This Bartender-Fronted Band Released Their Album With a Cocktail for Each Song
It’s tough to stand out in today’s saturated media landscape. That’s true for all of us, but it’s especially true for musicians, for whom even the best production, publicity and booking is often little match for the sheer volume of acts they’re competing against for attention. Andrew Carroll and his band mates in The Lonely Wild knew what they were up against when preparing the launch their new record, Chasing White Light, and that’s before you even take into consideration that the album is largely about death. So, in the face of a difficult challenge and a heightened awareness of mortality, Carroll turned to a time-honored solution: drink.
If you’re picturing Carroll alone at a table in a dimly lit kitchen with a bottle in front of him – that’s not quite what we mean. Rather, the singer — also an accomplished bartender who works at Kendall’s Brasserie, part of the Patina restaurant group in Los Angeles — decided to make a cocktail companion guide, with a drink inspired by each song on the record.
“I was talking with my manager in the band and we were like, we have the music and videos, but how can we reach people and get them to connect with this music on a level other than the visual and the aural?” Carroll says. “I’ve been making drinks for a long time, and we thought it would be cool to have a drink that’s married to each song in some way. So I did some experiments.”
Carroll considers naming the hardest part of making cocktails, so he cut himself a break and decided to name each cocktail after the song it was made to pair with.
“[With] some of it, I was just having fun with it,” he says. “And some of them, it was more based around the title itself. What is this word itself? How would I embody a drink called ‘Snow’? Others were about the content — a bittersweet song, for example. Using your brain in a synesthetic sort of way — how does that sound, what flavor would it evoke? Some of it was the mood, some of it was the title.”
“Snow,” Chasing White Light’s driving, horn-blasted opener manifested itself as an absinthe-based egg-white cocktail shot through with fresh mint and mint bitters from Fee Bros., its frothy texture reminiscent of the track’s ebullient drumming and rich vocal harmonies.
“The perfect way to kick things off!” the cocktail companion reads. Carroll’s notes on his libations hint at both the seriousness with which he took the project and the playfulness that colors much of cocktail culture. “Strawberries and Aperol color the drink blood red. Happy hunting,” say the notes accompanying a track called “Hunted.” Elsewhere, a trio of bitters in a cocktail called “Scar” hint at Carroll’s thought process around trying to express sentiments and sounds with flavors. Sometimes the associative baggage different spirits carry with them does the work for him. The instructions for a track titled “Funeral” simply call for a double shot of Irish whiskey or a glass of champagne (“Mourn a loss, or celebrate a life.”) and the drinking companion for “Free From Harm” is simply “a glass of red wine, consumed at the end of the day, when the kids are put to bed.”
The playful tone of the cocktail companion is reminiscent of what you might call an industry-wide cheekiness, that winking quality in the naming of a drink or that dash of something lighthearted that gives the whole experience a hint of whimsy. For Carroll, adding this element to the process of promoting an album that was largely inspired by feelings surrounding the death of a loved one made approaching those themes a little easier.
“You get into [the cocktail] culture and meet these people, and they have tattoos and they’re young a hip. They have a lot of fun with what they do. I think it’s [similar to] the celebrity chef culture, making something high culture approachable for a broader audience,” he says. “The record itself is a little bit more sober in tone and a little bit more heavy. This is a way for me to approach this a little more lightheartedly.”
Aside from his own albums, Carroll has a few favorite pieces of music to drink to. “Listen to Coltrane or Miles Davis with red wine in the evening,” he advises. “Jazz is one of the best for chilling and having a cocktail. I think, a lot of times, nothing that’s too attention-grabbing. You want something that’s going to compliment your mood.” And of course, “If you’re at a music festival, beer.”
Want to try The Lonely Wild’s song-and-cocktail combos at home? Stream the album below for a preview, and order a copy of the record, along with its cocktail companion, here.
CHASING WHITE LIGHT COCKTAIL COMPANION
We’re starting this trip off right with a snowy-white cocktail based around absinthe. Egg white gives this drink a little froth, and makes it double as a breakfast beverage. The perfect way to kick things off!
