The Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark Interview

I'm pretty sure that today marks the first day I interview someone most well-known for inventing a cocktail, which I think is an omen that it's going to be a super-fun Friday. If you've heard of the infamous McNuggetini, then you've heard of today's interviewees, the two women behind some charming and quite entertaining videos that celebrate their love of adventurous drinking. Their videos got them some media attention and then some of that attention has been about fame via viral video, so I wanted to catch them to talk about drinking and working before they started showing up on "Martha Stewart" regularly or something and got too busy. They seem like fun ladies to have a drink with, in my professional opinion.

How much rehearsing do you ladies need to do per video?
Alie: As much as I'd love to boast that we work with a drama instructor and a dialect coach weeks prior, the fact is that we generally write the script the day before, and we run through each segment right before the take. Oftentimes, we'll tweak a line, or improvise some ridiculousness that ends up making it into the final cut. And the reactions to the first sips of the drink are always (painfully) genuine.

Georgia: We've made four videos so far and each one has been a learning experience. For the first video, the infamous McNuggetini, we pretty much just showed up without a script and spent the day perfecting it in front of the camera. That shoot ended up taking about 8 hours, so the next time we were a bit more prepared with a script in tow. A lot of our dialogue tends to include some ad-libbing though, and naturally get funnier as we sample whatever spirits we're utilizing throughout the day.

The settings are so great: who does the set design?

A: "Set design" involves Georgia busting out her drool-worthy collection of antiques, mixed in with whatever's handy at the location. We've shot in Georgia's 92-year old Grandmother's lovely Los Angeles home (McNuggetini), in Georgia's apartment (Ham Daq) and in my 1913 Craftsman apartment, in front of a built in cabinet that had a few of my biology specimens thrown in for scholastic ambiance. We'd originally kept more of my bug collection in frame, but between the tomato soup based cocktail and a bacon rimjob, we figured it was best to keep the set decor as non-gross as possible on that one.

What's your hangover cure?
A: I swear by B-Vitamins and lots of water the night before, though Georgia's hangover cure probably involves something more remedially greasy. Also: a lot of it is what you're drinking. When I'm not gulping down mouthfuls of liquified meat, I'm a fan of flavored quality vodka and club soda, which is refreshing, hydrating and generally hangover-free. (My first-ever signature drink is a Stoli vanilla and soda with a cherry, which my friends mocked mercilessly and dubbed a 'Wardscicle'...then started ordering it themselves because it is delicious delicious nectar of the gods and it never leaves you wanting to die in the morning.)

G: I love a good bowl of won ton soup when I've tied one on, but I usually just end up eating fast food and feeling god-awful for the rest of the day. Learning from my mistakes is not my strong suit. Honestly, sometimes I think I get hung-over on purpose so I'll have an excuse to skip the yogurt and fruit and eat the crap I usually avoid for breakfast (see: sausage egg McMuffins, hash browns, anything covered in hollandaise sauce).

With the attention you got with the first videos, do you feel pressure to put out more?

A: There's certainly a pressure to deliver videos in a timely manner before the fan base you've drawn moves on to another YouTube channel or meme-of-the-moment. Without a budget to hire a crew, our first videos have relied on the favors of very generous friends. We have plenty of ideas and excitement about shooting, but its a matter of begging friends to give a few days to help craft a video and teach us how to use Final Cut. Now that there's been a following and media attention, we're getting offers to create a series of videos, with a budget, which is both a relief to us -- and our friends.

G: Yes! Although the attention was completely unexpected, we've since been pressuring ourselves to keep up the momentum. I think we both have a fear that everything is going to come crashing to our feet and we're going to end up as bitter old ladies, surrounded by feral cats, talking about our 15 minutes of Internet fame.

When it comes to classic drink ingredients, what's a liquor that you wished you liked but just couldn't get into?

A: Excellent question. I have always regretted my falling out with tequila. We had a good relationship for a few hours once, but it took a turn for the worst and we've not been civil terms with each other since. I also once had the misfortune of drinking Gilby's gin mixed with room-temperature Pepsi. Classic gin martinis still present a taste hurdle for me.

G: Oh how I loathe gin. It tastes like sucking on one of those pine tree air fresheners you hang on your rear view mirror. I love a good dirty martini, but sadly, I have to stick with vodka martinis which makes me feel like an inferior woman.

