In this episode, we’ve got an interview with writer Genevieve Morgan. She’s here to talk more about her article, Survival Gardening: One Foot at a Time in Edible Maine.
Recommended recipe: Refrigerator Radish Pickles from Edible Capital District.
Jesse Hawkins: The average bar or restaurant that includes mocktails on their menu increased their sales by up to $3,500 per year, but then bars and restaurants that put in an actual program increased their sales between 8500 and $13,000 per year.
Joy Manning: I’m Joy Manning, and this is Edible Potluck, a podcast that gives food lovers a taste of Edible Communities magazines. Today, we’ve got a conversation with Edible Maine contributing writer, Genevieve Morgan about survival gardening and how growing your own food can provide some comfort when you’re feeling especially bleak about the state of our world. Then we have a conversation with Jesse Hawkins, founder of the Louisville based Mocktail Project about his quest to create a safer, more inclusive drinking environment in bars, restaurants, and anywhere people gather around drinks.
Before we dig in, as you look back on the summer, let me ask you, have you made enough pickles? It’s a great way to store the season. Even if you don’t can per se, you could make refrigerator pickles and keep them for a few weeks in the fridge. It’s easy. I’m especially feeling radish pickles right now. They’re crunchy and spicy and spark up a lot of different dishes. Edible Capital District has got a quick, easy recipe if you want to give it a try too. It’s a flexible recipe. You choose your favorite vinegar and whatever spices you like and have on hand. You probably have everything you need right now to make it except maybe those daikon radishes. Give it a try and let me know how you use them up. I like to dice them into a salad. You’ll find a link to this recipe in the show notes for today’s episode at ediblecommunities.com/podcast.
According to writer Genevieve Morgan, we all may be starving by the year 2050. At least that’s how she opened her article, Survival Gardening, in the spring issue of Edible Maine. She warns that in the face of the instability of natural and manmade disasters, widespread food scarcity could be more likely than we think. She does have hope, though. She offers a helpful strategy to guard against those dark possibilities, gardening. When I read her piece, I had to know more, and she’s here to tell me more about it today. Genevieve, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Genevieve M.: Thank you so much for having me, Joy. I really love being here and talking about this subject.
Joy Manning: How did you get interested in this?
Genevieve M.: Well I have to say I’m a city girl. I grew up in Manhattan and growing your own food or foraging was about me going downstairs to the deli to get a bagel and cream cheese. I do not come to it naturally, but my mother was born on a farm and was raised on a farm, and on holidays we would go. I have had the extreme pleasure of sitting down to a meal that has been completely grown on your own property. That was at my grandmother’s. I also way back in the day, I come from Norwegian farmers. I keep thinking that somewhere deep in my blood the farming vein runs deep.
This was really about trying to address my own anxiety about climate catastrophe and what we’re all going to do in 50 years when not only are we going to be facing possible huge historic weather catastrophe, which we’re already seeing. I mean the Midwest has been flooding but also increased challenges for freshwater supply, changes in temperature, rising sea levels. You go to bed at night and you start thinking: what can I do? I have children and one of the things I thought that I could do was learn to grow my own food since we all need to eat.
Joy Manning: Your article does strike a light tone, but you’re pretty serious about this it sounds like.
Genevieve M.: Well I think that we’re all trying to figure out what we can do on a personal level or at least, I mean there are some people obviously who don’t believe this is happening. I read an article in Forbes. It actually was an optimistic article in the end, but there was a big doomsday scenario about the lack of non-renewable energy sources like oil that are feeding into our agricultural system. Also, the big thing is a freshwater supply. We may not realize it in the Northeast, but most of the freshwater that we have goes towards irrigating crops. If we start to have water shortages, crops are going to be one of the first things. This is not only in America. It’s more dangerous in developing countries where there is even more people. In the next 50 years, the population’s going to keep going and we’re going to be facing more and more challenges. One thing that we can all learn to do is grow some of our own food.
Joy Manning: Now let’s define the survival garden. How does that differ from somebody else’s garden?
