Tiffanie Barriere is an award-winning bartender and cocktail educator who goes by the title “The Drinking Coach.” As the holidays approach, Tiffanie joins us to share some cocktail inspiration, talking with Dan about drinks for every season. She’s also created a cocktail perfect for this season — find it on Dan’s Instagram and in newsletter! Tiffanie reflects on going from bartending at Applebee’s to being the beverage director at a place known as one of the best airport bars in the world, and discusses her collaboration with the esteemed food journalist Toni Tipton-Martin on Toni’s new book, Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice: Cocktails from Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks.
The Sporkful production team includes Dan Pashman, Emma Morgenstern, Andres O'Hara, Nora Ritchie, Jared O'Connell, and Julia Russo.
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Back At It Instrumental" by Bira
- "Trippin" by Erick Anderson
- "Slightly Carbonated" by Erick Anderson
- "Layers" by Erick Anderson
- "Gust of Wind Instrumental" by Max Greenhalgh
Photo courtesy of Lynsey Weatherspoon.
Dan Pashman: My dad's drink not anymore, but when I — the one that I remember as a kid was he would always get vodka on the rocks with lime. That was his thing. And he would keep a bottle of vodka in the freezer. And if there was cocktails or he just wanted to drink it, like my brother and I, we would make the vodka on the rocks with lime. It's occurring to me, as we're talking, Tiffanie, that I don't have my kids making drinks for me and I feel like I've really blown it as a parent.
Tiffanie Barriere: I got tears in my eyes. Cause it's like, it's so bad what our parents did, but it's also like, it was a trust — you know, the trusting thing. Like, yeah, you got to get your kids to bartend.
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful, it's not for foodies, it's for eaters, I'm Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people. And before we get get into this show, I have some very exciting news to share! Now when the Stitcher app went away a couple months back, a lot of you lost access to the Sporkful back catalog. You’ve been writing and messaging me saying, “How do we listen to our favorite episodes, or go back for ones we missed the first time around?” Now, I'm pleased to tell you that I have the answer.
Dan Pashman: We’re going to drop one episode from the archive this Friday, and then we're gonna keep doing that every other Friday going forward. A little bonus listening for your weekend. We’ll be pulling episodes from the deep freezer and popping them in the microwave for you, which is why we’re calling them “Reheats”. Get it? Not repeats. Reheats!
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] I a little too pleased with that one. Anyway, are there certain episodes from the deep freezer that you want to hear? Let us know! We're taking requests, okay? Send us an email or voice memo to email@example.com. Tell us your first name, your location, the episode you want to hear, and why. Again, that’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Reheats start this Friday, November 17th.
Dan Pashman: All right, let’s get to the show. Today, I’m talking with Tiffanie Barriere. She's an award-winning bartender and cocktail educator who goes by the title “The Drinking Coach.” As we get into the holidays, we could probably all use some coaching on the drinking front, right? Some new cocktail ideas to up your game? Tiffanie's gonna share those, and she'll tell us about her new book she contributed to entitled Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs & Juice: Cocktails From Two Centuries Of African-American Cookbooks. But first let’s back up.
Dan Pashman: Tiffanie was born in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, and raised in Houston. Growing up, she’d spend weekends and summers back in Louisiana, where there were often big family gatherings.
Tiffanie Barriere: When you ask for something to eat, it's coming.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS] And I can just say in a few words, it's seasoned and it's fresh and it's fulfilling. You can literally taste love in every bite you get. `
Dan Pashman: What about the drinks? What kind of drinks were you seeing growing up?
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS] It was brown. It was in a glass, very rarely was it clear. And if it was clear, it had some kind of juice inside — grapefruit or orange juice.
Dan Pashman: So, I'm picturing at a family gathering like a small table and there's kinda like, one or two handles of liquor on the table, and then there's mixers.
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah, that’s it. That little card table that folds out, booze and mixers.
Dan Pashman: And you were telling me that the booze was typically brown, so it would be whiskey, bourbon, maybe rum.
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah, whiskey, bourbon, cognac for sure, and [Dan Pashman: Right.] rum, and some jar of something unmarked. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Did you ever find out what was in there?
Tiffanie Barriere: I mean, it was most likely shine or ...
Dan Pashman: Right.
Tiffanie Barriere: Or it was most likely some shine that was, you know, made with some kind of, you know, grain or vegetable that my uncle put together and said, "We should drink this."
