7 podcasts to serve – shaken or stirred

More than five months into the coronavirus pandemic, the early lockdown novelty of homemade cocktails and virtual happy hours may be starting to wear thin.

If you are seeking inspiration for your next quarantini, trying to figure out which wines to stock up on for autumn or just feeling wistful for the atmosphere at your neighbourhood watering hole, there just might be a podcast out there to quench your thirst.

LIFE BEHIND BARS

If you like your cocktails served with a generous dash of historical context, you cannot go wrong with this deeply researched monthly show from The Daily Beast, which juggles broad trend pieces about the booze industry with deep dives into specific drinks.

One week, hosts Noah Rothbaum and David Wondrich might explore the history and evolution of a classic cocktail like the Negroni; and the next, they might zoom out to discuss the decline of the dive bar or mull over how bars can weather the challenges of 2020.

It is a perfect comfort listen for the curious drinker.

Starter episode: The Bars We Can’t Wait To Visit Again

GOOD BEER HUNTING

The Good Beer Hunting collective positions itself as a one-stop shop for craft beer drinkers and professionals alike.

Founded almost a decade ago, the company offers marketing and event planning in addition to long-form writing and photography exploring every aspect of the beer business.

Regular episodes tend to focus on interviews with brewery owners and other beer entrepreneurs. Sightlines episodes focus on news, trends and projections about the industry.

Starter episode: Supply And Demand In A Panicked Market

WINE FOR NORMAL PEOPLE

This show is all about dismantling the intimidation factor that comes with wine. Aimed at listeners who “like wine, but not the snobbery that goes with it”, it also offers some escapism if you are missing travel this summer.

With infectious enthusiasm, host Elizabeth Schneider, a self-confessed “wine dork”, spotlights different winemaking regions around the world, from Italy to Lebanon to Australia. She also interviews local experts about the specific history and attributes of their wines.

Some episodes focus on more practical topics, like which fancy vino gadgets you really need or how to pick the perfect wine as a holiday gift.

Starter episode: The Wines Of Lebanon

BARTENDER AT LARGE PODCAST

Hosted with warmth and panache by San Diego-based career bartender Erick Castro, this show has changed shape slightly this year, much like the industry it spotlights.

Since lockdowns began in March, Bartender at Large has dealt with the practical implications of the pandemic – how to make a really great to-go cocktail, for instance – as well as the mental health repercussions on bartenders.

And if you would rather think about anything other than the pandemic, there are plenty more evergreen subjects to pick from, like the mysterious formula for a great neighbourhood bar or the behind-the-scenes process of picking the World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Starter episode: Chloe Frechette On Easy Tiki Drinks

THE MODERN BAR CART PODCAST

If the quarantini era has inspired you to stock your liquor cabinet and perfect a few classic cocktail recipes for the first time, here is a crash course you can get delivered right to your ears.

Scroll all the way back to the show’s early episodes in 2017 to hear Eric Kozlik’s guides on glassware, essential liquors and flavour profiles.

Over the years, the show has featured more interviews with bartenders, distillers and other alcohol aficionados, along with segments in which Kozlik answers questions from listeners.

Asked to define the difference between a fizz and spritz, he takes a delightful foray into the wisdom of a 19th-century bartender’s manual, exemplifying the show’s affable blend of passion and curiosity.

Starter episode: Cocktails In A Time Of Plague

VINEPAIR PODCAST

Digital media company VinePair covers news and trends from the drinks industry, but you do not need to be a winemaker or mixologist to enjoy its punchy, thought-provoking podcast.

The show’s hosts – VinePair co-founder Adam Teeter, editor-in-chief Erica Duecy and sommelier Zach Geballe – share some enjoyably strong opinions (Dry January is dumb, and “signature cocktails” are overrated, to name a few) and tackle seemingly esoteric subjects in accessible and fascinating ways.

Starter episode: What Happens When Summer Drinking And Social Distancing Collide?

UNRESERVED WINE TALK

How do you find the perfect wine to pair with yoga? Or meatless burgers?

These are just a few of the off-the-beaten-path subjects that Canadian journalist Natalie MacLean explores in this engaging, unpretentious series. She also explores wine trends and pop cultural representations of wine.

Some of the most memorable episodes expand into broader conversations about sociology and human behaviour. In recent weeks, MacLean has explored gender differences in wine-buying, how people’s drinking habits can be shaped by a movie like Sideways (2004) and how the name of a wine affects the way that it tastes.

Starter episode: How We Buy Wine Based On Secret Retail Triggers

NYTIMES

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