On this episode of “Cocktail College,” host Tim McKirdy breaks down the Espresso Martini with Lauren Paylor. It’s a cocktail that has been trending in recent years despite first being made back in the ‘80s. What might be some reasons for the Espresso Martini’s rise in popularity? Paylor shares why the drink is so versatile and how you can incorporate different base spirits into it — not just vodka. And if you’re making a cocktail with the word “espresso” in it, does actual coffee need to be incorporated into the recipe? Tune in to learn more.
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Lauren Paylor’s Espresso Martini Recipe
- 2 ounces vodka, such as Ketel One
- 1/2 ounce coffee liqueur, such as Mr Black
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake until cold and double strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with three chocolate-coated coffee beans.
CHECK OUT THE CONVERSATION HERE
Tim McKirdy: Hey, this is Tim McKirdy and this is the “Cocktail College” podcast. Today we are joined by Lauren Paylor. We are talking about the Vodka Espresso, or as it’s better known these days, the Espresso Martini. Lauren, welcome to the show.
Lauren Paylor: Hi. Thanks so much for having me. Excited to chat about all things the Espresso Martini.
T: And what a great time it is for this drink. This cocktail is absolutely having a moment these days, enjoying a second, if not third spell in the sun. We’re going to get into why we think that is. But before we do, let’s have a little refresher here. Can you start today by telling us what makes the Espresso Martini a notable cocktail? Can you maybe dive into some of the history –– known history –– of this drink for us?
The History Behind the Espresso Martini
L: Sure. In regards to its history, it has a relatively short history. It’s believed to have first been made in the early ’80s by a London bartender whose name is Dick Bradsell. According to this gentleman, a famous model entered the Soho Brasserie, where he worked and asked him to create a drink that would “wake them up.” That was really how it was started. I think for any of us, grabbing coffee or espresso, throwing it in a drink, is a rather easy thing to kind of integrate into what we do on a day to day. But at the time, any cocktail served in a V-shape glass was known as Martini. So it was later renamed the Espresso Martini. It very, very soon became a very popular drink. This resurgence that we’re experiencing now is quite interesting. And we’re seeing a lot of that, right?
L: I’m not exactly sure why that is. In the last two years, we’ve had a lot of time to spend placing ourselves in a position where we can appreciate these classic or modern classic cocktails. In every bar I go to it’s either on the menu or it’s something that’s offered, which I think is pretty awesome.
T: I’m seeing it everywhere these days, and I think it is so interesting. In terms of the modern-day popularity, I think we can dive into one or two different theories perhaps. Or just try and confirm the fact that it is trending. To wind back a second into the history there, I’m not sure how you feel about the second part of the quote or the supposed quote, “a drink that might wake them up,” and maybe we can bleep this out, but then “f*ck them up.” There’s this discussion over, “Oh, who is the model, who is the supermodel that asked for it?” A lot of people say it was Naomi Campbell or it was Kate Moss. I think it’s interesting that Dick never revealed who it was. I think that’s quite nice of him and also maintains the mystique of the drink. Again, this isn’t one where we’re like, “This is the year that it first appeared.” Most accounts say it was the early ’80s. I did look on Wikipedia earlier. If we are talking like ’83 or ’84, I think that Kate Moss would have been about 10 years old at the time, and Naomi Campbell would have been 15. So I think we can count them out of the running. What do you think?
L: I’d say so.
T: The drinking age is, of course, slightly younger over there than here in the States. But I think even 10 or 15 is a bit of a stretch.
L: Yeah. It’s always interesting. We can look at the story of the Tom Collins and how that was derived. And it’s always like, hmm, is this really the story associated with this cocktail? That’s kind of the beauty of it in that we’ll never really know.
T: Yeah, I like that. And I do like the fact that, as I said, Dick never revealed who that was. Just in terms of the story, but also the supermodel themselves. I don’t think that that’s something they want to be questioned about every time a journalist these days wants to write an article about the Espresso Martini, and they’d get a request for an interview. Do you remember this one random night in 1983 when you said something? I can’t remember what I said when I was at a bar last night. So I think that’s pretty tough.