Dan Pashman: And like, what was your perception of that little card table as a kid?
Tiffanie Barriere: I knew it was going to be a good night. I ... I loved it. I couldn't wait to see my mom set up, or whoever, set up for the night. But I knew when the table came out and the ice chest came out, it's about to be nothing but laughter, great music. It was always a party and the energy was just electric. It was ... It was a vibe.
Tiffanie Barriere: I grew up in a very non toxic drinking home, which, you know, a lot of people can't say that. Not everyone has the blessing of — we cheers the glass and we had a great night and went to sleep.
Dan Pashman: Were you ever put in charge of mixing drinks for the adults?
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS] Yes. That's my job. I was the — [LAUGHS] I laugh about it because I was a gopher. I was the one. Like, this is a chore. I grew up in the country, so kids are made for chores. As my family would say, we made you for chores to get done cleaning up and grabbing things. So for sure, after the first couple of rounds and the — you know, my cousins and I and family are playing, you hear your name screamed across garage or porch or whatnot, and it's like, "We need another round."
Dan Pashman: In 2000, after she graduated high school, Tiffanie moved from Houston to Atlanta. She started college, but dropped out her freshman year and began to work as a bartender. Her first job?
Tiffanie Barriere: Applebee's Bar and Grill, casual greatness. I'm 18 — I'm actually not supposed to be bartending because you're supposed to be 21 to touch booze.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: And it was fast money and it was awesome. And I ... I was in love.
Dan Pashman: What exactly did you love about it?
Tiffanie Barriere: People. People were so random. I could just literally ask someone, "How was their day?", and they would just go on and on and on. It was good stuff. It was bad stuff. It was juicy gossip. It was drama. I loved to just ask questions, pretty much interview everyone at the bar, and that made for great convo and more booze.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] Right. The role of the bartender is a powerful one, and there is something unique about that role of the bartender.
Tiffanie Barriere: It’s beautiful. It’s like you talk to someone, you may not want to talk to them. They may not want to talk to you, but we're kind of in each other's space, so we kind of do the polite thing for a second. Hi. Hey. And then before you know it, you're complimenting each other. You're watching someone else. And then all of a sudden you pawn them on other people.
Dan Pashman: So you would be like connecting different people at the bar and getting them to talk to each other?
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS] Absolutely. That's like my thing to do. Like if — even if there's a day I don't want to talk, I mean, maybe — I mean, of course I want to talk and chat, but before you know it, I'm like, "Hey Dave, you know, you should meet ... It's funny you say that. Eric just said like this, almost the same thing you guys should ....", and then boom. We've got a whole network or relationship or possibly a baby in nine months. I've seen that happen, too.
Dan Pashman: Have you kept track? How many babies can you take responsibility for, Tiffanie?
Tiffanie Barriere: I have two babies out there in the world that I've connected on a bar.
Dan Pashman: Really?
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: From those early days tending bar, are there stories from customers that have stuck with you, that you still remember?
Tiffanie Barriere: Oh, there's a few, a lot of them are kind of private. So I've heard some big shifts in people's lives. Those intimate shared moments are the ones that stick to me and stick really close about change and what life's all about. And there's even some sad ones about, you know, raising a glass to certain people that people love and that's — those are the ones that stick hard to my heart.
Dan Pashman: The restaurateur Danny Meyer, who opened Gramercy Tavern and other high end restaurants in New York — he also founded Shake Shack — he talks a lot about hospitality versus service. And I suspect maybe there's something you've also given thought to, Tiffanie. What do you see as the difference between hospitality and service?
Tiffanie Barriere: Service is an act. Hospitality is a feeling. I don't think I've ever said that before, but that's like — [LAUGHS] That's it right there.
Dan Pashman: That was so sharp. It sounded like you said it a hundred times.
Tiffanie Barriere: I know! When I say it .... [LAUGHS] I was like, wait a minute, write that down right now.
Dan Pashman: Yeah. [LAUGHS] Like when you are hospitable and they're in your space and you're in their space and we are like, you know, plating and dropping and picking and cleaning and laughing and sharing, you know, it's lovely when a server or a bartender takes care of you and you leave and you're like, you know, the food is great, but man, I feel good because of our person, and that's what hospitality is all about. And then there's this thing, which I, in my mind, when I started training folks was like, I call them UPTs, Unexpected Personal Touches. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Can you give me a couple of examples of UPTs, that you can add in between those moments of service?
