Sports and Spirits

A weekly podcast that takes you into the biggest sports events of the week and what you should be drinking with them. Product reviews and ratings. Matt East and Hank Allen have a combined 30 years experience in broadcast television. We're using that experience to bring you the latest news and topics in the world of sports and to highlight some of the great spirits in the United States and abroad. It's a little sports, spirits, and travel all in one place! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to listen.
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Sports and Spirits




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Nov 8, 2018

We back! After a small layoff due to scheduling and sickness, Matt and Hank are back in the saddle to talk about the fall sports calendar going on right now. 

We'll start by giving you our thoughts on the latest college football playoff rankings. 

After that some NFL discussion including why we think Drew Brees remains underrated. 

College basketball has tipped off and we will talk a little about that and then wrap it up with some great holiday cocktail ideas from our friends at Smirnoff. 

Cocktail Recipes

1.      Peppermint Cranberry Moscow Mule, Courtesy of Kendra Darling, Simply Darrling

(Makes 1 Cocktail)


·        1.5 oz. Smirnoff Peppermint Twist

·        2 oz. Cranberry Juice

·        6 oz. Ginger Beer

·        Sugar coated Cranberries & Mint for garnish



In a cocktail shaker, combine Smirnoff Peppermint Twist and cranberry juice with ice. Shake. Fill a copper mug with ice, pour the vodka & juice over the ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with sugar coated cranberries and mint.

2.      Orange & Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Courtesy of Kendra Darling, Simply Darrling

(Makes 1 Cocktail)



·        1 oz. Smirnoff Peppermint Twist

·        0.5 oz. Triple Sec

·        8 oz. Hot Chocolate



Combine hot chocolate, triple sec, and Smirnoff Peppermint Twist in a mug. Stir, and serve with a candy cane. Garnish with a candied orange peel.


3.      Smirnoff Holiday Punch, Courtesy of Kendra Darling, Simply Darrling

(Makes 12 Servings)


·        10 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Holiday Ornament Vodka

·        12 oz. Cranberry-Raspberry Juice

·        4 oz. Pineapple Juice

·        20 oz. Orange Juice

·        2 oz. Lime Juice

·        1 Bottle Sparkling Wine

·        Raspberry Sherbet

·        Slices of Limes, Oranges and frozen cranberries



Combine all the juices in a punch bowl. Stir in the Sparkling wine and the Smirnoff No. 21 Holiday Ornament Vodka. Garnish with slices of limes, oranges, and frozen cranberries. Place a ball of raspberry sherbet into a glass. Ladle punch into the glass


4.      Ornament Cocktail, Courtesy of Kendra Darling, Simply Darrling

(Makes 1 Cocktail)



·        1.5 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Holiday Ornament Vodka

·        2 oz. Pomegranate Juice

·        0.5 oz. Simple Syrup

·        Splash Lime Juice

·        Pomegranate Seeds & Mint Leaves for garnish



Mix together the Smirnoff No. 21 Holiday Ornament Vodka, simple syrup, and juices. Use a funnel to pour into a clear ornament. Place Pomegranate seeds and mint leaves into a martini glass. To enjoy, pour the cocktail into the martini glass


5.      Holiday Cosmo, Courtesy of Megan Marlowe, Strawberry Blondie Kitchen

(Makes 1 Cocktail)


·        1.5 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka

·        1 oz. Orange Liqueur

·        4 oz. Cranberry Pomegranate Juice

·        Lemon twist

·        Candy rim

·        Cranberry skewer



Rim a martini glass with water and dip into edible glitter. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka, orange liqueur and cranberry pomegranate juice. Shake until chilled. Pour into martini glass and garnish with cranberries.


6.      Autumn Harvest Punch, Courtesy of Megan Marlowe, Strawberry Blondie Kitchen

(Makes 16 servings)



·        3 cups Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka

·        2 apples, cored and thinly sliced

·        2 pears, cored and thinly sliced

·        1 lemon thinly sliced

·        5 ¾ cups Apple cider

·        1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

·        4 cinnamon sticks

·        4 pods star anise

·        Rosemary sprigs



Into a punch bowl, add sliced apples, pears and lemon. Pour in apple cider, Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka and lemon juice. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, clove and fresh rosemary springs. Stir to combine and chill until ready to serve. Right before serving, add in 1 liter ginger ale.

Oct 18, 2018

Our favorite month of the year continues. Hank and Matt are back this week to give their thoughts on the MLB playoffs as the league championship series are about to wrap up. 

Then we look ahead to some match-ups we will be watching in college football this weekend and some NFL games that we want to see. We'll pick some of these games and give our thoughts on the betting lines. 

After that some fall and seasonal beer discussion. What do we think you should be trying? 

Thanks for listening! 

Oct 11, 2018

Episode 99! Almost to 100. Matt and Hank are back to break down a big weekend in sports. 