L: Yeah, I hear you there. It is interesting, though. One of the most amazing things about these modern classics is that everyone’s doing them so differently. D.C. is such a melting pot in that there are so many cultures integrated into the types of bars and restaurants we have. I’ll go one place and there’s a spice-forward variation on the Espresso Martini or more of a modern classic of how it was originally developed and derived. Then I’ll go somewhere else and it’s completely different. So the versatility that you have utilizing those ingredients is quite nice.
T: This is something that we can dive into a little bit later as well. But one thing I find interesting is we’ve had these discussions in our editorial meetings here at VinePair. And some of our younger editorial staff, all fans of the Espresso Martini, have told us that the hack is that you should be doing tequila instead of vodka. I think that’s so interesting, too, because it speaks to the versatility that you’ve mentioned there, but also the fact that we’re basically just taking two things that are trendy and putting them together. Tequila is so popular and so is the Espresso Martini. We said, why is it perhaps trending again now? I think that the appearance of this cocktail is just timeless. This is the Instagram age, so maybe that comes into it.
L: Oh, yeah. That’s actually quite an interesting point to bring up. Maybe that was really one of the reasons why it came back. I mean, what are the identifying characteristics? It’s this really beautiful, frothy white head, three espresso beans — typically on top — and this gorgeous stemmed coupe or Nick & Nora glass. But it is quite gorgeous.
T: It really is. Another thing that I don’t think can be argued either is that this cocktail tastes great and it’s very approachable. It’s easy to get into. What are you looking for, Lauren, when you receive that Espresso Martini? If someone’s making one for you or you’re making it for yourself, what are you really looking to find in the glass?
L: It’s funny you ask this. I was thinking about this as I was preparing for this conversation and I was like, “What has been one of the best Espresso Martinis I’ve had?” And it made me realize, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad one, which is quite a nice thing to have. For me, I think the coffee and the espresso or whatever you are utilizing in that regard needs to be of good quality. There are so many options now, whether it be a product that you’re purchasing, a syrup that you’re making, or just fresh coffee or espresso that you’re utilizing. As we see with wine or any spirit, the flavors that we get from the coffee or the espresso will really provide a great opportunity to integrate complexity in the drink. You definitely want to be able to taste the coffee or espresso. I definitely want that velvety, silky, luscious texture in my cocktail. I don’t necessarily need a taste of vodka. I want a balanced beverage. For me, I think the perfect amount of balance with sweetness in particular is of the utmost importance. And then I’m all for a classic. So those three espresso beans on top will make me the happiest girl alive.
T: I am looking forward to chatting about the garnish later because I have some thoughts on that one. Just to reiterate there, you are looking for some sweetness from this, right? You’re not looking for a bone-dry drink. In certain aspects of mixology we have tended towards a drier style or maybe even a more sour style in certain cocktails. The Daiquiri comes to mind. But you are looking for some sweetness in this drink.
L: I think that sweetness plays two parts. It provides the cocktail with balance because the only other components you have are the espresso/coffee and the base spirit that you choose to utilize. If you’re using a rich simple, it will provide a really nice texture to the cocktail.
The Ingredients Used in the Espresso Martini
T: Wonderful. So let’s dive into those ingredients. Let’s start with, as you mentioned there, maybe not the most important thing in this drink, but it is the base spirit. And that’s vodka. What are you looking for personally? Are you just looking for something that doesn’t stand out at all? Do you have a go-to vodka that sticks out in your mind for this drink? Or do you perhaps utilize something that might be slightly flavored? I’ve had Skyy’s Coffee Vodka before, or maybe a vanilla vodka. What’s your opinion on the base spirit aspect of this drink?
L: There are a couple of options here. You can go traditional and definitely incorporate vodka. I really love a good distillate. There are so many amazing products out there that you can utilize if you are going to go the route of making some sort of variation. Really understanding what your base spirit is and the ways in which you can make those flavors in the base spirit more pronounced always work in your favor. But if you are going a more modern route, incorporating a rum is a delicious way to get some more complexity into that beverage, or even a split base. At the end of the day, the base spirit is serving a couple of purposes. Integration of flavor, depending on what you utilize, it is definitely assisting and helping with texture and the alcohol component for sure. Depending on that alcohol by volume that you have in your base spirit, the drink will obviously taste slightly different.