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah, in my early days, it was simple things like don't ask if someone needs more water, when you can see the glass is, like, clearly empty. [LAUGHS] You know, when people are stepping into the restroom, it's walking them there. It's, you know, unraveling their silverware for them. It's maybe even bringing a little treat, you know, that's taking care of their kids. That's, you know, bringing over a sample of a drink you're working on. It's charging their phone. It's .. it's ... I mean, this is Tiffanie, but I'm giving you a hug sometimes when you leave.
Tiffanie Barriere: You might get a hug from me. You might get a high five from me. Just doing things that are unsaid. Giving them what you would want back.
Dan Pashman: In 2008, Tiffanie got a job that would change the trajectory of her career. It was at a new restaurant in Atlanta called One Flew South. Tiffanie came aboard as a bartender, and helped open the restaurant. The plan was for it to be a fine dining spot with upscale Southern fare, sushi, and an extensive bar program. This would be a change for Tiffanie. She was used to working in more corporate places like Longhorn Steakhouse. But the biggest difference was the location. One Flew South would be inside Atlanta's airport, which, it should be noted, is the world’s busiest airport.
Tiffanie Barriere: People are zombies in the airport. They're either full speed ahead or they're just floating. And we made this location a place where you could completely forget what's going on. But we didn't feel like a restaurant in the airport. We felt like a real restaurant with an airport outside of us.
Dan Pashman: What are the unique challenges of doing fine dining at an upscale bar in an airport?
Tiffanie Barriere: Purveyors is a huge challenge. How do we get our things? We don't have a backdoor dock. I mean, we do, but it's the tarmac. Like that's where our things come from.
Dan Pashman: Right. [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: And we were a sushi bar as well, so ... chef had to have tethered knives to the walls. So, everything ...
Dan Pashman: Wait, all the knives in the kitchen had to be tied to the walls?
Tiffanie Barriere: Yes. Yes.
Dan Pashman: Because of like, TSA stuff?
Tiffanie Barriere: Absolutely. We really — yeah, it was very tough and they ...
Dan Pashman: Oh my God, that never would have occurred to me. And like, for slicing limes at the bar or whatever? Like, every knife had to be on a string?
Tiffanie Barriere: Handcuffed for sure. And twice a month someone came by to make sure they were handcuffed or retightened, sharpening them. We couldn't — we had to have someone come in and do that. We were FAA regulation. We were in an airport. If we do anything wrong is, a felony. So, [LAUGHS] we had to be very, very cautious.
Dan Pashman: And then, what are some of the unique opportunities of running a fine dining restaurant and upscale bar in an airport?
Tiffanie Barriere: Well, we're open 365, seven days a week. So we are never closed. Money is running through there. So let's think about why we go to work and go to work to get paid. So that was really exciting to have this open schedule.
Dan Pashman: People also drink at all times of day in an airport.
Tiffanie Barriere: All day long.
Tiffanie Barriere: But we kept restaurant hours. We did open at a decent time. We opened at 11, we closed at 10. The door is always revolving. So we'd see people come in and then just leave. We'd be fully packed and then they would just go. And it'd be fully packed again, so it's just this beautiful, like, window and wave. It flowed like a beach, it just flowed like water, and we just really love to see people and send them off to bon voyage. Great travels.
Dan Pashman: About two years after she started, Tiffany got promoted to Beverage Director. Under her direction, the bar at One Flew South became known as one of the best airport bars in the world. And the restaurant was nominated for multiple James Beard Awards.
Dan Pashman: Are there a couple of cocktails that you featured there that stick in your memory? Some of your favorites?
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah, I got a couple of favorites that I remember. I did a sake vodka cocktail. It was a play on a classic Vesper. The Vesper is usually a equal part cocktail vodka and gin with some vermouth. And I wanted to change it up and give it some kind of Asian influence. So I mix it with sake instead. It was just a really light, fun sake cocktail, that wasn't a sake-tini, which people loved. There is a fun drink that I made that was all yellow. I created it because everybody was really gloomy, that one week travel was just awful and weather was bad. And I'm like we need color. We need variety. We need ... We need something that hits the dining room and it makes people pop. I used some golden beets in this drink. Everything in the cocktail was yellow: lemon juice, beets, yellow chartreuse, St. Germain elderflower, and I used some gin. And I called it the "Yellow Brick Road". Oh, I have another drink called "Arrival Time". People saw it and they're like, "I gotta have it." It was tequila. There was thyme inside
Dan Pashman: I love tequila and thyme.
