Archive | The Drink Tank: Gibson Thomas

The Drink Tank: Seth Benhaim, co-founder and CEO of Infuse Spirits

Inspired by cunnamedocktails made with house-infused rums on a trip to Barbados, Seth Benhaim began experimenting with his own infusions in his grandmother’s garage. Her two rules: No parties and no drinking… Little did she know she was fostering the beginnings of a multi-award winning spirits business, Infuse Spirits.

Benhaim and his team use old world techniques to hand infuse American distilled corn-based vodka with dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, and exotic spices. Unlike many other flavored vodka producers, Infuse uses no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. What you see is what you taste.

Listen in to hear how the magic happens…

InfuseVodkas.comRead the rest

Continue Reading

The Drink Tank: New Orleans Cocktail History with Elizabeth Pearce


Elizabeth Pearce, drinks historian and the drinks curator for the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Elizabeth Pearce is a drinks historian and the drinks curator for the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in the cradle of American drinks culture, New Orleans.

Gibson and Elizabeth explore the rich and storied history of drinking in the city of New Orleans, from its early days as a French colony, to the rioting (and hangings) that took place when the Spanish took control of the city and outlawed French spirits in favor of those produced by Spain, through Prohibition – it took one Federal agent just 37 seconds to be served a drink when he inquired, pulled from under the driver’s seat of the taxi that picked him up at the train station – and onto today.

The two also discuss Elizabeth’s book, The French Quarter Drinking Companion, in which she and her two co-authors recount the tales of what happened to them in each of the 100 bars they visited in the city’s French Quarter.

More about Elizabeth, her book and blog, and the historical tours she offers can be found at

Buy the book at your favorite local Indie Bookstore


Edible Words Logo Final

Get you tickets now for Eating Words: The Edible Institute Food Writing Conference in the City of Literature



Read the rest

Continue Reading



Chris Weld of Berkshire Mountain Distilling

Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, publisher and editor of edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Chris Weld, distiller and owner Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Chris, a biochemist by education and experience, started distilling when he and his family bought a small farm near Sheffield.  The farm was home to an apple orchard, a sugar bush and a natural spring producing some of the finest waters in the country, inspiring Chris to put his biochemistry knowledge to some very useful “work.” The first legal (aka permitted) distillery in the Berkshires since the end of Prohibition, BMD hand crafts bourbon, corn whiskey, rum, vodka and several varieties of gin.  Its Greylock gin was named the #1 sales_pgs_Page_4-300x232craft gin in the country by a tasting panel from the New York Times. Chris and Gibson discuss the growing craft distilling movement and the complicated issue of sourcing ingredients – what do you do if local does not also mean organic, sustainable or non-GMO, and do those matter in a distilled spirit? To learn more about BMD, including where to find their products and their new distillery and tasting room in Sheffield, visit Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Drink Tank: Author Bryce Bauer on Iowa’s Templeton Rye

Bryce-Bauer_BW-237x300Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, publisher and editor of edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Bryce T. Bauer, the Hearst Award-winning author of the soon-to-be-released book, Gentlemen Bootleggers:  The True Story of Templeton Rye, Prohibition and a Small Town in Cahoots (July 1, 2014, ChicagoReview Press).

Gentlemen Bootleggers tells the story of the citizens of one small town in Iowa that embraced the distilling and selling of spirits during the 13 years of Prohibition and how their assistance nurtured the production of high quality rye whiskey still revered today, Templeton Rye.  Operating at the same time as Al Capone, who earned himself the moniker “Public Enemy Number One” because of his riches and the path of violence he left in his bootlegging wake, Joseph Irlbeck, the German-born founder of Templeton Rye, seems to have been motivated not by personal fame or fortune, but by the desire to produce a truly premium spirit.

The Prohibition-era alternatives for a wee bit of festivity were not pretty – high cost spirits imported from Canada or purchased from one of Capone’s cohorts, or poisonous substances like high alcohol mouthwash, Sterno gel and even inexpertly distilled spirits given a “kick” by the addition of car battery acid.  No wonder Irlbeck, and many other Americans, turned to making their own.

With the help of the town’s Mayor, Justice of the Peace, and even the Monsignor who allowed the keeping of a still in the basement of the Catholic Church, Templeton’s bootleggers managed to keep one step ahead of the law for the most part – despite persistent raids and harassment by over zealous Federal agents.

Bauer is also co-writing and co-producing a documentary about the subject, Whiskey Cookers:  The Amazing Story of the Bootleggers of Templeton, Iowa.  

Buy the book now from your local, independent bookseller

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Episode 125: The Drink Tank – Carolina Wild


Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, publisher and editor of edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Dennis Tracz, founder and CEO of Carolina Wild, a new muscadine juice producer in Pink Hill, NC.

Native Americans cultivated muscadines, a type of wild grape, and sipped their sweet, funky juice, long before the new world was “discovered” by seafaring Europeans.  Recent studies have found muscadines to be higher in antioxidants and polyphenols than any other fruit, once again proving the innate wisdom of our elders.

Touted by 16th Century Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano and, later, English voyager Sir Walter Raleigh, who, legend has it, sent a keg of muscadine wine back to his queen, Elizabeth I, muscadines and the wine, juice and jelly traditionally made from their juice, have remained largely a Southern secret until now.  Tracz and his wife, Elizabeth Maxwell, a Pink Hill native, intend to change that.

