Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

Jun 8, 2023

In this botanically diverse conversation with ethnobotanist and author Gary Nabhan, some of the topics we discuss include:

  • The winding, intersectional, and truly inspiring story of Gary’s personal journey, from his family ties to bootlegging during Prohibition, to his days spent foraging and learning about plants in the Indiana Dunes, to his documentary work showcasing the pollinator relationship between bats and agave.

  • How he teamed up with his co-author, David Pinera, a famed distributor and curator of agave spirits, to assemble his latest book detailing the ethnobotanical importance of plant/people relationships and the nuances of the mezcal and tequila industries.

  • Some notes on the sacred nature of agaves, and how his background as an interfaith member of the Franciscan order has informed his mission to protect what is sacred

  • Why mezcal can truly be described as “Biodiversity in a bottle,” plus some advice for navigating the almost dizzying array of distillates to choose from in today’s market.

  • And of course, we speculate on what the future might hold for our beloved agave spirits, including why the Tequila industry might learn a thing or two from the parable of “The Prodigal Son.”

  • Along the way, we cover the relationship between agave spirits and deforestation, explain why cactus and agave are truly the “bison” of the plant world, sing lavish praises for the elusive black sphinx date, and much, much more.

You can pick up your copy of Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals wherever books are sold.

This episode is brought to you by Near Country Provisions. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic and want to enjoy ethically raised (and delicious) meat from local farmers delivered to your door every month, then you need Near Country in your life.

Head over to and enter the code BARCART when you sign up for your subscription to receive 2 free pounds of bacon or ground beef in your first delivery.