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We Have a Drink with Steven Soderbergh

Ann Wycoff | August 30, 2019 | Food & Drink


He’s the force behind Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Magic Mike and more, and now director-producer Steven Soderbergh is navigating the bar business with his newfound love, Singani 63, a shimmering spirit made from the Muscat of Alexandria grape that’s grown at a cruel 5,250 feet in the Bolivian Andes. We caught up over Singani 63 cocktails at downtown speakeasy Room 56.

Tell us about Singani 63.
Ultimately, it’s the story of a surprise divorce. I’d been in a very long-term relationship with vodka that I didn’t anticipate would end. We were both every happy, but quite unexpectedly, I was introduced to singani at a party. This is why you should stay home if you don’t want your life to change. The good news is that I didn’t draw it out or pretend I wanted to stay in the relationship. I came clean immediately and decided singani was my new desert island spirit.

Describe it.
Floral, herbaceous, complex. There’s a peppery quality like agave, notes of elderflower, orange blossom and rose. Its finish is remarkably smooth.

How you prefer it?
On the rocks.

What’s unique about it?
There’s only one place in the world you can source it. And the legacy of this Bolivian spirit goes back almost 500 years.

Its greatest gift?
Spirits are a form of transportation and time travel. That’s what’s fun about them. You taste a spirit from a certain part of the world and you feel somehow that you are there.

Future plans?
Don Lucho, our luxury brand. A triple-distilled, bottle-service, sipping singani. It’s ridiculously good.

Are you hoping for a Casamgios-type fairy-tale ending?
My goal here is not to get bought out, but to get to a place where it becomes a sustainable business and Singani 63 is accepted and acknowledged as a new base spirit.

Where can San Diegans find Singani 63?
Juniper & Ivy, Ironside, George’s at the Cove and Hundred Proof.

Bottoms Up
We asked Soderbergh to play cocktail association with actors and characters from his films.

Erin Brockovich Whiskey.

Liberace Champagne, of course.

Sandra Bullock A simple American spirit like bourbon or whiskey, no-nonsense and unpretentious, like her.

Andie MacDowell A really good Brunello. That’s my favorite and she’d appreciate it.

Matt Damon Beer. He is so funny when he gets lit, but he has absolute recall even when blasted. This has gotten me into trouble.

Che Guevara He did not like to drink, nor did he like people who drank. But if he did, he drank wine cut with water, which no right-thinking person would ever do.

George Clooney When I was working with Clooney, he was an Absolut and soda drinker, but apparently all that time he was secretly a tequila drinker. However, Danny Ocean drank vodka and soda for sure.

Tags: spirits

Photography by: Jim Sullivan