You go out, you get a little hammered, you come home. What do you eat for dinner?
A: Well, in East Los Angeles, there are burrito trucks studding nearly every street corner. So if it's late, and dinner has yet to be had, Taco Zone or the Logan Street Truck might get paid a visit en route to home. There is nothing like a burrito the size of a cat at 2 in the morning.

G: My absolute favorite late-night, slightly tipsy snack is a corn tortilla with refried beans, tons of cheese, and salsa, thrown in the toaster oven till it's almost burnt. It's melty and crispy and perfect. Follow that with Nutella spooned into my maw straight from the container, and I'm in heaven.

What's on your daily blogroll?
A: I usually make the rounds on the news feeds, like LA Times, NY Times, CNN, Daily Beast, Google News. Then if I need a brain break mid workday, I tend to surf through friends' Tumblrs, like Georgia's (natch) Jonah Ray's, Peter Atencio's, Tess Lynch, Molls and yes, even Boner Party for fashion inspiration.

G: See Alie's answer, but also add my strange obsession with so-called "mom blogs". The Sphors Are Multiplying, Better Now, All & Sundry. I guess I'm just fascinated by lives that are the complete antithesis of mine, seeing as I'm happily, selfishly single and childless. I also have a group of fellow 20-something female bloggers that I have been reading for years: Hillary With Two L's, Nothing But Bonfires, Diary of Why, Hope Dies Last. I have one of those boring office jobs that allows me plenty of time for web-surfing, so my blog reading is much more prolific than Alie's.

What's the next ingredient you'd like to center a drink around?
A: We just made a beverage with chocolate sauce and Godiva liqueur, but I'm trying to convince Georgia to make a Yerba Mate latte cocktail that's sweet and earthy tasting, but also keeps you wired like the liquid crack that it is. Redbull's not nothing on yerba mate tea. It is nature's methamphetamine. Trust.

G: I heard a rumor that someone is coming out with bubble gum vodka. That sounds just awful enough to work.

What have been some of your favorite adjectives used to describe your drinks?

A: "Revolting cocktails," coined by NYT writer Douglas Quenqua was particularly thrilling, mainly because I assume it was a nod to Al Jourgensen/industrial music.

G: Back before we had made the video, and the McNuggetini was just a photo essay on my blog, someone linked the post with the description "two semi bangable chicks make a McNuggetini". "Semi bangable" has become one of our favorite descriptions, and we use it to describe situations, food, dudes, and ourselves when we're having a particularly fug day.

Alie, what have you been working on lately for the Times?

I'm a staff writer at the LA Times, and write for the Calendar section as well as write a few weekly columns for their publication Brand X, which is published by the Times and aimed at the late-20s demographic. Before taking a full time job as a staffer at the Times, I was a writer for the LA Weekly, and authored a weekly column called "The Mental Ward," which chronicled my adventures and pitfalls exploring the LA art and music scene. My bosses at one point tried to get my title changed to "Professional Leisureist" because it was my duty to go out several nights a week and report back.

What's the most interesting thing you've eaten/drank in the last week?

A: I'll start by telling you the least interesting: At 8pm on Saturday night, I found myself alone in a Del Taco wearing sweatpants and eating a veggie burrito. Country music was playing over the tinny PA. I was the only one in the restaurant. I realized that I was turning into Liz Lemon. As for the most interesting: I actually tried a gluten-free, vegan agave-sweetened cupcake from Babycakes, which just opened at LA outpost. It was not at all disgusting, which pleasantly shocked me.

G: I was *this* close to ordering the rattlesnake and rabbit sausage at our local sausage joint yesterday, but went with the comparably tame mango jalapeno chicken sausage instead. Pity, as that would make for a good story. For the sake of this interview, can we go back in time a couple weeks to the delicious dinner I had at Animal, where I dined on seared foie gras that was sitting atop a biscuit and a sweet and savory pool of maple sausage gravy? It was ethereal...and my stomach is growling now.

What's next for you ladies?
A: Right now we're in talks with a few production companies to develop a show for network TV, and we're thisclose to finalizing the paperwork to start shooting a series of online videos for a network that deals with food (I'll let you piece that together.) We also have an iPhone application coming out for This Is Why You're Fat, plus an offer for a book deal. At this point, we don't sleep much. (Note: I'm writing this at 2am on a weeknight. And I've already told you how my Saturday night went.)

How does it feel to be the 249th and 250th people interviewed for

A: In a word: thrilling. [I'm a fan of The Zulkey, and to be included with 250 others is an honor.]