Paul Feig, director of ‘A Simple Favor’, ‘Bridesmaids’, and various episodes of ‘Mad Men’, ‘Freaks and Geeks’, ‘The Office’, and ‘Arrested Development’ has a passion that extends beyond tickling people’s funny bones.
Last year, during the quarantine when people were seeking comfort and connection in reaction to the global pandemic, the director created cocktail videos which he shared on his Instagram – about 120 of them, proving he knew his stuff.
Another reason for the Paul Feig showing so much enthusiasm was that he’d just launched his own brand of gin – Artingstall’s – in February of 2020. The planned promotional work around his “brilliant London dry gin” was impossible.
Now back in the director’s chair for an upcoming film, ‘The School for Good and Evil’, Feig is still finding time for his drinks passion, and is finding time to talk gin and cocktails. Recently he sat down with both Cool Hunting and InsideHook.
Feig has been involved in every step of the process, “I have never been more drunk in my life than the day I had to finalize Artingstall’s,” he told Cool Hunting in a recent interview.. “We worked with eight different micro-variations. With a hint more grapefruit or orris root. I was so nervous, too. I knew I had to live with this for the rest of my life. You pour these glasses and you are taking tiny sips. Comparing eight times back and forth. Those little sips are turning into two martinis in your brain.”
Below are extracts from an interview Paul Feig gave with Inside Hook about his gin, in which he speak about cocktail recipes and why blue drinks are best.
InsideHook: You claim that you like gin but you “never met one you truly loved until you made your own.” What makes this unique?
Paul Feig: I’d been searching forever for the right gin. I had a flavor profile I wanted, and I knew what I didn’t want. We went through eight different variations and several rounds of testing to get it to exactly what I wanted it to taste like. Honestly, I’ve never been drunker than the day I had to finalize the gin.
But I ended up with something that works in almost any situation, be it a dirty martini or a Negroni.
Obviously, the final product is what you wanted. What didn’t you want?
I wanted to avoid what people think they don’t like in gin because they had a bad experience with it. So many of us go down to their parents’ basement bar, grab a bottle of gin, and you’re like, oh my God, this is Pine Sol! It just hits you in the face. Now, it has to have juniper, but I didn’t want this to be juniper forward. I consider this a gateway gin for people who think they don’t like gin. It’s for people who need to get past that old bottle of Beefeater.
How did “brilliant” end up in the official name?
I think it perfectly describes the gin. I wanted a London dry, but with a bright taste. It’s fantastic in a martini with a twist of lemon. It works with olives, but I prefer a twist.
How about a G&T?
I’m actually a gin and soda fan. To me, tonic destroys the gin. Plus, soda makes it a skinny drink (laughs). With my drinks, I want to highlight the gin, not have something sit on it. That’s why I’m not a fan of olives, because I think they overpower the gin.
Funny thing, my gin is a perfect vodka substitute. It adds backbone to vodka drinks but doesn’t overpower them. I even used it in a take on a passionfruit margarita. I mean, nothing’s better than a tequila margarita, but it works.
Actually, aren’t all the cool celebrities getting into tequila? Why not go there?
I’ve always been a one-alcohol guy, for 30-40 years. When I got into cocktail culture, it was because of a gin martini — not vodka, which is an imposter! And gin has so many flavor profiles.
What did you learn over the past year as it relates to booze?
Before COVID, I’d collect cocktail books but never make drinks! I would make a martini or Negroni but never had the energy for anything else. But with this quarantine, I figured I gotta do something to cheer people up — I’m a comedy guy! So I started doing cocktails. Half of them I’d never made before, and I think I invented over 20 original cocktails during that time, too. I’d find ingredients that clashed and figured out how to make them work.
That said, my wife now thinks I’m crazy and it’s taken over our kitchen.
In your Instagrams, you made a blue drink. Are we allowed to do that again?
You can in my book! Blue Curacao works in so many drinks.
When I interviewed Steven Soderbergh about his booze, he was saying “You gotta show up at all the events, meet and greet, talk to the media” … seems like you’re comfortable with that.
Definitely. The biggest buzzkill was that before the pandemic, I had all these plans to go to clubs, restaurants, conventions and all that. I was so excited! I was happy to film all day and then do interviews about my gin. It’s my passion project.
Is it odd to host a trivia night about yourself, even for the good of your gin?
(Laughs) It’s more about the movies I made. You don’t need to know about me! It’s what I’ve done as a director — which, actually, most people don’t seem to know what means. I’ve had people ask, “Oh, you’re a director? Have you met Steve Carrell?” It’s like, yeah, I directed him!
To pick up a bottle of Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin for yourself, head over to ReserveBar.