Following a hugely successful UK tour and Edinburgh Festival run with their last hilarious show, The Thinking Drinkers took some time to answer a few questions;
1.Talk us through the themes of the show, an over view of what its all about, and some biog backgrounds please?
We are the Thinking Drinkers, two alcohol experts who began working life as journalists writing about top-class booze before swapping the page for the stage and turning our ‘expertise’ into a comedy theatre show in which each and every audience member gets five lovely (and free) drinks to enjoy. They also learn a lot, laugh a lot and leave with our “drink less drink better” rattling around their subconscious! This year’s show is called “thinking Drinkers Pub Crawl” – a hilarious, intoxicating bar-hop through time during which we visit a dazzling array of historic drinking establishments ranging from Ancient Greek symposiums with Plato and all the other Greek clever-clogs to Irish bars and James Joyce, Wild West Saloons with Clint Eastwood, the Gin Palaces of 18th England and a Venezuelan beach bar. At a time when pubs are closing at an increasingly alarming rate, and people are becoming more isolated in their screen-driven social lives, the show is a unashamed celebration of the pub – the lifeblood of Great Britain, heartbeats of our neighbourhoods and upstanding antidotes to loneliness. We need to keep our pubs alive because once they are gone…they are gone forever.
2.How do different audiences in different parts of the country react?
It’s fascinating how different the audiences are around the country. Crowds in bigger towns and cities tend to appreciate the more surreal moments of the show while the smaller towns tend to prefer the ba-boomtshhh gags. Obviously our Brexit material is a telling barometer of what’s going on up and down the UK. What unites everyone, however, is a passion for pubs – no matter where you are in the UK, everyone loves a great local.
3.Is there a regional drinking culture?
Yes, very much so. London is the only place in the UK that seems to have embraced kombucha and white port. Northerners love a head on their pint, Londoners less so – and we’re finding that wherever you go in the UK, you’re never that far away from a quality craft brewery or distillery at the moment. But everyone loves what we give them in the show – Lagunitas 12th of Never Pale Ale; Ketel One Vodka, Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin from Australia, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum.
4.Would the show work abroad?
Yes! People drink all over the world (apart from a few places) and alcohol has influenced every aspect of civilisation since the beginning of time. The reason monkeys turned into man is due to fruit naturally fermenting on the forest floor. The show has actually been performed in Spanish– we went and saw it in Madrid but didn’t understand what was going on. It’s like a different language.
5.Weirdest tipple you’ve ever tried?
In the French Alps, after eating too much fondue, we were served a bottle of eaux-de-vie with a dead snake inside. They said it was an aphrodisiac. It wasn’t.
6.Comment on the re birth of the British brewing culture – how do we know any of it is any good and not just hipster faddishness?
It’s not a fad because flavour can’t be a fad. In terms of character and aromas and flavour, there’s never been greater choice and there are some wonderful beers being brewed in Great Britain right now. But there are a lot of new beers that aren’t that good. Small doesn’t necessarily been beautiful. Consistency is often an issue – it’s easy to brew a good beer once but to consistently brew it brilliantly, time after time, is a lot trickier.
Also, in an attempt to stand out, a lot of breweries are going weirdier and wackier with their names and their styles. While it’s impressive to brew an industrial stout made with coffee beans that have passed through the digestive tract of a weasel, most people won’t want more than a pint. We prefer a balanced beer that we can enjoy all evening yet won’t render us full of regret the morning after.
7.Do you permanently have hangovers?
Oh no. We both have two children under the age of five. We simply can’t afford hangovers anymore. We had our fair share though and we know that there is no real cure out there. Water helps a bit. Sleep as well. Milk? That’s helped before. Prevention is probably the way forward – follows our motto “Drink Less Drink Better”.
8.Favourite cocktail and why? The cocktail that should never be drunk again?
The Martini. No other drink captures that moment, when the short arm strikes six….or indeed five if you’ve had a really horrible day, more magnificently. The Martini is unashamedly brazen in its booziness, a v-shaped salute to the tribulations, trudge and tyranny of modern life – and rightly considered as the king of the classic cocktails. No other cocktail captures the true character of a gin, or indeed vodka, more concisely than a Martini – gently laying botanicals bare and ruthlessly revealing the spirit’s flavour and, indeed, flaws. Keep it cold. As cold as possible. The shaker, the gin, the vermouth and the glasses. Everything. Freshness, as ever, is fundamental.
9.Can drinking stories ever be interesting?
Yes, they really can. Come to our show and we’ll prove it. It’s 90 fun and fascinating minutes of alcohol-inspired stories. Did we mention the five free drinks?
10.Wine snobbery – top tips to pretending you know what you are up to when quaffing wine?
Hold the glass at the stem, stick your nose in the glass and then mutter something that no-one else can hear. If you have a cravat, put it on. When a sommelier offers you a taste of wine to test, don’t taste it. Just smell it. You’re only checking if it’s been corked- not if it’s any good. If you meet another wine snob, always ask them about a wine that doesn’t exist. Chances are they’ve had it but don’t rate it.
The thinking Drinkers are still currently on tour and you can grab yourself some tickets to this unique and funny show here