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS] I'd love to drink it now. A thyme syrup. Well, thyme infused with agave, Campari, lime juice, Reposado. And just a bar spoon of orange liqueur and it was just bright and herbaceous and boozy — and red, and a big sprig of thyme that just hung out of it and so people love to chew on that.
Dan Pashman: That sounds really good.
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: As Tiffanie became more established at One Flew South, she also started entering bartending competitions. These are events where bartenders show off their skills and creativity. Often the contests are sponsored by a liquor company, so bartenders have to work with a specific spirit. And these competitions can be intense.
Tiffanie Barriere: They want to see the wheel reinvented five times and you got to get creative and you not only have to get creative in a glass, you've got to get creative with your presentation and you win money. I've seen everything from $1,000 to $100,000 in wins. I've seen cars. I've seen bikes. I've seen trips. [LAUGHS] And my first competition, I bombed pretty hard.
Dan Pashman: What what happened?
Tiffanie Barriere: I just was not prepared. I thought you just make a drink in front of people like you're at a bar. [LAUGHS] And my competitors were using, like, beautiful stemware, and they also had a presentation. And I, at the time, just thought you just win by getting up there and making a good drink. And it was way more than that.
Dan Pashman: So the second competition you enter, what happens?
Tiffanie Barriere: I came with it hard.
Tiffanie Barriere: I came with it. I watched the person ... [LAUGHS] I watched the person who won the previous competition and I saw everything from a tray and polished glassware and snacks and a recipe card. And I believe she had aromatics, like an incense burning. And I was like ... Ohh.
Dan Pashman: Oh my gosh.
Tiffanie Barriere: I was like, wait, so wait .. wait, we can like do a thing, thing, thing?
Dan Pashman: Right. [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: And I'm a woman that loves detail. And I'm like, oh, we're going. We're doing this.
Dan Pashman: Right. [LAUGHS] So what did you do for that second competition? Do you remember what you made?
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah, it was — wow. It was a Four Roses bourbon competition. The story of Four Roses is beautiful. It's a romantic story about, you know, the guy who created Four Roses and had a crush on this woman and he hit on her for forever and she always turned him down. And then in his final ask, he said, "If you come to the ball, I know you'll be with me, but if, when you come, wear a rose," and she did, but she wore a few. So I made the drink that I thought she drank at the ball.
Dan Pashman: That's good.
Tiffanie Barriere: Oh yeah.
Dan Pashman: That's a good story.
Tiffanie Barriere: I brought it in because everyone was talking about the brand and talking about, you know, Mr. Jones and everybody was just going in about the brand, which I did. But then I ...
Dan Pashman: Right.
Tiffanie Barriere: After I did that, I said, "But what about her?", and let's just imagine her coming down and let's imagine them, you know, connecting in that, you know, Cinderella moment. And imagine her going to the bar and this is what the bartender serving. So I created this, rosemary and cherry Old Fashioned.
Dan Pashman: Ooh. Oh my God. It was, it was, rosemary in a drink.
Tiffanie Barriere: It was just — I mean, it was just fresh. It was so simple, but so good. I had fresh rosemary stem, which you know, the essence of rosemary is just — as soon as it touches something, it bleeds in. Rosemary, some cherries, some bitters — Patio bitters from back in New Orleans. It was called Rosie Cheeks. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Nice.
Tiffanie Barriere: Oh yeah, so I started connecting me and like this, just where do I — where can I get in there? I did what I — what I've always wanted to do at the bar. But I did it on like on showboat style. Like, and that's what competing is all about.
Dan Pashman: So how did you do in that second competition?
Tiffanie Barriere: I placed first, I won. [LAUGHS] I won. I redeemed myself. I brought it in. And when they said my name, I was like, okay, it's on now. And I couldn't stop competing after that. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: These competitions helped Tiffanie connect the craft of making cocktails with the history and storytelling of cocktail culture. And when Tiffanie leaned into that, she began to catch the attention of the renowned food journalist Toni Tipton-Martin. Coming up, Tiffanie makes her first cocktail for Toni, and does not get the reaction she was hoping for. Stick around.