Genevieve M.: Well, I got the term survival garden really from victory gardens in World War Two. I was thinking about how a lot of the news articles and all scientists are saying, we’re going to have to mobilize like we did in World War Two. I went and I looked at how did people get food and World War Two? It turns out that in the US, 40% of the food that kept our country going during World War Two was grown in victory gardens, backyard gardens. That led me to think, “Wow, I’ve never grown my own food. Could I do it?” Then I bought a book by Mel Bartholomew called Square Foot Gardening, which is a really great way to start small. It’s like container gardening, but it’s a little bigger. Conceivably you can do it anywhere where you have at least 10 feet by six feet in full sun.
Joy Manning: I live in a row home in the city and my backyard is really just a concrete slab. I think I do have 10 feet by six feet. Can I do it?
Genevieve M.: Yes. I mean, you would have to put in some investment, because you’d probably have to build a raised bed of maybe two feet tall to prep the earth. Plants need soil, so you would have to give them enough soil to grow down as well as up. The interesting thing about square foot gardening is it is very intensive. You plant plants close together. You have to feed them, but you can grow them vertically. Another really cool thing that people are doing, if you go online you can Google this, this is vertical gardening where they hang. They basically like in cities hang gardens off of the sides of houses.
It’s really neat, and you have to think small. I mean I have a friend here who has a big garden, and she comes over and looks at like my square foot garden and says, “Oh that’ll be nice. You’ll get like four cabbages and five snap fees.” My intent in all of this was to teach myself how to do this and then possibly if I get good at it, expand and be able to take on a bigger garden that could feed more people. I mean if you have two, four by four-foot squares, you can get enough vegetables if you do successive plantings to feed a family of two. You need a bigger space. I mean, if you’re only going to use your own vegetable
Joy Manning: For people that haven’t heard of this before, can we explain the whole concept of square foot gardening?
Genevieve M.: Yes. Square foot gardening, if you notice, if you even go online and look at raised beds, you’ll see that they come in a certain size. Now some are like two feet by six feet or some are four by four. That’s because the idea is that you have a square or rectangle, and in square foot gardening you carve out a 12 by 12 square for each crop. For instance, in the one I’m growing right now in one square, I have, one big in one four by four garden bed.
I have 16 squares. In each square, I have a different crop. I have celery, which is growing really well actually. Peas. I have a cabbage, and I have maybe six cabbages in that one square. I have more peas because peas are smaller so they take up less space, but I’m also trying to train them to grow up. Carrots and I have like maybe 16 carrots growing right now, but you can pull those and then plant more seeds after you pull them. I have some arugula, and I have some radishes, which are the best vegetable for a beginner gardener to start with because they grow really well. You pull them up, and you feel so proud of yourself. You actually have a radish.
Joy Manning: I love radishes.
Genevieve M.: You can’t believe it.
Joy Manning: This is your first year out?
Genevieve M.: Yes.
Joy Manning: How did you decide what to plant?
Genevieve M.: Honestly, I ordered an heirloom garden packet online. I wanted to get heirloom seeds, and so basically if you are at all thinking about global catastrophe, there’s a lot of sites online to help you. I said I wanted to plant a survival garden, and there’s actually a whole genre here. There was a packet that came that had heirloom seeds of what I’m calling larder are vegetables, which are vegetables that you can survive off of. They’re not fancy necessarily, but they’re the stuff that we, human beings, have been living off of forever, like squash and corn and beans. Then I did supplement like with the arugula. The arugula wasn’t in the heirloom, but I did it because I liked it.
Joy Manning: Right, right. I mean it seems like if you’re going to go to the trouble of doing this, you should plant some things that you like to eat. I mean I like to eat all of those things. I will be the first to say vegetable doesn’t have to be glamorous for me to love it, but-
Genevieve M.: I mean, the thing that’s interesting…. I mean the other thing that I should say is that I, at least where I live, which is in Maine, there are a number of community supported agricultural farms that are run by local farmers. One thing that you can do if you don’t feel like you are up to gardening your own vegetables, which I think everybody should try to do, even if you just do it in a potted bed or they have earth boxes which are just plastic tubs, four by four with a little raised shelf so that the plants don’t sit in water, is just to do it because this is a skill we all should have. I mean, it’s probably aside from finding freshwater, the most important skill that humans can have, which is to grow their own food or find their own food. I do encourage, and I will probably supplement my small bed by joining a CSA this summer because at least you know that the vegetables are being grown locally by local farmers.