T: You mentioned rum there. How do you feel about another spirit, such as maybe tequila? I’m wondering whether blanco works, because this is something that we’re hearing, that it’s becoming popular. Or is that just a product of, these are two things that are trending, let’s put them together.
L: Agave is certainly trending. I had my agave-based Espresso Martini a couple of weeks ago for my birthday, and I was not mad at that at all. I was quite happy with it. And I think the fact that the bartender knew how to make adjustments to make this a serve that was delicious and balanced, really made me very happy.
T: And was that a blanco then? Are you aware of which style of tequila was used there?
L: They used an aged tequila, which I think works so beautifully. We’re thinking of coffee, right? We want more of those caramelized, darker notes that you’d get from barrel and those baking spices that complement a spice of coffee quite nicely. So I thought that was a good choice on their part.
T: Yeah, definitely. That’s where my mind went. If you are pouring a more affordable añejo, I think that might go great with some of that vanilla that you do pick up from the barrel. It will just work wonderfully with the rest of the ingredients. You were mentioning rum, too. Until this conversation, I’d never really considered whether this could be an aged spirit drink. But I think there’s definitely some factors that you can say, “Yeah, this would work really well.”
L: I really like using aged spirits in Espresso Martinis and it’s definitely a newer approach for me. I think one of the beautiful things about cocktail making, and I’m sure you can agree, is that we can push those boundaries and limits as long as at the end of the day, we’re serving something that is quite delicious.
T: If you’re to look at siblings, maybe not like a brother or sister of this cocktail, but definitely a cousin, we’re talking about the Irish Coffee. That’s a whiskey drink. No one’s really talking about the coffee as being something you should be adding just vodka to. I definitely think that makes a lot of sense. And then coffee liqueur is something we should explore next. I think both coffee liqueur and espresso that we’ll explore after are two very fascinating aspects of this drink. Because those are the two in my mind that have received a lot of modern upgrades, definitely compared to what was available or probably being mixed back in the early ’80s. But let’s start with that coffee liqueur. What’s your thinking when it comes to that aspect of the drink?
L: I’m definitely a huge advocate for consistency, especially in bar settings. You want to make a product that the first time your guest gets it and the next time they come in, they’re getting the same thing. So if a coffee liqueur is the way to do that, I say go for it. And there are some delicious ones on the market.
T: Are there any in particular that you would like to highlight? You don’t have to, of course. But are there any that, if you were going that route when you’re making this cocktail, you would reach for yourself?
L: Yeah, Mr Black is a beautiful product and I highly recommend utilizing it in your Espresso Martinis. It’s really easy to work with. As with anything we put in our cocktails, giving it a taste and then seeing what your proportions are respectively for the Espresso Martini, placing it in your drink, and then just playing with other base spirits and figuring out which approach works best for you.
T: So you definitely think this is one of these cocktails that falls into the camp of, you really need to pick one ingredient and then almost build the drink around that or understand how they’re all interacting together versus maybe some of those other ones where it’s a very defined formula and it’s putting your pegs in those holes?
L: Yeah. With any product that we’re utilizing, if we don’t have an understanding of how it’s being produced and made, how can we really serve the base spirit or any ingredient justice? What I’ve realized as I’ve bartended the last few years is that I like the challenge of really highlighting subtle flavors and ingredients and base spirits. And so treating modifiers in that same light is a really great way to approach cocktail making.
T: Very cool. Then for the espresso or fresh coffee aspect of this drink, do you prefer a freshly brewed espresso or are you looking for something more of a cold brew concentrate? Especially in a bar setting, where you can get that kind of consistency that you were mentioning earlier.
L: I think it’s consistency for me and utilizing good-quality products. Again, if that means using a modifier or a liqueur versus fresh espresso or cold brew, I’m OK with that personally.
T: And when it comes to service, say I was going down the route of making this with fresh espresso, this is something that I’ve always been curious about from not having that kind of professional bartending background. What are you thinking about when you’re pouring that freshly brewed warm drink into a shaker with ice? Are you adding the other ingredients to maybe bring the temperature down just a little bit before you go with the ice? How are you avoiding dilution there? That’s something I’m fascinated by.
L: Awesome. I think that’s a great question. One of the things that I like to do is to pour my espresso at the beginning of service so that I have my container full of espresso that I can utilize during service, but it is already cooled down. There are definitely instances and moments where, in bars past, I have brewed coffee or espresso to order and in those instances I’d place my tin over ice and let it cool down before placing it in my drink to avoid unnecessary dilution.