We'll start with our thoughts on the MLB playoffs. What do we think happens in the ALCS and NLCS. 

After that some thoughts on college football this week including the big matchup between UGA and LSU. 

Then some NFL talk and a couple games we are interested to see this week. 

As always thanks for listening! 

Oct 4, 2018

It's our favorite time of year. Matt and Hank are fired up to talk about the baseball playoffs, give our thoughts on the NFL and college football seasons, and pick the big games this weekend. 

Plus we talk to the Master Distiller at BOLS to discuss the Genever genre of spirits. Big show check it out! 

Sep 27, 2018

A huge weekend on the sports calendar as we wrap up September and Matt and Hank are here to break it all down. 

We start with a quick recap of the NFL and college football seasons so far. Then at 26:30 we discuss baseball's final regular season weekend and what it means in the National League. Huge implications! 

We follow that up by picking some of the big games this weekend. Stanford/Notre Dame, Ohio State/Penn State, Washington/BYU, LSU/Ole Miss. 

Plus we will give our thoughts on the weekend of NFL action coming up. 

Sep 20, 2018

A lot to talk about in the world of football as we head towards one of our favorite times of year, October. Matt and Hank recap the most recent weekend of action for you and what stands out in NFL and college. 

Then we take it back to Tales of the Cocktail to talk with Desmond Payne, Master Distiller with Beefeater Gin. He is a true legend in the spirits world and really fun to talk too. 

After that we pick some of the big games this weekend. We break down TAMU/Alabama, Stanford/Oregon, TCU/Texas, New Orleans/Atlanta, Cincinnati/Carolina, and Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay. 

Plus some MLB discussion as the season draws to a close.  

Sep 13, 2018

Big show this week as Matt and Hank are back to break down all the big games in football this weekend. Plus our Vegas Insider Raphael Esparza joins us to talk Canelo/GGG 2, along with all the insights into Vegas you need. Plus what he's watching in the NFL. 

We also break down the big games in college football. 3 top 25 matchups and we will give you our picks. 

And we'll talk with Exotico Tequila's Graciela Gonzalez about the industry and what they have been up too. 

Thanks for listening! 

Sep 6, 2018

Another big show full of content for you this week. Matt and Hank discuss weekend one of college football and where we stand going in to week 2. 

Then our thoughts on the Khalil Mack trade. Is it possible the Raiders got the better part of the deal? Then we talk fantasy football picks and some of the week one games we are interested in. 

After that a visit with Glenfiddich to talk about some of the new expressions they have to offer. Then it's pick time as we lay out our predictions for some of the big games this weekend. 

Segment times:

11:30-Khalil Mack trade
17:30-Fantasy football
23:30-NFL games to watch 
31:00-Glenfiddich brand ambassadors
1:10 -college and NFL predictions 

Aug 31, 2018

College football is back and we have a big show for you this week! Matt and Hank start by breaking down the weekend weather to let you know what games may be impacted. 

Then it's on to some of the big games of the weekend. We'll talk about Ole Miss/Texas Tech, West Virginia/Tennessee, Michigan/Notre Dame, Auburn/Washington, Miami/LSU, and Virginia Tech/Florida State. 

In between the games we have a great interview with Paul Hletko, the founder of FEW Spirits in Evanston, IL. Got to taste some really great whiskey and gin at Tales of the Cocktail with him. Lot of information as well. 

Finally we wrap up the show with our review of Captain Morgan Apple Smash. It's an interesting drink and we give our thoughts. 

Aug 23, 2018

We are inching closer to the start of college football! Matt and Hank are back this week to break down the rest of the power 5 conferences. 

We start with a quick discussion over the NFL helmet rule. How it's going so far in the preseason. Then it's off to our predictions and analysis of the Big 10 this season. How does Urban Meyer's story affect our picks? 

Then we go to part 2 of our interview with David Powell of Flor de Caña Rum. If you missed part one last week go back and listen. Great time talking with him. 

We will wrap up the show with our breakdowns of the Pac 12 and Big 12, and whether we see any playoff contenders from these conferences. 

As always thanks for listening! 

Aug 16, 2018

Huge show this week for Episode 91! Matt and Hank are back to talk about some preseason stories in the NFL. We touch on where we think Dez Bryant may end up, Jalen Ramsey qb comments, and some other news around the league. 

We also give our thoughts on Ronald Acuna Jr with the Braves getting hit to lead off the game this week. 

Then it's back to Tales of the Cocktail. Part one of our interview with Flor de Caña Rum Brand Ambassador David Powell. He has some great stories to tell. 

After that we give you our preview for the SEC and ACC conferences this upcoming college football season. Who do we think ends up the champion, and what teams should you be on the lookout for. 

As always thanks for listening! Subscribe to the show on iTunes or Spotify. 

Aug 9, 2018

All Balvenie all the time! That's what we have for you in episode 90. Hank sits down with two of our favorites at Tales of the Cocktail.

