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Drink ‘n Think: Cocktail Alchemy Workshop

October 19, 2014 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


an Abundance DIY Sustainability Workshop with Gary Phillips and Dr. Colbey Reid
Sunday, October 19th, 2014, 4-6pm

Located at the Plant at 220 Lorax Lane, Pittsboro, NC.
For directions, click here.

Register online:
Pre-registration is required.  For this workshop, Abundance offers one work/trade position (email us), a student rate, and a regular rate.


And another brilliant idea from ancient Greece: their drinking parties, called symposia, designed to encourage conversation among citizens. We tend to think of parties as private acts, and as opportunities for escaping thought. But the Hellenic symposium was once an important social institution, where the act of drinking- together acted simultaneously as a kind of religious and civil ritual designed to promote playful thinking and provide an opportunity to try out ideas on others.

The Fair Game Drink n’ Thinks revive the ancient Hellenic practice of using drink as a tincture for exploring new ideas and testing them out in gamesome conversation with others. Citizens of the Triangle are invited to gather and…
•  learn about aspects of western drinking traditions that have been suppressed, but still have value, in our own time
• learn to mix—and taste!—featured cocktails made with locally distilled spirits
•  renew the ancient practice of using cocktail consumption to promote conversational communion. drinkandthinkcup


Fall Sessions:

These Drink n’ Thinks will explore the art and rituals of distilling, fortifying, blending, and aging. They will also explain specific religious and civil traditions that inform American, and southern, attitudes toward spirits. We’ll use these sessions to figure out how taste literally functions as social glue, sampling wines, spirits, and cocktails and investigating the range of lost cultural contexts that have, historically, shaped the simple act of mixing drinks.


Cocktail Alchemy (10/19 at 4 p.m.)

This Fair Game Drink n’ Think session will enact a comparative religious history of the alchemical traditions implicit in the distilling of spirits and mixing of cocktails. The very word “cocktail” originated, in 1803, from descriptions in the Farmers Cabinet of a concoction of spirits, bitters, and sugar ostensibly consumed as a hangover remedy.


All the traditional components of cocktails—alcoholic spirits, bitters, botanicals, citrus, quinine tonic, and sugar—were already combined in folk medicines. Such concoctions originated in European cultural and religious frameworks that privileged magic. Far from being marginal, magical principles and folk frameworks were mainstream in the United States from its earliest Colonial foundations.


America’s Jazz Age cocktail fad further coincided with a well-documented explosion of interest among urban modernists in hermetic and esoteric beliefs and practices, altered states of consciousness, and primitivism. The emergent drinking culture of the United States actively instilled within modernity a range of ancient aspects of religious culture, including many that precede or fall well outside of mainstream orthodoxy.


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?


Register online:
Pre-registration is required.  For this workshop, Abundance offers one work/trade position (email us), a student rate, and a regular rate.


About the instructor:

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.




October 19, 2014
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Abundance North Carolina


The Plant Kitchen
220 Lorax Lane #5
Pittsboro, NC 27312 United States
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