My worry is more not only availability of food in the future, and I’m talking 50 years from now, but stresses on transportation of food, on shipping food. I think the days are waning when we’re just going to be able to get in the car and drive to a major supermarket and expect there to be this plethora of food choices that may be kind of Cassandra-ish of me, but I think that we’ve seen, I said in the article about the romaine lettuce scare that happened and then there was a scare about pork. More and more as regulations are shifting and things are falling apart, we may find that in the next 25 to 50 years, we can’t rely on the food supply as we have been. Even if you can’t or you don’t want to grow your own right away, I do recommend it as just a hobby because it’s also really fun, and you get really attached to the plants. I talked to my plants all the time. My Kids think I’m crazy, but you can then also join the CSA and get fresh local, sometimes organic vegetables.
Joy Manning: If you’re like me and you’re looking at your space, how do you assess the light? Because there’s certain light requirements.
Genevieve M.: Yeah, I mean that was tough for me because I built the beds in May, and the trees and Maine hadn’t fully leafed out. I’m seeing now that what I thought was going to be like eight to 12 hours of sun is more like seven because the leaves have come. I’m still working with that. I think the most open spot that you can possibly find in your yard is the best sun. Then you need to read the back of your-
Joy Manning: The least shared, you’re saying.
Genevieve M.: Yeah. The least shaded.
Joy Manning: The sunniest.
Genevieve M.: There are certain crops and this is where you start to go deep into the gardening world, but there are certain crops like lettuce and cooler weather vegetables that can handle more shade. If you have a shadier spot, you just have to actually look on the back of the seed packet and see what they say. Things like tomatoes, if you think of warm climate vegetables and fruits, like a cantaloupe, tomatoes, peppers, those are all, they need a lot of sun. They need a lot of heat and sun.
Joy Manning: What about the soil quotient? You write in your article about healthy soil. As I mentioned, I don’t have any soil in the city. It’s a lot of times the soil is not really usable. Where do you get your dirt?
Genevieve M.: Well you can get your dirt, if you’re strong and you can like tote it with a wheelbarrow or something, you can just order like a big pile of organic dirt to come to your, and like they’ll dump it on your block or your street corner. You can find things. I mean there’s at least in Maine, even at the recycling center where people bring their green debris, they sell loam. They sell loamy soil. Otherwise, you just have to buy it at a garden store or a Lowe’s or Home Depot in bags. Generally, they come. This gets very deep into soil composition, but soil basically has nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium in it. There’s also acidic soil and clay soil and sandy soil. If you buy the soil from your hardware store to start out, let’s say you’re going to have a small bed, then you can be pretty sure that it’s going to work.
Next year you might have to amend it depending on what you put in there. Then I also think that I have been feeding my garden. You can use compost tea like I’ve been. I’ve got plant food and I feed-
Joy Manning: What is compost tea.
Genevieve M.: Compost tea is if you have a compost pile, you have to basically take the finest compost, and you put it in a bottom of the watering can and you fill the rest with water. Because the plant, what I’ve just learned, this is something I learned literally this week, is the kind of plant food that you might sprinkle on the soil or put into the soil like plant spikes, like fertilizer spikes, it takes a lot of time even with organic fertilizer for the plants to uptake that. The best way to feed your plants is with the liquid fertilizer.
Joy Manning: It sounds like you’re really learning a lot as you go through this first year. About how much time per day are you spending on this project?
Genevieve M.: Well every morning I walk out with my coffee and I check them, and then I decide what I need to do. Like today I went out and I saw because I have not done any pest control because I’m trying to grow organically because again I’m thinking, “What did our primordial ancestors use? They didn’t have pesticide.” Today I realized I have to go and research organic pest control because some of my leaves are getting eaten.
Joy Manning: Oh yeah, I grow basil for the pests apparently. I do have a pot of Basil, and it’s gone. They just eat it.
