Q&A: Luke Duncan of Eli Mason

On Saturday (Nov 29) from 12 PM-2 PM, our friend Luke Duncan of Eli Mason will be at the Batch Store to offer guests a unique sampling of locally made cocktail syrups and mixers. Earlier this week we caught up with Luke for a quick chat.

Batch: Hey Luke. Thanks for catching up with us. So we’ve heard Eli Mason may have new products in the works. Any chance you could drop a few hints to Batch customers and let us know what exciting things to expect in 2015?

Luke: There are two whiskey cocktails that we receive the most requests for. One we've almost perfected. One is gonna take a long time. We're also still working on that elusive gin mixer. Our long-term plans can be summed up in two words: "Grapes" and "herbs."

Batch: That’s exciting. Grapes and herbs? We may be onto you, but we’ll keep quiet.

So let’s get serious for a moment. Imagine a world co-opted by cocktail-hating goblins where drinks like the “Old Fashioned” no longer exist. In such a world, what would Luke Duncan be drinking? A highball of vodka and peach Nehi? What is the one drink you crave that would get you banned from [insert your favorite Nashville craft cocktail bar] for 25 to life?

Luke: Haha. Probably something like Corona with a splash of grenadine. Can I at least have a pomegranate-based grenadine and not the cherry cough syrup that this classic mixer has become?

Batch: Hmm. It’s up to the goblins, but we’re thinking cough syrup might be your only option here.

Okay. Back to a less frightening goblin-free reality. Let’s talk tunes. Say you come home after a long day to relax and sip a cocktail. What album are you listening to?

Luke: I like a good techno-jazz album for relaxing. Something like Morcheeba, Alpha, or Jazzanova. When I'm packing and shipping boxes it's gotta be either Heartless Bastards or Rage Against the Machine. To paraphrase one of the Bobs from Office Space, "I celebrate their entire catalog." When I'm making deliveries, I listen to podcasts from the Maximum Fun network, especially Stop Podcasting Yourself.

Batch: Thanks to a lot of creative folks (you included) the way Nashvillians experience food and drink is undergoing a massive sea change. Imagine a world (goblin-free again) where Luke Duncan runs a restaurant. What’s on the menu?   

Luke: Burgers and BBQ! Longtime dream of mine. My wife and I are judges in the Memphis BBQ Network and I've been working on my ribs technique for years (currently experimenting with higher-than-usual smoking temps). And just really good fries. There's nothing in the world like a hot plate of fries.

Batch: Back to the land of make-believe one more time. Let’s say you’re stranded on an island (with survival essentials), but can have a single batch delivered to your new home. What would be inside? We won’t hold you to our “local” and “artisanal” commitments. Literally anything goes here, except maybe live animals.

Luke: A sci-fi novel like Hyperion, along with a leather journal and some Pilot pens. Definitely peanut butter and honey. I would need a bottle whiskey and some bitters as well. Probably the Xocolatl Mole Bitters from Bittermen’s and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Green Label.

Batch: Okay. Last one. Perhaps it’s only rumor, but we’ve heard (not witnessed) that Batch co-founder Stephen Moseley tops his Old Fashioned with a popularly branded lemon-lime soda. Do you have anything to say to Stephen? Should he be publicly shamed for such a practice?

Luke: No shame, baby. I haven't tried that myself but will do so tonight. Cocktails should be fun and personal, a chance to get weird and experiment with flavors we don't normally use. Stephen may be onto the next big thing with this bitter+sweet+citrus combo. But it's also possible he's a maniac and must be stopped. I'll let you know after I try it.

Batch: Thanks for taking time to chat with us, Luke.

Luke: You bet. This was fun!