Steven Soderbergh and his latest project.
Food and beverage journalists are invited to a lot of strange events to get their attention.
I was crammed into a small room with contortionists to show how versatile a tequila, suffered minor burns while figuring out how to blow my own glass of whiskey, and chowed on taco full of crickets.
And then there was the time I sat in a basement bar in the Lower East Side of New York chatting with director Steven Soderbergh about the stock market. He wanted to know why the low oil price is bad for stock prices, and because I have not brushed on macroeconomic me since college, I tried to avoid sounding like an idiot by asking if he had seen Billions series Showtime.
I did not interview the "famous" people who very often, so I still get a little starstruck. And, I mean, Soderbergh has directed a ridiculous number of hit films and is the kind of guy who brings his friend Julia - Roberts, of course - in a casual conversation.
He had seen an episode Billions - he was friends with the creator, duh - and she was really excited because a bottle Singani 63, the spirit he imported from Bolivia and the whole reason I even talk to him, to be used in a scene in the upcoming episode.
A man would shoot super rich woods, holding an AK-47 in one hand and a bottle Singani 63 in another. Soderbergh then brags about David Fincher gave her placement in Gone Girl with Ben Affleck - Affleck end up breaking the bottle in the kitchen because of frustration.
"We can not do an ad that says, 'The go-to drink when you killed your wife,' because we do not pay for placement," Soderbergh joke - well, I thought he was kidding.
"No other brand in the world will allow themselves to be used like this. We want to be the brand you go when you have a very inappropriate behavior ... because there is one thing - it's a movie," he stressed.
And after so many films - he directed 37 of them before he "retired" and still producing, directing the Cinemax series The Knick and even off-Broadway play - well, he would know the importance of a story. And he knows that Singani 63 have one.
Soderbergh said he found while shooting unaged brandy Bolivia Che in 2008. He was vodka on the rocks men - he said he had a blood thinner and metabolize alcohol too fast to get a decent buzz of wine and beer. Try the Bolivian national spirit, he found it to be like "vodka with a bouquet that is better." But unlike vodka, he said, he and his camera crew could bind to some and not ill in the morning. Before he jumped through a lot of legal hurdles to get to the US, Singani 63 is not yet available outside Bolivia. And now Soderbergh has all the rights to sell it worldwide.
How does it feel to drink Singani? Soderbergh said it gives you a high better than drinking beer and that you hang on your motor skills when will that "happy place."