Tracz and Maxwell’s secret recipe utilizes over 300 different muscadine cultivars to craft a distinctively delicious juice that can be simply sipped over ice, or included in recipes as varied as ice cream, mignonette sauce and a cocktail or two.

Learn more about Carolina Wild muscadine juice at

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Episode 126 Drink Tank with Tom Michaelsen of Karlsson’s Vodka

Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, publisher and editor of Edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Tom Michaelsen, marketing manager of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka.

Tom explains why Karlsson’s Gold Vodka is wildly different from most of its modern-day vodka brethren. And it is. Blended from seven varietals of virgin new potatoes grown on Sweden’s Cape Bjare, Karlsson’s Gold Vodka is produced in a way that actually preserves and celebrates the flavors of its star ingredients. Meant to be sipped and savored, expert reviewers actually attribute notes of earth, grass and ripe fruit to the spirit – a far cry from other vodkas that are distilled multiple times with the goal of removing all taste and smell. Tom and Gibson also discuss how the co-op of around 50 farmers who grow these special potatoes in the Cape Bjare area are able to preserve their generations-old land and traditions with the revenue generated by selling their potatoes to Karlsson’s. Learn more about Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, including where to find it in your area and interesting cocktail recipes, at

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Episode 125 Drink Tank with Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery

Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, publisher and editor of Edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Garrett Oliver, brewmaster extraordinaire of The Brooklyn Brewery.

Garrett and Gibson explore the rich history of brewing in Brooklyn that was propelled by the large influx of German immigrants in the 19th century, the demise of that tradition brought about by the rise of mass-produced (and mass-marketed) beers from the Midwest in the 1970s, and the current explosion in full-flavored, artisan-crafted beers in this country.

Learn more about The Brooklyn Brewery and its extraordinary craft beers, including recipes and pairings, at Also look for Garrett’s books on the subject of all things beer including his latest, The Oxford Companion to Beer (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Episode 124 Drink Tank with Ben Jones

Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, publisher and editor of Edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Benjamin Mélin-Jones, managing director of Clément USA Inc. and descendant of Homere Clément, deemed by many to be the “father of Rhum Agricole.”

Gibson and Ben discuss the introduction of sugar cane into the Carribean by Christopher Columbus, the discovery of it’s “spirituous” properties when fermented and distilled and how the “sugar crisis” in the late 1800s led to the creation of Rhum Agricole – a spirit produced directly from fresh pressed cane juice and protected by it’s own AOC designation. A spirit with a long and storied history, Rhum Agricole is enjoying a renaissance in today’s cocktail culture.

Learn more about Rhum Agricole, the legacy of Homere Clément and where to find Rhum Clément spirits near you at Clément USA Inc.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Episode 122 Drink Tank with Christopher Silva

Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, publisher and editor of Edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Christopher Silva, President & CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards.

Silva, a fifth-generation Sonoma County native, comes from a family with a long history of dairy farming in the area. After an almost decade-long detour as a practicing attorney, Christopher returned to his farming roots in 1998, this time farming grapes and making world-renowned wines as part of the St. Francis team. Christopher was named President & CEO of St. Francis in 2003.

Christopher and Gibson discuss the important history of St. Francis in Sonoma County, the winery’s notable “green practices” and it’s recognition as a “Best Place to Work” in 2011 by the North Bay Business Journal. Christopher, a member of the Dean’s National Advisory Board of the UNLV Harrah College of Hotel Administration, also lectures nationally on wine tasting and appreciation and offers Drink Tank listeners his useful tips on food and wine pairing, optimum serving conditions and a 4-step guide to tasting.

Learn more about St. Francis Winery & Vineyards including daily wine and food pairings available at their spectacular winery location and outdoor movie nights during the summer at

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Episode 121 Drink Tank with Lloyd Bernhardt

Drink Tank host Gibson Thomas, Publisher and Editor of Edible Marin & Wine Country, talks to Lloyd Bernhardt, co-owner of Ethical Bean Coffee based in Vancouver, BC.

Bernhardt, a former high-tech businessman, and his wife, Kim Schachte, a graphic designer, did not start out with a plan to start their Fair Trade coffee roastery. But after spending time in Guatemala during the adoption process for their daughter, they felt compelled to find a way to help the local coffee growers there who were definitely not receiving their fair share of the high prices being paid by consumers for high end coffees. And so, in 2003, Ethical Bean Coffee was born.

Ethical Bean’s coffees are Fair Trade Certified, Organic Certified, “B-Corporation” Certified, Climate Smart Certified, Kosher Certified, and delicious. During their interview, Lloyd explains why he believes all of this third-party certification is crucial in today’s coffee market and talks about the QR code that Ethical Bean places on each package of their beans that allows consumers to, through the use of Ethical Bean’s first-of-its-kind app for the iPhone, meet the farmer who grew the beans, journey to the co-op that processed the beans, follow them to Ethical Bean’s carbon neutral roastery in Vancouver and even see how the brew did in a quality taste test.

These guys are talking the talk and walking the walk.

Learn more about Ethical Bean Coffee at

Read the rest

Continue Reading