T: Got it. That sounds smart. It sounds like this is one of those things, too, where it’s similar to fresh lemon juice. This is something you’re happy with batching before service rather than trying to do an element for every order.
L: Yeah, for sure. With the Espresso Martini really being one of those cocktails that once one person sees it, you’re getting 20 orders after, you certainly want to make sure you have enough ready to go.
T: Yeah. No one wants to be caught off guard on that one, cleaning the espresso machine after every run, grinding your beans. I imagine this is not a drink that you want to get behind on in service.
L: Absolutely not. That is a good one to have ready.
T: And then what about the final component there, the sweetening agent? Is it a case of simple syrup? Might you go down a Demerara route? What are you thinking? What’s your specific approach for this drink?
L: Man, there’s so many options. If I’m going the base spirit of vodka route, I definitely want to use a rich simple or Dem. And then if I’m doing my aged tequila or rum, I might cut back by using a rich simple instead of a Dem that’s not as caramelized or not utilizing as much. Again, with that vodka, maybe utilizing the liqueur like Mr Black. With a rum, you don’t necessarily need that much caramelization, so just using fresh espresso with a little bit of sugar. It’s about making sure there’s balance and that you’re getting flavors from your base spirit and any other modifiers you’re integrating. So just ensuring that there is balance in that cocktail with whatever else you’re utilizing is of the utmost importance.
T: I don’t know if this does save me much time in any respect, but if I’m batching my espresso beforehand, is there a case to be made to straightaway add your appropriate amount of Demerara or simple syrup into that so it’s just one less movement during service? Or am I overthinking things here?
L: There are instances where you can certainly put all of your ingredients in a bottle. It depends, right? If I’m doing an event or a party, I would definitely put everything in one bottle before pouring it into my measuring cup or device to shake it. Just giving my bottle a good shake as we all acknowledge any syrup for anything that’s dense will definitely settle to the bottom of our bottles. So it’s really understanding, how do I ensure this cocktail is still as fresh as it can possibly be, and how do I ensure I’m giving my guests the best quality product they can get? I like the idea of pulling espresso every day. If I were to batch everything, I just make sure that we were in a position where we could refresh it every single day.
T: That sounds smart. Yeah, that’s great. Before we walk through making this drink, let’s talk about glassware and garnish. Firstly, the glassware. It’s interesting that you mentioned at the top that basically anything that went into the iconic V-shaped glass did just get the moniker “Martini.” Am I right in thinking that these days we will often see it more in a coupe- style glass, a more of a curved vessel, then than the classic V these days?
L: You know, I really like the way the V-shape looked. Maybe I’m just living my best Sarah Jessica Parker life. I don’t know. But I think you’re right in that it really does come in any stemmed glass that isn’t a wine glass: a Nick & Nora, a coupe, a coupette, a V-shaped glass. For a really long time, the V-shape glass was what was indicative of a Martini of any variation. But we all know the other elements that signify it’s an Espresso Martini. So I think the thing to take into consideration is, what type of glassware makes the most sense for what I’m serving?
T: So the V-shape glass would be your particular preference in an ideal setting there?
L: It depends on where I’m at. If I’m working at a sexy date night bar, maybe. But typically, for anything that is up, I will utilize a V-shape glass or a Nick & Nora.
T: That sounds great. And then finally, that trio of espresso beans. They’re just garnishing that lovely, pillowy white head. When I was approaching this recording, I had to think about it for a second. I thought, “Is this the most iconic garnish out there?” That’s a big statement, but I think there’s a case for saying that.
L: I mean, I can’t recall getting an Espresso Martini that did not have espresso beans in it. Most recently, one of the most fun Espresso Martinis I made had chocolate-covered espresso beans so that you could actually eat them. Because what a tease it is to have this garnish in your glass that looks quite delicious that you can’t even eat, right?
T: Yeah, that’s true. And I bet some folks, after maybe having one or two of these drinks, have tried.
L: I would not doubt it.
T: Those folks are not myself. Just for the record.
L: No, no, no.
