If you're into thinkin' and drinkin'

What I learned from the Sidecar

So you’ve probably seen these posts I’ve been making weekly, possibly with a name of a friend of yours attached somewhere near the bottom. And like the posts before, I am announcing the release of a new episode in the Monster in a Glass lineup, the Sidecar, another Lost Generation cocktail coming out of Harry McElhone’s New York Bar in Paris, but something so special happened in this episode I wanted to take a moment to share a perspective from the production side.

Since I’ve begun the task of editing all of the sound for the show, I’ve developed a greater intimacy with how each story is told and how each of the participants plays a part in the telling. One of the heavy lifters for the project is Jason Kruse who is a long-time very good personal friend and one of the most talented and devoted researchers I’ve ever known. He’s joined by Mick Laymon who can bring any discussion to life and move the topic in unexpected and insightful ways. Rachel Rubin, Nicole Pizzini and Bethany Lang all have their own specializations I can count on them to bring to the show (in some later episodes proposing pivotal ideas that define the show) as wells as in general making 100 year old ideas current and relatable to all of us today. Also, I can’t forget what Michael Donelly does behind the bar at The Brixton in Chicago. We need a bartender who knows what he’s doing to mix these old drinks because we need to know they were made right.

In this episode Kevin Ratajczyk brought in his personal expertise to propose a theory for how the Sidecar got its name. In the first part of the episode, Jason, Mick and I all sat around discussing possible ideas for it, but really had nothing but wild speculation. Like the French 75, the reason for the name isn’t explained anywhere, because to the men who named it, it was obvious; unfortunately to us 100 years later, we had no idea. Because Kevin has first-hand knowledge of motorcycle operation, his explanation as to why a cocktail would be named Sidecar made a ton of sense and I’m personally convinced that he figured out the mystery. And I’m lucky enough to have a motorcycle rider on my team to figure that out for us.

Every time one of the team can’t join us for an episode, I can tell how it impacts the show and I miss what they usually add and I bemoan it. When a new member starts participating or someone fills in as a guest for a show, as I listen to the episode in production, I’m thinking, “Aaargh, where were you for the such and such show three months ago!” and I have a strong urge to bring them on a tour of all of the cool things we’ve tried and discussed before their participation.

Alas, I can’t revisit these again, as the show has its mission, its method, and its all-star cast. It’s full speed ahead. I’m looking forward to producing a ton more compelling and insightful content with them to share with all of you. Thanks for listening!

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