The Spirit Brands and Bar Owners Redefining a “Good Drink”
As a bartender in San Francisco, a city at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, Shanna Farrell wondered why the environmental awareness devoted to food never quite extended to drinks. She went in search of the answer through her new book, A Good Drink: In Pursuit of Sustainable Spirits (Island Press), in which she documents her travels to bars, distillers, and farms that are forging a more sustainable path forward for spirit-making. Farrell—who currently works as a writer, audio producer, and interviewer at the University of California Berkeley’s Oral History Center—puts her incisive journalism skills to use in every site she visits. She meets distillers in South Carolina who are saving a scarce type of corn from near extinction and using it to make one of the world’s most sought-after bourbons, and travels to Guadalajara, Mexico, to visit mezcaleros who produce the spirit using time-honored traditions that preserve an important part of the country’s culture as well as the health of the land. In London, she encounters a bar owner whose establishment is redefining luxury drinking by prohibiting the use of ice and bottles.