Genevieve M.: I have heard, and I don’t know if this works, we’ll have to check-in in a month, but that you can put soap, dish soap in a spray bottle and spray the leaves with soapy water. The other big thing that I want to say I did this year, which I’m a big advocate of, is I rented water barrels from my city water supply, and I have two water barrels, and they are overflowing with water right now.
Joy Manning: They collect rain?
Genevieve M.: They collect rain, and my hope is that when the dry months come, which will be August and September, then I can use them to help water my garden sustainably.
Joy Manning: Now I know Maine is somewhat colder than where I am in Southeastern Pennsylvania but are you harvesting food yet?
Genevieve M.: I’ve harvested radishes, and I’m harvesting a couple of carrots. I have spinach, and I have my sunflowers, which I grew in the corners of my bed are starting to grow like put out little flower florets. I am about to harvest some lettuce and arugula. We’ve had a really slow spring
Joy Manning: Because of temperatures?
Genevieve M.: Because of rain and cold weather. I mean, three weeks ago it was only 50 degrees here. We’re having a very schizophrenia spring where it’s rainy, rainy, rainy, cold, 50s, 60s, and then we’ll have one day in the 80s. That’s not great for growing vegetables. They like homeostasis. They like warm sun and every other day or every two days getting watered. Mostly I’m just having fun with it. I’m trying to keep it fun and light and not too high maintenance.
Joy Manning: Your garden is growing in the shadow of your anxiety about the end of the world. You get a gold star for keeping it fun.
Genevieve M.: Yes. I will say this though that it’s an amazing antidote to that anxiety. I mean, rather than going on Facebook… I mean take the time that you might go on Facebook or Twitter to read all those catastrophic articles and put it into growing something and building something. It’s amazing how it balances out your anxiety, because in the end we are going to have to face whatever challenges, and you might as well try to grow some skills. Then maybe, hopefully, you’ll get some food along with it.
Joy Manning: Now it’s probably too late for people to get started on their 2019 survival garden. When should they start for next year? What does that look like in terms of time?
Genevieve M.: I mean I would definitely think about just going to the library or wherever and checking out Mel Bartholomew’s book. It’s a pretty old book. It should be in the library though.
Joy Manning: Can you say the title again?
Genevieve M.: It’s called Square Foot Gardening. It’s St. Martin’s Press 1981, and the author’s name is Mel Bartholomew. I think he also has a website, but I didn’t check that out because I already had this book. If you like the idea of square foot gardening, or even if you want to have a bigger garden like you want to go down and rent a… Right now what you could do is put your name down for a community gardening plot, especially in your situation where you might not feel great about doing it in your backyard, if your community has a… Generally, those are in really sunny areas. They have a communal water supply like a hose, and you can just rent one bed there. The dirt’s already there.
You can try all these skills out there. It can be a little daunting because there are some great gardeners. If you’re just starting out, it could possibly be a little like, okay. What I would do is, and what I did do, was start dreaming and get a piece of draft paper or quad paper and Mark out the size of your bed. Mark out your squares, and think about what you might want to plant. Maybe do a little research on when they grow and how they best grow, how much light they need. Then when you feel like you have your perfect setup, order the seeds. Then you can use the winter if you have a sunny window or something like that to start trying to grow your seeds.
Now, the next step for me is figuring out if I can allow some of my vegetables to flower and then collect the seeds, because that’s the true beauty of heirloom seeds is that they’re supposed to self propagate, but you do have to be confident enough to gather the seeds, dry them, and save them for replanting next winter. I’m not sure I’m at that stage yet. We’ll see.
Joy Manning: Well, it is only your first season, so you could be forgiven if you’re not doing the perfect seed savings time out.
Genevieve M.: It’s true.
Joy Manning: Hopefully by 2050 you’ll have a robust seed library all your own, and you’ll be helping your neighbors.
Genevieve M.: Yeah, we’ll see. I mean, Maine is a good place to do that, but I will have to take pictures of my garden as it grows and send them to you so you guys can see.
Joy Manning: I would love that. It’s really inspiring to me. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but I would certainly like to grow my own food in a raised bed or in my neighborhood. Thank you for the inspiration, and thank you so much for joining us today.