- ½ oz La Clandestine Absinthe
- ½ oz Miller’s Gin
- ½ oz lemon juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- 1-2 drops Fee Bros. Mint Bitters
- Splash of soda
- lemon peel
- mint leaves
Shake egg whites until foamy. Add ice and ingredients, and shake. Strain over ice into a collins glass. Top with soda. Drop mint bitters into the egg foam. Garnish with mint leaves and a lemon twist.
The Douglas Fir and Bay Leaves in St. George’s Terroir Gin gives this cocktail a woodsy-forest feel. The strawberries and Aperol color the drink blood red. Happy hunting.
- 1 ½ oz St. George Terroir Gin
- ½ oz Earl Grey simple syrup (recipe below)
- ½ oz Aperol
- ½ oz lemon juice
- 2 strawberries
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
Earl Grey Simple Syrup:
Boil two cups of water. Add two Earl Grey tea bags and let steep for one minute. Remove tea bags and add one cup of sugar. Mix sugar until dissolved. Set aside and let cool until room temp.
Muddle the strawberries and rosemary in a cocktail shaker. Pour gin, simple syrup, aperol and lemon juice into shaker. Add ice and shake for about 20 seconds. Double strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Three types of bitters blended with sweet bourbon and Byrrh makes this cocktail the perfect companion to bitter-sweet memories.
- 1 ½ oz Elijah Craig 12 year Bourbon
- ½ oz Byrrh
- 3-4 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 2-3 dashes Fee Bros. Black Walnut bitters
- 1-2 dashes Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate bitters
- Luxardo Maraschino cherry
In a mixing glass, stir all ingredients with ice for about 20 seconds. Strain into old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.
In many cultures, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility. And kids love punch! (Don’t serve this punch to kids).
- 1 ½ oz of vodka OR 3 oz champagne
- 60 oz bottle of pomegranate juice
- 16 oz water
- 8 oz simple syrup
- 8 oz lemon juice
- 2 bunches of mint leaves
Blend all ingredients into a punch bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steep in mint leaves for at least 1 hour. Pour vodka or champagne over ice into a collins glass. Top with punch. Garnish with a mint leaf.
A cocktail with a kick. The coffee will keep you running.
- 1 oz Jameson
- 1 oz espresso
- ½ oz House Spirits Coffee Liqueur
- ½ oz creme de cacao
- 2 oz Guinness
- 2-3 drops Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters
Pour whiskey, coffee, and liqueurs into shaker over ice. Shake for about 20 seconds. Strain into cocktail coupe. Float with Guinness. Drop chocolate bitters into the Guinness foam.
Mourn a loss, or celebrate a life.
- A double shot of Irish Whiskey.
- A glass of champagne.
A brief palate-cleanser
- 8 oz lemon sorbet
- 5 oz Prosecco
- 3 oz Tito’s Vodka
- grated lemon zest
- 1-2 drops orange blossom water
Throw all ingredients into blender and puree. Pour into 8 double-shot glasses.
"Into Their Mouths"
These blistering guitar tones and sun-scorched sounds blend perfectly with a spicy tequila cocktail.
- 1 ½ oz Fortaleza Blanco Tequila
- ½ oz Ancho Reyes
- ½ oz blood orange juice
- ½ oz lime juice
- ½ oz agave syrup
- blood orange peel
Shake all ingredients with ice for about 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a blood orange peel.
"Free From Harm"
Calm your nerves. We’re in the home-stretch.
A glass of red wine, consumed at the end of the day, when the kids are put to bed.
"Chasing White Light"
We’re coming full circle--another touch of Absinthe may have you seeing glowing, white tunnels of light.
- 1 ½ oz Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee White Whiskey
- ¼ oz Salers Gentiane
- ¼ oz La Clandestine Absinthe
- ¼ oz simple syrup
- lemon peel
- Seabold Ginger Beer
- Angostura Bitters
Chill an old fashioned glass with ice. In a mixing glass, stir white whiskey and Salers Gentiane with ice for about 20 seconds. Dump the ice from the old fashioned glass, and rinse with absinthe. Strain the cocktail into the chilled, absinthe rinsed old fashioned glass. Express the oil from the lemon peel, and wipe the glass with the peel. Discard the lemon peel. Pour ginger beer into separate glass with ice. Stir in a 2-3 drops of Angostura Bitters.
You made it. Raise a glass.
Your favorite pint shared with friends.