How to Make the Espresso Martini
T: Lauren, imagine therefore you’re making this drink for us now. Let’s say it’s a classic version. If someone asked you for a classic version, but using your proportions, your ratios, your specs and your preferred glassware. Can you talk us through, from start to finish, what that process looks like,, those ingredients that you’re reaching for, and the ratios specifically?
L: Amazing. So if you’re making an Espresso Martini at home, this is how I would do it. I really enjoy using 50 milliliters of vodka (or 1.5 ounces of vodka of my choice Kirowa);10 milliliters of Mr Black Coffee liqueur (or 0.5 ounces of coffee liqueur). And then 10 milliliters of simple syrup (0.5 ounces of simple syrup). I’d shake that up and strain it into a V-shaped Martini glass that’s been chilled, and garnish with three chocolate-covered espresso beans.
T: So you’re not using any espresso, therefore.
L: I’m using the coffee liqueur. Mr Black. And again, I just really love the idea of ensuring that I’m serving a very consistent product every time and you know exactly what to expect.
T: Does that still yield those same results when it comes to that incredible texture that we’re looking for, that foam that it had on the top? Is that still something that you can get from a liqueur?
L: Absolutely. The key is to give it a really lovely shake and not one that is focusing too much on dilution. Imagine holding a shaker tin. And the idea is that I’m making an oval shape. I’m getting as much aeration into my tin as I can. What this really allows me to do, the same way I would shake an egg white cocktail without ice in the tin, is I’m really able to get all of my ingredients rotating in my tin in a way that allows me to strain my cocktail onto the glass with that nice, frothy head at the top.
T: Incredible. When it comes to the strain, are you just using the Hawthorne? Are you going for a double strain or you may be pouring half then topping up? Are there any techniques you can share there for ensuring this thing looks as great as it can? Because like I said, there’s a high chance this one’s going on Instagram of the drinker here.
L: Absolutely. If I’m working in the bar I’m double straining with a mesh and Hawthorn strainer. And if I’m making this for myself, I’m just straining it with a Hawthorn strainer. I really love ice chips in any Martini I’m making. I don’t know why. That’s just the thing I like personally. But again, we want to ensure that we’re in complete and total control of dilution. And in a bar setting, having those ice chips does not allow us to serve a consistent product. I’m placing myself in a position where I’m setting myself up for success and ensuring that the guest is getting the best quality product they can.
T: That’s amazing. And for your own preference, is this an after-dinner drink? Caffeine is in there. Is it something to start the night because it’s kind of heavy? Is this a brunch cocktail? Where’s the perfect home or when is the perfect home, I guess, for this Espresso Martini?
L: The Espresso Martini is the perfect cocktail for whenever you want to drink it. That’s my answer. It’s really easy to say, “Well, this is the perfect after-dinner drink.” Yes, if you order it after dinner. But if you order it before dinner, it’s the perfect drink for that moment, too. I find myself ordering it before dinner, during dinner, after dinner. It really just depends. I think one of the things to consider is, what are you eating and does it go well with what you’re eating? Is it appropriate for the setting and the mood? In that regard, you have endless options on how you can enjoy it.
T: Amazing. It speaks to that very wonderful, approachable, rounded profile that you spoke about, essentially making it very hard to create a bad version of this drink. But hopefully now, folks know how to make a very good version of this drink, thanks to yourself. Lauren, any final thoughts on the Espresso Martini? Any aspects of this cocktail that we haven’t covered?
L: One of the most important things about Espresso Martini, for anyone looking to make it in their home or in their bar, is finding what the beverage itself speaks to you and running with it. I’m really acknowledging the integration of craft that you can use to your advantage. I’ve seen Espresso Martinis that were fat washed and that gave it a beautiful body and texture. I’ve seen Espresso Martinis that did not integrate Dem or simple and had a spice-forward element. Not a spice like baking spice, but heat. So I think the world is your oyster in regards to how you approach making this drink, but having fun with it and really leaning into what the story is, is the way to go about making it.
T: That sounds great. It really reinforces, as I’m hearing it, your philosophy that this is one where you’ve maybe got to pick one or two anchoring ingredients and just work around those and dial in on those different ratios.
L: Yeah, absolutely.
T: But don’t be afraid to have fun.
L: Yeah, don’t be afraid of fun. Cocktail making should be fun and it should taste very good.