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful. I'm Dan Pashman. Hey, is there someone in your life who loves cascatelli? I mean, you could also be that person. Either way, there's good news! We now have cascatelli posters that I signed in our merch store. You can buy the poster solo, or as part of a bundle with two boxes of cascatelli. We also have t-shirts, onesies, even Sporkful wrapping paper. Everything you need for Sporkful and or cascatelli lover in your life this holiday season. You can find it all at sporkful.com/merch.
Dan Pashman: And if you are looking for some inspirations for Thanksgiving dinner, stay tuned to the end of this episode. I'm gonna talk with Chef Darnell Reed about some southern and cajun dishes, that he loves that get a ton of flavor and depth, thanks to Tony Cachere’s creole seasoning.
Dan Pashman: Okay, back to my conversation with Tiffanie Barriere. In 2016, after seven plus years running the bar at One Flew South, Tiffanie left her job. It wasn’t an easy decision.
Tiffanie Barriere: I truly wanted to stay with the company and do other things, but it didn't go out that way. I think it was a mutual — I don't think it was mutual. [LAUGHS] I left pretty, pretty upset.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: It was not mutual. [LAUGHS] I'm trying to soften this blow really quick. But ...
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Tiffanie says that when she was working there, she could see that the restaurant was doing brisk business.
Tiffanie Barriere: I just wanted a slice of it since myself and my team and my chef and his team were the yoke of it all. I was like, we should be getting more money than this. Like I just don't want tips. I don't just want publications. I don't want awards. I want a piece of this. Being the creative director at this point or just being a part of, you know, ownership in the building. I really wanted that and that wasn't the conversation.
Dan Pashman: So you left.
Tiffanie Barriere: Bounced.
Dan Pashman: And where did you go? What happened next?
Tiffanie Barriere: I cried for a couple of weeks. I tried to figure out what I was going to do.
Dan Pashman: After a while, Tiffanie began thinking back to when she was working at One Flew South. A friend there would watch Tiffanie serve guests, and saw how she was always sharing something: a tip for drinking it, a bit of history or context about one of the ingredients. The friend told Tiffanie, "You’re like a coach. A Drinking Coach.".
Dan Pashman: At first, this idea that Tiffanie was a drinking coach was sort of an inside joke between friends. But now, Tiffanie would put that name to use and strike out on her own. Today, As The Drinking Coach, she teaches people about bartending techniques, cocktail history, and just how to make incredible and creative drinks. She makes cocktail menus for pop-up dinners, she hosts mixology classes at corporate events and workshops, and she works with brands on cocktail recipes.
Dan Pashman: Now, I had never heard of a drinking coach before, but as soon as I did, I thought, "I could probably use some coaching."
Dan Pashman: You're a drinking coach, Tiffanie, right? You're the drinking coach. Right now, with your permission, I'd like to engage you in a little lightning round.
Tiffanie Barriere: Let's do it.
Dan Pashman: I'm going to ask you to be my drinking coach.
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: You ready?
Tiffanie Barriere: Okay.
Dan Pashman: I'm going to name a scenario, and I want you to tell me what drink you suggest. Ready?
Tiffanie Barriere: Let's do it.
Dan Pashman: We're going through the seasons here. First off, winter. It's a Tuesday night. You had a long day at work. You're finally sitting down on the couch to watch some TV. What are you mixing?
Tiffanie Barriere: It's Tuesday, right?
Dan Pashman: Tuesday. Yeah.
Tiffanie Barriere: Taco Tuesday. So, we're going to tequila.
Dan Pashman: Okay.
Tiffanie Barriere: We're bringing tequila out of the margarita space. And we're going to do a split base tequila Old Fashioned with Blanco and Reposado, equal parts, a little bit of agave, heavy on the ango.
Dan Pashman: Angostura bitters.
Tiffanie Barriere: Angostrua bitters. If you've got some chocolate bitters around, we're gonna do that. Two dashes of ango, two dashes of chocolate, some agave, stir that nice and cold — big rock, orange.
Dan Pashman: Oh, I feel like I feel like I can taste that.
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: That's like ...
Tiffanie Barriere: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: All right. Very ... That's very ... That sounds amazing. All right. Next one. Ready, Tiffanie?
Tiffanie Barriere: That was .. Phew. That was hard.
Dan Pashman: All right. Spring. It's a Thursday in the early evening. We just changed the clocks. So it's one of those first evenings where it's light out later. Early spring. It was kind of a warmish day, but now it's cooling. It's cooling off, but the sun's still out.
