Award-winning food writer and host Josh Ozersky goes on a spirited journey across the country, and back in time, to explore the science, anthropology, and history of alcohol. UNITED STATES OF DRINKING, a frothy new Smithsonian Channel special that looks at what we drink, where it comes from and how it’s made, premieres Thursday, November 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
In UNITED STATES OF DRINKING, Ozersky explores how culture, science and history all come together in some of America’s favorite drinks, including moonshine, distilled spirits, beer, wine, and cocktails. Along the way, he meets with some of America’s top moonshiners, brew masters, vintners, craft distillers and mixologists, and goes behind the scenes to deconstruct the process and sample their wares on his hunt for the quintessential American drink. He also checks in with growers, historians, lab scientists, and those masterfully skilled in the art of mixology.
“I spend a lot of time going around the country eating things, and talking to chefs and talking to bartenders and wine directors, and ranchers and seafood men, and line cooks and butchers”, says Ozersky. “My life consists primarily of eating, drinking and thinking about eating and drinking.”
Ozersky’s first stop is rural Virginia, where he helps distill traditional Appalachian moonshine from a 200-year-old recipe. Next he travels to Washington D.C.’s newest distillery, where National Museum of Natural History botanist Barrett Brooks gives him a lesson in the art and history of botanicals once used to make medicine, and are now used for flavoring gin.
At a microbrewery, Ozersky meets the in-house chemist who tends the “yeast farm” for craft beer, then he travels to a small vineyard in Virginia for a lesson in ultra-organic wine production. He finally brings it all together with award-winning mixologist and author Dave Wondrich to get schooled in the history and art of cocktail mixing.
Host Josh Ozersky won the James Beard Award for food writing and is the author of The Hamburger: A History. He is currently an editor at Esquire Magazine. Ozersky has appeared on the TV series Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Iron Chef America, and is the founder of the annual meat-themed culinary festival “Meatopia.”
THE UNITED STATES OF DRINKING is produced by Smithsonian Channel. David Royle, Charles Poe and Tim Evans serve as executive producers for the Channel.
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