Genevieve M.: Thank you for having me.
Joy Manning: That was Genevieve Morgan, Maine-based author and editor and host of the spectrum cable TV show, The Writer Zone. We’ll link to her Edible Maine article in the show notes for this episode, and you can learn more about her work ga-morgan.com.
A recovering alcoholic, Jesse Hawkins doesn’t mess with alcohol, but like a lot of people who don’t want booze, he still wants a complex, festive, and grownup drink when he goes out with friends. That’s exactly why he started The Mocktail Project in 2017. I read about Jesse and Edible Louisville and Bluegrass in the story of “Mocktails Grow Up,” and he’s here to tell us more about why zero proof beverages are important. Thanks for joining us, Jesse.
Jesse Hawkins: Thank you for having me.
Joy Manning: Tell me more about the Mocktail Project. What exactly does it do, and how did you get started?
Jesse Hawkins: Sure. As you mentioned, I made the personal choice to become a nondrinker just a little over five years ago in April of 2014. Three years ago I stepped away from my personal job, and I started the Mocktail Project, which is a mission-based nonprofit focused on creating social environments where cocktails and mocktails can coexist, but really just helping to create more inclusivity, whether you do drink, don’t drink, or just taking a break. Then through our mission we help to support things like recovery in the hospitality industry and really just helping to provide alternative options in social environments that we don’t think of, or I don’t think of, being inclusive like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and working with distilleries and environments like that really to help to provide alternative options.
Joy Manning: I mean, I think that’s so important because whether maybe you’re pregnant, maybe you have an early workout in the morning. Everybody still wants to feel included and have fun together, so that’s one part of your project that really appeals to me. How has it been received in the bar and restaurant community where you are there in Louisville?
Jesse Hawkins: You know, it’s so interesting because Kentucky in and of itself, our mayor says that all the time. Kentucky does a few things really well, but tourism is really not our tagline. It’s Bourbonism rather than tourism. It’s been a really interesting aspect working directly with distilleries, bars, restaurants in helping to provide those alternative options and really just empower social environments to be more mindful and be more inclusive.
As you mentioned, there’s a million reasons why an individual may choose not to drink. Really the approach that I take is, is that whether you do drink or don’t drink, every time we order a water or a sweet tea or lemonade, we’re a non-drinker in that moment. How do we elevate that experience and really start to start that conversation on, when I choose not to drink, why do I choose not to drink? Then having those options that we feel comfortable holding something in our hand in those social environments so that we don’t feel pressured or feel like we need to have a drink if we don’t want to.
Joy Manning: I also don’t drink alcohol. You and I have connected on the wide world of Sober Instagram, and I feel strongly about restaurants having non-alcoholic options. I talk to restaurant owners and bar managers about this, and I get a lot of push back actually. They’ll say, “Just drink water,” or, “We have diet Coke or whatever.” I think that there’s this attitude that it’s not important. Why do you think it matters, and what do you think restaurants and bars can get out of doing it? Like what’s in it for them?
Jesse Hawkins: Sure. I think and personally, for me, I’ve always kind of viewed this as gluten-free, when you looked at that movement five to 10 years ago, really truly only spaces that really had a really good culinary scene started to integrate gluten-free options. Now you look at five to 10 years later like a McDonald’s has a gluten-free option now. I think the important piece and the piece that gets missed is, is that just because maybe I don’t drink doesn’t mean that my father and my brother who loves bourbon or loves a good cocktail, I’m going to go support social environments that’s going to have an option for myself, my pregnant friend, my brother who does drink. You may miss out on an entire order of individuals that does consume alcohol just because you don’t provide an option for myself who doesn’t consume alcohol.