Getting to Know Lauren Paylor
T: Wonderful. Well, Lauren, how about we head into the final section of the show here with our five weekly recurring questions so that we can get to know ourselves as a bartender and a drinker a little bit more.
L: Sounds great.
T: Wonderful. Let’s kick this off with question No. 1. What style or category of spirit typically enjoys the most real estate on your back bar?
L: That’s a great question. I am a Cognac and rum lover. I know you asked for one, but I gave you two. Typically, what I find myself doing with any drink I make is split-basing with both of those spirits, and they equally have a huge place in my heart.
T: By the way, just speaking about the Espresso Martini, you hear two wonderful candidates for that there or with that split base. That sounds amazing. I want to try that version of this drink.
L: It’s so good. You should definitely try it.
T: Question No. 2: Which ingredient or tool is the most undervalued in a bartender’s arsenal?
L: I think the most undervalued tool is the Yarai mixing glass. When we consider ways in which we can create the most delicious and balanced beverages and consistent beverages — because we’ve talked about that a lot today as well — I’m a huge, huge advocate for stirring cocktails into a mixing glass or a Yarai and then straining them over a fresh piece of ice so that we’re in control of dilution when it comes to beverages.
T: Yeah, that dilution control is a topic that comes up so often in this show and something to always be wary of.
T: Question No. 3: What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received while working in this industry?
L: The most important piece of advice I’ve received is definitely to not be too hard on yourself. I personally am in a position and place where I certainly know that I still have a lot to learn. I’m very passionate about what I do. I really place a bit of stress on my shoulders to gain a better understanding of the ways in which individuals in other parts of the world make beverages. How they are going about serving their guests, are going about integrating their culture into the ways in which they do what they do on a day to day. We can’t know it all, but we can sure place ourselves in a position where we can know as much as we allow ourselves to delve into knowing. And be kind of yourself. This is supposed to be fun and exciting, and I think placing ourselves in a position where we can broaden our horizon and network and really just have fun with it makes this a really, really amazing experience.
T: Wonderful words, thank you for sharing. Question No. 4: If you could only visit one last bar in your life, what would it be?
L: Oh, my gosh, these questions. That’s so hard. One last bar in my life? I might be biased because I have worked at the Lion Bars, but Lyaness on Sunday night is one of my favorite experiences of a lifetime. They play amazing music. The staff there are just so talented and very welcoming, and the clientele that comes in is always looking to have a good time.
T: That’s a great one there. I just enjoyed listening to you say that because it’s something that comes up very often in this part of the show, too. Yes, great bars serve amazing drinks, but the things that we often remember most about them are those things like the guests, the staff, the music, and how all three are interacting. And also the general décor and the vibe of the place. That’s really what makes a bar. And the drinks have to be great, too.
L: I mean, let’s be honest. We may forget what we had to drink, but we don’t forget how people make us feel.
T: Yeah, absolutely. Lauren, final question for you today. If you knew that the next cocktail you drank was going to be your last, what would you order or make?
L: I would probably have an Espresso Martini, to be honest with you. Either that or an Old Fashioned. When I think of the perfect balance, and that could be food or drink pairing or just a cocktail in and of itself, it’s definitely an Old Fashioned or an Espresso Martini. Things with sugar, spirit, bitters. And not necessarily bitters like Angostura, but a bitter component — so that being the espresso or the coffee. It really is a cocktail that, depending on who is curating it and making it for you, is going to be slightly different, but still very familiar. And I think that’s why I like it so much.
T: It’s a real fun one to enjoy there. It’s your last cocktail.
T: Well, Lauren, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been a real blast chatting Espresso Martinis with you. I’m going to go and turn on the coffee machine myself here and get one running.
L: I’m going to beat you to it.
T: Thank you.
L: Thanks so much for having me.
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Now, for the credits. “Cocktail College” is recorded and produced in New York City by myself and Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director and all-around podcast guru. Of course, I want to give a huge shout-out to everyone on the VinePair team. Too many awesome people to mention. They know who they are. I want to give some credit here to Danielle Grinberg, art director at VinePair, for designing the awesome show logo. And listen to that music. That’s a Darbi Cicci original. Finally, thank you, listener, for making it this far and for giving this whole thing a purpose. Until next time.
Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.