Americans' preferences for alcohol have been all over the place. Nearly every spirit has had its moment to shine. In the Colonial era, it was rum. After the Revolutionary War, American-grown grains were turned into prolific amounts of whiskey. In the Jazz Age, gin saw its day. The Sex and the City generation guzzled (and still guzzles) vodka like an old-school Chevy pickup.
Right now, we're in the midst of a cocktail revival -- it seems like every spirit and every drink is in style. And moonshine, the onetime bootleg liquor that fueled many a Prohibition speakeasy, is back and better than ever. Author Mark Spivak's recent release, Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle, explores the often-mysterious drink. And he's teaming up with Savor Tonight, in the flesh, for a lunch celebrating white lightning.
On Saturday, November 15, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Spivak is conducting a lunch and learn at Barolo Ristorante. The author will talk about his new tome and share stories about his yearlong journey through the backwoods of Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. (Fun fact: Moonshine bootleggers were the precursor for NASCAR.)
For $35 per person, the event includes three courses prepared by Barolo's chef, Will Figueroa; a beverage (glass of soda, iced tea, or Prosecco); a copy of Moonshine Nation; and, of course, a moonshine tasting.
Savor Tonight's Katy Lynch has been a longtime food and beverage enthusiast; however, even with her extensive knowledge, she was recently turned on to the world of America's most misunderstood whiskey.
"A few months ago, some friends of ours had just gotten back from Kentucky, where they were exploring the Bourbon Trail," says Lynch. "While they were telling us about their trip, they were happy to get out and share some of their finds, which included a variety of small-production bourbon and, of course, moonshine. What a fun afternoon that was! I quickly learned that while I was intrigued by the topic, there was quite a bit more to learn -- and what better way to do that than by partnering up with Mark."
Lynch met Spivak through the South Florida culinary community. After years of informal meetings and run-ins, she grew to appreciate his depth of knowledge on boozy beverages.
"I met Mark probably over a glass of wine," Lynch says. "We'd run into each other over the years, often attending the same wine and food events. Through every conversation, you could see his passion for the world of wine and spirits -- and his knowledge for it was always fascinating."
The menu includes:
- Choice of minestrone or insalata di Cesare (Caesar with house-made dressing)
- Selection of sole francese (sautéed filet of sole with white wine, lemon, capers, and parsley), veal pizzaiola (veal scallopini with sautéed onions, kalamata olives, basil, and marinara), or pollo milanesa (breaded chicken with arugula, heirloom tomatoes, shaved parmesan, and lemon vinaigrette)
Registration is open until November 12. Barolo Ristorante is located at 1201 U.S. 1 in North Palm Beach. Call 561-626-1616, or visit bit.ly/Barolo_1115.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.