Tiffanie Barriere: Wow. I'm visioning this day.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: Wow. Okay. It's the first day the clocks have changed. We're going to be outside. We're going to sit on the porch. It's not too hot yet. It's gorgeous. Let's do something fun. Let's do like a gin cocktail with some grapefruit, maybe some fun syrup that we've got around. And you know, we've had some beers left over in the fridge. Why don't we put this over ice and top it with our favorite beer?
Dan Pashman: On top of the cocktail?
Tiffanie Barriere: On top of the cocktail. Yes. So what's gonna happen, as soon as that beer is poured over ice the effervescence gonna calm down. But it's gonna be tasty. It's gonna be boozy, but [Dan Pashman: Yeah.] we're watching the sunset, like this is good. This is ...
Dan Pashman: Right. [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: We're waving to the neighbors right here. Like this is a good ...
Dan Pashman: All right, summertime, Saturday night. It's nighttime, but it's the middle of the summer, so it's still — it's still warm. Even though it's dark out, it's kind of muggy, humid. What are we drinking?
Tiffanie Barriere: I don't want any judgment from anyone. I don't want any judgment on this.
Dan Pashman: This is a no judgment zone here, Tiffanie.
Tiffanie Barriere: What's wrong with a good old Long Island iced tea?
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: So when I say that — I know. I know, but just follow me here. We do like a half ounce of each. Vodka, rum, gin, something orange, and tequila, right? So we're — we're still like in the three ounce era here. We do a fresh lime, a fresh lemon. We shake it up and we just splash, not Coca Cola, maybe some cranberry. We're fun. We're giggly. We're free. We're safe. We're sharing this. We're laughing. And we just like jump back to the past with even a better taste with a good long island iced tea. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Okay. All right. Final season in the lightning round. You're doing great, Tiffanie.
Tiffanie Barriere: Okay. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Final season is the fall where we find ourselves today. It's a Sunday afternoon. It's sunny. It's cool, but not cold. What are we drinking?
Tiffanie Barriere: Ooh. This is where I am right now. We're getting in there [Dan Pashman: Yeah.] because this is one of my favorite times to make cocktails because the flavor profiles are just so warm and fuzzy, but we're jumping in the rum category. We're getting into aged rum, which brings out so much caramel and so many baking spices.
Dan Pashman: It's so good.
Tiffanie Barriere: It's so ...
Dan Pashman: Yes.
Tiffanie Barriere: Soo good. And let me tell you, if you sip a nice over eight-year-old rum neat with a cold apple cider, whether it's non alcoholic or not, these pair perfectly. I'm telling you.
Dan Pashman: So separately. Separately, but like the apple cider is a chaser.
Tiffanie Barriere: Yeah. Yeah. We're doing a whole like old school style. If you can see my style, I like it simple and fun.
Dan Pashman: Yes.
Tiffanie Barriere: But having a nice rum on the side? Just, you know, we're sipping. The game is on or what not. It's Sunday. We're hanging out.
Dan Pashman: I love that.
Tiffanie Barriere: Sipping neat is one of my favorite things to do. Sipping neat is just really enjoying. You’re not jumping in. When we were younger, we did shots and stuff like that. And you sip neat, you really have a chance to really appreciate it.
Tiffanie Barriere: But when you pair it with something nice and cold or effervescent, it really takes your palate on a journey.
Dan Pashman: Along with her work as The Drinking Coach, Tiffanie has also been using her platform to tell stories of African-American cocktail and drink history, stories that get left out of a lot of cocktail books. On Instagram, she’s written about Juniper Evans, a master cidermaker born on Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, and about Bertie Brown, a bootlegger who made Moonshine during Prohibition.
Dan Pashman: Tiffanie also began to connect with other storytellers, like the esteemed food journalist Toni Tipton-Martin, who wrote the book The Jemima Code. Toni's been highlighting the historical contribution of Black chefs and cooks in America for many years.
Dan Pashman: In 2015, around the time Tiffanie was getting ready to leave One Flew South, she attended the inaugural Soul Summit, a conference about African-American foodways on Juneteenth weekend, founded by Toni Tipton-Martin. Tiffanie was asked to make one of the drinks for the event.
Tiffanie Barriere: I called it the "Bayou Sour". It was a play on the Trinidad Sour, a classic cocktail that comes from Trinidad and Tobago. It is a heavy bitter cocktail. Usually you see in cocktails, just a couple of dabs of bitters. I used an ounce and a half of bitters in this drink. It was Peychaud Bitters out of New Orleans, a Haitian recipe, which was aromatic bitters with a lovely touch of cherry. So it was red.
