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Drink ‘n Thinks: Session One – The Apothecary’s Lab

May 10, 2015


an Abundance DIY Sustainability Workshop with Gary Phillips and Dr. Colbey Reid
Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015  6-8pm,
includes two cocktails.

Located at the Plant at 220 Lorax Lane, Pittsboro, NC.

For directions, click here.

Delve into the magic of cocktails and their totemic accouterments! Glittering glassware, delicate swizzles, gleaming shakers, and elegant dresses all set the stage for the mixed potion’s transmogrifications. What metamorphoses will be yours?

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Session One: The Apothecary’s Lab

How did the development of scientific ways of thinking coincide with the birth and blossoming of the cocktail in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America? Cocktail mixing rituals borrow from emerging laboratory conventions, and recipes often derive from early American medicinal remedies. Bitters, a common mixer in cocktails, first featured in nineteenth-century medicine shows, whose elixirs were frequently alcoholic and derived from folk recipes. Bartenders, a kind of contemporary medicine man (or woman!), are modeled on ancient forms of caregiving and hospitality conceived as healing. Today, experimental bartenders like London’s Mr. Lyan are taking a radical new approach to cocktail mixology by applying scientific principles of dilution, temperature control, and nutrient extraction to the practice of making drinks. These are only a few of the ways that cocktails serve as metaphors for the playful consumption of emerging scientific, and especially medicinal, knowledge.


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Spring/Summer Sessions:

The Summer 2015 “Drink n’ Thinks” showcase the partnership of the Fair Game Beverage Company with a Chapel Hill mixologist and NC State professor to revive the ancient tradition of the philosophical symposium, or drinking meeting. The Oxford English Dictionary stylizes these Classical Greek events as “intellectual entertainment,” but Fair game prefers the folksier parlance of the “drink n’ think.” The series combines a series of mini-lectures on the history and philosophy of cocktail consumption with hands-on lessons on how to mix two showcased drinks. The Summer session follows up last fall’s focus on “Local/Global Mixology,” “Cocktail Alchemy,” and “Prohibition and Repeal” with three new investigations of the ways that cocktails have facilitated and changed our understanding of hospitality since making their way into consumer culture in the late nineteenth-century.

Read about the other sessions in the Spring/Summer 2015 Drink ‘n Thinks Series: 

Session Two: Tiki Picnic – Tiki is a post-War American design motif applied to specially-stylized bars, backyards, and the elaborate drinks consumed there. Soldiers returning from the Pacific theater after World War II longed to recreate the Polynesian hospitality they’d experienced abroad. They associated tiki culture with a freer, less repressed lifestyle …. READ MORE / REGISTER

Session Three: Vinyl & Cocktail – Vinyl and cocktails became almost inseparable by the mid-twentieth-century, when these particular mechanisms of food and drink became key components in human social gatherings. Interspersing commentary with original music, sipping, and storytelling we’ll reenact one of the most hospitable conventions of the American mid-century….READ MORE / REGISTER 


About the instructors:

gary antiqueGary Phillips took up an interest in alcohol when he was seventeen and was trained as a bartender in 1979 at the Ambrosia Bar in Amherst, Massachusetts. In Chapel Hill he tended at the Pyewacket, Orient Express and Aurora, plus occasional gigs at various dives. He loves dives and will probably own one someday. Over the years he has invented several cocktails of note for special occasions, such as Persimmon Martinis For The Masses, which were served to hundreds at the Piedmont Bio-Fuels Plant in 2011 during a celebration for the Dogwood Alliance.



colbeyDr. Colbey Emmerson Reid is a professor in the Poole College of Management specializing in consumer culture at North Carolina State University.  Reid has over 16 years of teaching and research experience in literature and writing as well as experience creating and overseeing study abroad programs and an interdisciplinary research and lecture forum. Reid has also chaired an institutional grant-awarding committee to promote faculty development at York College, where she was formerly Associate Professor of English. Her research activities at NC State focus on the topics of communication, innovation, creativity and design. She received the Leon Edel award in 2009 for her essay on statistical language in Henry James and the Fredson Bowers award in 2011 for her essay on the intersection of early 20th century design innovation and consumption habits in avant-garde poetry. Reid’s co-authored essay, “Fallen Angel: The Consumption of Religion in American Cocktail Culture,” is forthcoming next year in Material Religions: The Journal of Art, Objects, and Belief.  She is currently pursuing a project on the adoption of avant-garde home and fashion design innovations by middle class consumers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and she recently co-edited and contributed an article on “Victorian cybernetics” to Design, Mediation, and the Posthuman (2014), an interdisciplinary essay collection on technology and design. Reid’s favorite cocktail is the Blood and Sand, on which she hopes to offer an intensive and delicious Drink n’ Think in the future! She also likes raspberry gin fizzes, good champagne, dark beer, and fabulous dresses.