Balvenie Brand Ambassadors Jonathan Wingo and David Laird discuss what's new with the brand, some exciting new products, what they see in their travels as ambassadors, and a little sports as well. 

If you love The Balvenie you will love this! 

As always thanks for listening. 

Aug 2, 2018

Big show this week as we start off the month of August. Matt and Hank discuss the new helmet rule in the NFL and the impact that could have on the season. 

Then the big story this week, Urban Meyer. How do we see this situation playing out at Ohio State going forward. 

After that some MLB talk as we look at some of the close divisions heading into August. 

We wrap it up with a big interview with Dre Masso, co-founder of Altos Tequila. Great to catch up with him in a noisy and fund Altos Bodega at Tales of the Cocktail. 

Thanks for listening! 

Segment times: 

6:00- NFL helmet rule
10:00- Urban Meyer scandal
17:30- Current thoughts on MLB standings
24:00- Dre Masso, Co-Founder Altos Tequila


Jul 27, 2018

Episode 88 is here and we have some great content for you. After the show open Hank sits down with Allison Parc of Brenne Whisky. She is great. One of our favorite interviews. How often do you meet somebody that started their own brand of whisky and then imported and distributed it. Great stuff. Plus the whisky tastes fantastic. 

After that we will take a look at week one of the NFL schedule. What matchups do we want to see and what do we think about some of the early lines. 

As always thanks for watching!

Jul 20, 2018

Matt is back from vacation as he and Hank kick off Tales of the Cocktail. We have a great interview with Danny Ronen at 13:00 about the category of Genever. It's something that most people aren't familiar about. Great history and information here. 

Then we discuss some big trades in baseball and basketball in the last week. 

Thanks for listening! 

Today's Guest: 

Danny Ronen
Founder of DC Spirits; co-owner of the award-winning bar Academia in Austin, Texas; partner at Unlimited Liabilities; and spirits educator and trainer at Liquid Kitchen.




Genever (pronounced juh-NEE-vuhr) is a complex spirit with a rich history. Every genever is unique, with its own recipe and flavor, and created using artisanal processes. However, by law, all genevers must:

  • contain malt spirit (made from wheat, rye, barley, maize, oat, buckwheat, and/or triticale) and juniper berry
  • be a distilled spirit made from natural ingredients (such as grains and botanicals)


  • Amount of malt spirit: min. 1.5% of the alcohol volume
  • Amount of sugar: max. 20 grams per liter
  • Colorings: possible, but only with caramel
  • Flavorings from juniper berries and possibly other botanicals and malt spirit
  • Alcohol percentage: min. 30%



  • A younger/newer style that originated more recently with a lower malt spirit content and usually more botanicals
  • Amount of malt spirit: min. 1.5% up to max. 15%
  • Amount of sugar: max. 10 grams per liter
  • Color: none
  • Alcohol percentage: min. 35%



  • The old or traditional style, with a more pronounced grain flavor due to more malt spirit
  • Amount of malt spirit: min. 15% up to 100%
  • Amount of sugar: max. 20 grams per liter
  • Color: from light yellow through to darker brown (depending on ageing)
  • Alcohol percentage: min. 35%


Since January 15th 2008, genever (also officially known as jenever and genièvre) has had its own Protected Geographical Indication, meaning that it is geographically protected by the European Union, just like Scotch whisky and Cognac. This gave genever its own ‘appellation,’ and product that carries the name genever can now only be made in Belgium; Holland; the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments of France; and the North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony regions of Germany.

Genever is considered one of the most versatile and interesting spirits, because:


  • It offers a variety of flavor that is rarely found in other distilled spirits. It can be rich in botanicals — predominantly juniper but also, for example, coriander and angelica. At the other end of the spectrum it can be full of malt and the dark aroma of years spent in wooden casks.
  • The variance in the balance of juniper, malt spirit, botanicals, distilling, and blending techniques allow an enormous diversity of flavor: from aromatic, zesty, and fresh like gin, to earthy, malty, and rich lie, whiskey.
  • Genevers have been made for more than 500 years, yet the industry remains a source of constant experimentation, and innovation.


Genever has existed since the middle ages and was initially used in a medicinal capacity. Later, it came into fashion for recreational usage in the Lowlands of the Netherlands, and in the 17th century became the country’s national drink.


In the early 19th century, the Dutch began shipping the spirit to the U.S. as there was a large population of ex-patriates living there. This coincided with the increasing popularity of cocktails, and in 1880, approximately one in four cocktails in America were made with genever. Following two world wars and Prohibition, however, though genever remained the national spirit of the Lowlands, it disappeared from the world stage.


Since the beginning of the 21st century classic cocktails have soared in popularity and the demand for genever has returned. The genever category is now growing once again, particularly driven by cocktail bars around the world.

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