It’s really truly being mindful not only to the consumer that does, but then going above and beyond that of how do we keep those individuals in social environments longer? For that longevity piece, I’m only going to sit down and drink one Coca-Cola, but if you have two or three really great alternative options, I may stay for a longer time period. Usually, when I’m in those social environments, I’m going to buy a front end cocktail. I’m going to order another appetizer. I think that when you look at social environments that does it really well, they talk so much about how individuals stay longer, they promote it more, they bring more guests into those social environments not because all bars already have wine, beer, cocktails, but they’re providing that alternative option. Being mindful for the non-consumer, which is the pregnant mother, the person that’s doing dry January, the person in recovery, or maybe it’s just Tuesday and we have a big meeting on Wednesday, and we just want to take a break tonight.
Joy Manning: Right. That makes so much sense. I think we’re, you and I, are on the same page where it’s not just the right thing to do, but I think that there’s, and it sounds like you think that there’s money to be made for businesses.
Jesse Hawkins: I truly believe so. I forget the article that just wrote it. I believe it is maybe The New York Times, and they said the average bar or restaurant that includes at least three mocktails on their menu, increase their sales by up to $3,500 per year. Then bars and restaurants that put in an actual program to where they promote it on social media, where they train their staff on how to upsell individuals from water or tea to six, seven, eight dollar mocktail increased their non-alcoholic sales between 8,500 and $13,000 per year.
Joy Manning: That’s amazing. That’s really good I think for the food community to know that it can, people who don’t want to drink alcohol still want to buy beverages and still have money.
Jesse Hawkins: Sure. I think from my perspective, what I always share and talk about is, as a consumer I was already used to spending eight to $13 for a cocktail because that was my drink of choice. I wanted that experience, and I wanted to watch the bartender to bring over and craft and walk over a drink. That money is still there to be spent. As a nonconsumer of alcohol, I still want to have that same great experience and still have something brought over to me. I still don’t mind paying for a great experience, and I think that’s the piece that gets missed.
Joy Manning: I actually prefer it, because if I’m spending around the same amount of money on a nonalcoholic cocktail as my friends who are having regular cocktails, there’s not that weird moment when the bill comes and somebody is like, “Oh, Joy didn’t drink.” I actually prefer it. It’s really normalizing. I think restaurants overlook that to some extent, and I do think that’s a really great part about the Mocktail Project and what you’re doing. I would be remiss though if I didn’t ask you about your choice of name and the word mocktail itself. It’s kind of a hot button issue. A lot of people don’t love the word, but you’ve clearly embraced it. Can you tell me more about how you feel about the word mocktail to describe craft nonalcoholic beverages?
Jesse Hawkins: Sure, so if you actually go to themocktailproject.com there’s a tag line in there that says whether you prefer the term mocktail, spirit-free or non-alcoholic cocktail, our mission is about creating spaces they can all coexist and really helping to provide alternative options. I chose the word mocktail because it’s the most universally recognized, and it’s also in Webster’s dictionary. When you go to Webster’s, there’s cocktails and there’s mocktails. I simply chose the term for a mission on what would be the most recognized rather than trying to pick a term that everyone enjoys or likes.
Personally, I really truly don’t care. I want to have an alternative option. I don’t care if it’s called spirit-free. That’s really where for us as a mission, I want to empower a restaurant or a social environment to be authentic to who they are in really picking a term that they prefer. Then how do I then promote what they’re doing, whether it’s spirit-free, alcoholic cocktail? The sans is starting to become a term. The reality of it is, is that I just want to have an alternative option on the menu. I pick the most recognizable term worldwide.
Joy Manning: That makes sense. I have mixed feelings about the word mocktail, but I’m always happy to see them list it that way on a menu because I know I’m going to get something to drink.
Jesse Hawkins: Exactly.
Joy Manning: You’ve partnered with some unlikely groups, at least at first glance, including the Kentucky Distillers Association. It seems like a sort of a weird alliance between someone who is a recovering alcoholic and an advocate for those in recovery and a huge, let’s call them, big booze. How did that happen?
Jesse Hawkins: Well, again, being Kentucky based, I had to take a hard look both at myself and also really truly the landscape. The reality is, is that most individuals don’t know that brands like say a Brown-Foreman actually has an internal team set up, that if an employee struggling with alcoholism or other substance abuse, they have resources. They spend so much money, time, and they’re truly so thoughtful on creating a healthier drinking culture. The same goes with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which is the Kentucky Distillers Association, on helping to provide alternative options, really creating a better drinking culture as a whole. When you look at a great spirit, none of those brands put something on a shelf that says they’re an ages six, eight, 10 15 years to then have a consumer blackout. They want them to truly enjoy it.
