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By Brian Robin

A Look Behind the Voices of America Drink Specials

Matthew Arkin loves his research. So much so, that he joked about what goes into creating the drink specials for SCR’s productions.

“My partner Bruce (Glassman) and I are always willing to go the extra mile in research and development. Some people call that ‘drinking.’ We call it 'work,'” Arkin quipped.

The co-creator of Batch 22 liqueur put his R&D to work creating two drink specials for Voices of America. For The Little Foxes, Arkin came up with the “Cotton Gin Ginger,” which is Batch 22 aquavit, gin, ginger ale and lime.

For Appropriate, he created the “Arkansas Razorblade.” Like its name suggests, this drink has a bite. Arkin mixed Batch 22 aquavit, gin, ginger beer, orange and firewater bitters.

Each, naturally has its own backstory.

“The Cotton Gin Ginger came about because the cotton gin is at the center of The Little Foxes,” he said. “Batch 22 has to be the star of every drink, but we thought Batch 22 and gin (for starters). And Batch 22 goes really well with ginger ale and it goes well with the word gin, so we thought cotton gin and ginger.”

The Arkansas Razorblade has a more complex story, “appropriate” for the play and its setting.

Appropriate is a very vicious play, so I did a little research to find out if there is an iconic drink in Arkansas we could do a riff on and there is: the Arkansas Razorback, named after that state’s (college) sports team,” Arkin said. “I looked at the recipe and it wasn’t appealing at all. It was very sweet and it didn’t seem ‘appropriate.’

“Then, I thought about the name. There is a drink called the California Razorblade that features tequila. We used Batch 22, added gin to connect it to the Cotton Gin Ginger, then added ginger beer and firewater bitters. We want the drinks to be connected, but different. Ginger beer has a sharper, spicier flavor. As vicious a play as The Little Foxes is, it harkens back to a slightly more genteel time.”

Both drinks are available at every performance of Voices of America, running now through Feb. 26 on the Segerstrom Stage.

About the author

South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory is a Tony Award-winning theatre is known for producing classics, contemporary hits and world premieres, for having the largest new-play development program in the nation and for advancing the art of theatre in service to the community. 

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