Michael Foley loves contradictions. He is a Catholic professor of patristics—a study of the lives of early Christian theologians—at a dry Baptist university. That didn’t stop him from writing a book that pairs wines, beer, spirits, and cocktails with the solemnities and saints’ feast days of the Church calendar.

Sadly, because he was in his office, he couldn’t enjoy a cocktail himself while we were doing this interview.

Michael is the author of Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour. It mixes Church history with drink recipes and adds a pinch of catechetical charisma to create a unique guide through the liturgical calendar.

In addition to shedding light on the history behind each saint’s day, Foley brings to light the refined and temperate art of drinking, an art which involves a discerning palate, a sense of moderation, and a generous dose of self-knowledge. He promotes moderation and reverence, for pouring and mixing a special beverage in honor of a particular saint adds an extra note of jubilation and recognition.

In this interview we discuss

  • The Catholic origins of whiskey, tequila, sparkling wine, and much more

  • The drinking habits of St. August, Pope John Paul II, and the disciples

  • Tips on giving the perfect toast and on mixing the perfect drink

  • The origin of Dom Pérignon:The méthode champenoise was invented by a Benedictine monk Perignon, who, when he sampled his first batch, cried out to his fellow monks: “Brothers, come quickly. I am drinking stars!”

  • Original cocktails, including two for St. Augustine of Hippo: one for his sinful past and one for his holy conversion

  • How Chartreuse, the world’s most magical liqueur, was perfected by Carthusian monks and is still made by them, even though only two monks at any time know the recipe.

  • How the California wine industry began when Blessed Junipero Serra and his Franciscan brethren brought the first wine grapes to the region. And its rebirth in Napa County after Prohibition was thanks in large part to a chemistry teacher and LaSalle Christian Brother named Brother Timothy.

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE 

 

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