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Toasting The Tokyo Games

Credit: Secretaría de Deportes
Agency: Wikimedia Commons

After a year’s delay, the Summer Olympic Games are officially underway. Over 11,000 athletes from 205 countries are gathered in Tokyo, looking to bring home the gold in everything from archery to water polo. On this week's show, we raise a glass to intercontinental camaraderie by tasting five exotic spirits produced across the globe.

We begin our celebration the way they do in China, with a baijiu toast. American expat Derek Sandhaus introduces us to this ancient Chinese liquor, which has recently been gaining popularity in the West.

Then we hear about a popular herbal digestive in the Czech Republic called Becherovka. Brand ambassador George Nemec joins us to talk about how the beverage is made and how it's used in his homeland.

Next, Count Eduardo Branca tells us the story of Fernet Branca. His family's distillery, Fratelli Branca, was established in 1845 – but before it was sold as a spirit, it was used as a cure-all to treat cholera.

We also take a virtual trip to Peru to meet celebrity distiller Johnny Schuler, who tells the legend of pisco and his distillery, Pisco Portón. This Peruvian brandy dates back to the conquistadors of 16th century Cuzco.

Finally, we speak with Jesse Falowitz, an American distiller living in Japan. Jesse is one of the founders of Mizu Shochu. He recalls how he and his Japanese counterparts rediscovered an ancient liqueur called shochu, which is now entering a modern market.

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Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.