Jardinière and wine wiz Debbie Zachareas of Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant to discuss The Heart of Drinking: The Psychology of Mixology and Enology at Coffee Bar-- a place where, appropriately, the beverages of choice are much less about caffeine and more about alcohol in the darker hours of the day.
Taped before a live audience, the episode promised to get to the bottom of the issue-- and the bottle-- with a little help from a live audience and the lively Get Smartypants Band. Pardes kept the show moving along with questions from the audience, a few corny jokes, and a topical song here and there. Sort of like Dinah Shore, but minus the cooking segments, Tennessee accent, and three-camera technology. Like Miss Shore, the tone of the show was as bubbly as a bottle of good champagne, but didn't really get too deep into the Heart of Drinking. Instead, the show seemed more about Drinking with Heart than anything else, which seemed to suit the audience just fine.
As the show moved along, MacGregor and Zachareas discussed the appropriate wines and cocktails to accompany any number of moods and occasions as promised by the show's title.
For weddings, births, and other celebrations of hope and newness, the obvious answer was champagne. The bubbles rise to the level of our spirits. Funerals? That's another drink entirely, unless one is especially delighted by the deceased's passing. Browner liquids, such as scotch or bourbon were deemed appropriately somber and comforting.
What do you drink when you are happy? Is it the same thing you drink when you're sad or bored or trying to get laid? According to the audience, the answer was yes. To them, tequila was the answer to everything. Zachareas agreed, while MacGregor opted for a classic daquiri for a splash of sexiness. Sugar-rimmed beverages were listed, along with the obvious correlating jokes.
Near the end of the broadcast, or podblast as it was termed, the audience members were invited to take a quiz. Hands were raised, people were called upon to exhibit their listening comprehension skills, and prizes were won. I left the evening with a bag of white cheddar cheese-flavored Smartfood popcorn, one of Deborah Pardes' compact discs and a bellyful of Belgian beer.
But I came away with a bit more than that. When I got home from the show, I was forced to examine my own drinking preferences: the Friday tradition of dry gin Martinis, the warmth-giving of winter-drunk Manhattans, the cooling summertime Vespers and crisp white wines, the solace of a neat rye whiskey, the edge-blurring world-weariness of a good Negroni. I have my drinks that I reach for, whatever my mood.
And now I am thinking about the weekend ahead. What to drink to send off a friend moving back to Paris for a few months? A French 75 or two? What to have after chasing three children for an afternoon? Something strong, I should think. And what does one drink with an old soul after a day's urban hike? Something that screams San Francisco, perhaps. Something obscure. I haven't yet decided. And I don't have to.
I think I'll just see where my mood takes me.