Dan Pashman: Of course, red drinks are a tradition for Juneteenth celebrations.
Tiffanie Barriere: I was batching this red drink back in the prep room and, and Toni walked by me and she said, "You're making a red drink?" And I said, "Yes. Yes ma'am.", and she just kind of shrugged and walked away, and I was like, oh my gosh. I should have done some, you know, stirred and boozy. I should have been bartendery.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Tiffanie Barriere: And here I am with some simple drink with bitters and cane syrup and rum. I just felt — I thought it was very simple and she didn't really say much about it. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Tiffanie spent years thinking about Toni’s reaction to her cocktail, convinced that Toni was somehow disappointed with it. Then she met Toni again at the James Beard Awards
Tiffanie Barriere: She introduces me to someone and says, "This is Tiffanie, who I was telling you about." And I'm like, oh. [LAUGHS] And she says, she made this — and she described my drink to the detail. She's like, "She made this amazing drink for Soul Summit that was like Haitian, but Creole ..., " and, you know, she just — she read my drink to me and her eyes were just sparkling and my eyes were sparkling. And that just — I mean, talk about my heart just filling up like, Toni Tipton Martin sees me. And we had a great night that night. Good champagne and dancing. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Tiffanie also began to contribute to Toni's books. First, to the acclaimed book Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African-American Cooking, and then to Toni’s new book, Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs & Juice: Cocktails From Two Centuries Of African-American Cookbooks. Tiffanie worked with Toni to help decode and modernize cocktails from decades and centuries years ago.
Tiffanie Barriere: I was able to really just connect her to this world I'm involved in. You know, back in the days, recipes were written very, very basic in the way they describe them. It's kind of like a chef, you know, a cookbook, a pinch here, a drop there. And in beverage, we saw things like, a lump of ice. Like what's a lump of ice? Like how big is that?
Dan Pashman: Right. [LAUGHS]
Tiffanie Barriere: We saw, you know, a pony of, you know, vermouth. What's a pony?
Dan Pashman: Turns out a pony is not a pony sized serving of liquor, which I think we can agree would be too much. It’s an ounce. Working with Toni on her latest book, their relationship deepened. And now, Tiffanie's working on her own book, all about color in cocktails, the way the color of ingredients in a cocktail can affect the taste, but also affect how you feel about a cocktail. And the book will also highlight the contributions of People of Color in the spirit and cocktail world.
Dan Pashman: So Tiffanie’s star continues to rise. This past September, the International Association of Culinary Professionals announced a new award, the Toni Tipton-Martin Award, or TTMA, which provides a grant and mentorship to an emerging food writer. Toni got onstage during the ceremony to present the winner of the award,
CLIP (TONI TIPTON-MARTIN): So it is my pleasure and honor to introduce the first recipient of the TTMA, Tiffanie Barriere. [APPLAUSE] Many of you know that Tiffanie and I have been working together since we met many years ago at a Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. Our friendship has grown, and our professional relationship is the ultimate expression of reciprocal mentorship. With this grant, it is possible that the next voice you hear on the subject of Black Booze will belong to Tiffanie Barriere. Congratulations Tiffanie. [APPLAUSE]
Tiffanie Barriere: I mean, whoa, whoa, from Toni Tipton-Martin. A full circle, full circle moment that, you know, she saw me. She's been listening to me. She's also attentive to this beverage industry and the Black beverage industry and the impact that it has on on on this industry. And for her to give it to someone, her first one, to — for it to be a recipient that's not in food, but in beverage.
Tiffanie Barriere: I want to curse right now Holy shit, that's massive. we deserve just as much space as the culinary world, because we are liquid culinarians, too. We are just as creative. We have a story and we've been drinking forever.
Dan Pashman: That’s Tiffanie Barriere. She says she’ll be using the grant money from the Toni Tipton-Martin Award to work on her book. You can find her on Instagram @TheDrinkingCoach. And if you’ll be breaking out your card table bar for the holidays, Tiffanie's got a cocktail for you. It’s called "Flannel Weather". It has tequila and chai and cider. Oh my god. It sounds so good. We're gonna put the recipe on our Instagram page, @TheSporkful, and the afore mentioned newsletter, which you can subscribe to at sporkful.com/newletter, that way you'll also know when my pasta and signed cookbook go on sale.