I think like the biggest misconception is, is that yes, they are a business. Yes, they do want to sell alcohol, but they also don’t want people to get in a car and drive after they’ve been drinking. Really what I took as a holistic approach is saying alcohol is never going to go away, and alcohol is not the problem. It was my own personal choice in how I abused alcohol from my own insecurities and doubts. How do we provide an option that can be paired with a great cocktail, and in social environments that if you’re going to have an open bar with these great spirits, let’s also be just as mindful on the other side of providing great alternative options? That’s really been my approach from the beginning because I don’t think we should ever put alcohol on one side and say, “-h, let’s just do away with that and just play over here on nonalcoholic sides.” Like, let’s coexist and let’s create spaces where everyone can feel comfortable, again, where whether you do drink, don’t drink, or you just want to take a break.
Joy Manning: Obviously Kentucky is a big part of who you are and a big part of what has informed your nonprofit than The Mocktail Project, but I think that every city in America and everywhere could benefit from The Mocktail Project.
Jesse Hawkins: Completely agree.
Joy Manning: Do you have plans to expand your reach?
Jesse Hawkins: Yes. If there’s any team members out there that believes in the mission, then definitely contact me. I can speak just from this past week, I just got back from a music festival in Michigan. I was just at Electric Forest putting in their first non-alcoholic space, both on the hospitality side and for the guests. I’m going down to Tales of the Cocktail next week. Then, ironically Brown-Foreman and some other spirit brands have sent me all across the country doing things like whiskey festivals and different events and really helping to provide that alternative option.
The big one that could really truly expand into different environments is in October we host a spin-off of like a Negroni Week to where for one week we empower as many bars and restaurants to put one mocktail on their chalkboard, promote it, share it, put it on social media. It’s free to participate, but it’s really a project to get the conversation started on why it’s important to be mindful and have alternative options. Then if you do want to make a charitable donation to our mission, we then help to support things like [inaudible] friends and different avenues and recovery groups across the nation.
Joy Manning: Well, I think that is just terrific, and I hope it really catches on more and more. I want it where I live, and I want everyone to have options for a safer drinking culture. I know you focus mostly on being in social environments, but do you make mocktails at home for yourself?
Jesse Hawkins: I do. Yeah. It’s definitely it’s something I didn’t come from the bartending world, spent many hours at the bar, but I do love playing around and messing around with different recipes.
Joy Manning: Before I let you go, can you share your best advice on making a great mocktail at home?
Jesse Hawkins: Definitely start with fresh ingredients. Because we don’t have that base ingredient, like a vodka or a bourbon or whatever that may be, I love playing around different simple syrups. I think that’s the easiest and most complex way for whether you’re an amateur or a skilled bartender, but really just getting around and playing with different profiles and really truly for me, I look at it as an extension of culinary, so just pairing different flavor profiles that could work. I dig into my mother’s recipes and look through her cookbooks to try and get inspired.
Joy Manning: That’s great advice. I call them not so simple syrups because I like to put herbs and things in them.
Jesse Hawkins: Absolutely.
Joy Manning: Great. Well. Thank you so much for being here, Jesse. I really love getting an update on what’s going on with The Mocktail Project, and I hope that we all get to talk again soon.
Jesse Hawkins: Thank you so much.
Joy Manning: That was Jessie Hawkins of The Mocktail Project. We’ll link to the article Mocktails Grow Up from Edible Louisville and the Bluegrass in the show notes for today’s episode. Follow him on Instagram @TheMocktailProject.
Thank you for joining us today on Edible Potluck. Our podcast producer is David Wolf. If you liked this episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. Please take a moment to leave us a rating or review. You know it helps other listeners find the podcast. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of your own local Edible Magazine. If you don’t know where to get one, find out at ediblecommunities.com. You can find links to everything we talked about today in the show notes for this episode at ediblecommunities.com/podcast. Until next time, remember, eat local.