Dan Pashman: Next week on the show, I head to the restaurant Enoteca Maria. It was opened by Jody Scaravella, a second-generation New York Italian. At first, he invited Italian grandmothers to cook in the restaurant. But soon, word got around, and now, the chefs are from all over the world — and they are all grandmothers. That’s next week.
Dan Pashman: And while you’re waiting for that one, check out last week’s show, from our friends at the podcast Proof, from America’s Test Kitchen. They report on the five year quest to create a battle-ready pizza, one that can last for years in a military environment. That one's up now, check it out.
Dan Pashman: All right, so we're in the Luella’s kitchen. This is where the magic happens.
Dan Pashman: I love Cajun flavors, so when I started writing my pasta cookbook, I knew I wanted some of those spices in there. That led me to collaborate on several recipes with Darnell Reed. He’s the chef and owner at Luella's Southern Kitchen in Chicago.
Dan Pashman: On a recent trip to Chicago. I stopped by the restaurant so Darnell and I could test two dishes together. Both of these recipes call for a big helping of Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning. Tony's makes everything taste great, but you'll especially love it in Darnell's dishes.
Darnell Reed: So this is the vegan dirty Orzo. You have some beyond meat, some roasted mushrooms. We serve it in a restaurant, vegetarian or vegan, either one. But when we do it, it's dirty rice. But because we were talking about the pasta book, I thought Dirty Orzo, I like this one better than traditional dirty rice now, by the way too. I like this more than I like the pork version.
Dan Pashman: Really? why?
Darnell Reed: And I even tell customers that. I think it's the mushrooms, honestly, case I roast the mushrooms and everything.
Dan Pashman: Tony's Creole seasoning isn’t spicy, it just adds tons of flavor. It’s like all the flavors you could want, together in one shaker.
Dan Pashman: All right, dirty ice with orzo going in. This is so good. I love how peppery it is.
Dan Pashman: Next up we're trying Darnell's Cajun Crawfish Carbonara, made with my own cascatelli. Darnell's restaurant, Luella’s, was the first restaurant in America to put cascatelli on its menu, and they used it in this very dish. I love the idea of taking a classic carbonara and just giving it this major delicious twist, adding crawfish and Tony's creole seasoning.
Darnell Reed: So we have the cascatelli, we have the guanciale, we have the crawfish. I mean, your egg whites, your egg yolks, your cheeses, a little garlic shallot going on.
Dan Pashman: I've actually never watched carbonara made before my very eyes.
Darnell Reed: Okay. So basically, you using the heat of the pasta to kind of make your sauce. It's kind of a pan sauce, you could say. The sauce is made from the richness of the eggs. So you go a little heavier on the yolks than you do the whites, which we're gonna do, and then you have your cheeses. I have a little Parmesan and Romano.
Dan Pashman: Then you add the Tony's creole seasoning.
Darnell Reed: So this'll be the guanciale, which like ou may not always be able to find that. So I will say you use panchetta, if you can't find it.
Dan Pashman: I feel like the consistency of the sauce is perfect.
Darnell Reed: Thank you.
Dan Pashman: Because it's creamy but not heavy.
Darnell Reed: Yeah. Yeah.
Dan Pashman: It has a nice thickness and a nice mouth feeling and it sticks to the pasta. But like, I feel like I could eat this all day and not be — and not feel like blurg. Days like this, I don't regret my job, Darnell.
Darnell Reed: Oh, yeah ...
Dan Pashman: You'll have to wait until my cookbook comes out for these exact recipes, but I'm happy to tell you that Tony's has similar dishes on their website that are perfect additions to your Thanksgiving table. There's dirty rice stuffing, or dressing, and a crawfish fettuccine that might just make you forget mac and cheese was on the menu.
Dan Pashman: So, “Tis the Seasoning” for your favorite holiday dishes! Whether you’re cooking turkey, Tofurkey, ham, beef, dirty orzo, or crawfish carbonara, the best bite you’ll taste this holiday season is the one seasoned inside and out with Tony Chachere’s.
Dan Pashman: For more than 50 years, Tony’s has remained family owned and operated, carrying on the tradition of authenticity and flavor through its line of Creole seasonings, marinades, dinner mixes, and more.
Dan Pashman: All of Tony’s flavorful products are available at tonychachere.com.