Entrepreneurs and friends Amy Hester and Emily Reeves Dean know how to have a happy hour. On the Arkansas-centric podcast Conversations, Cocktails and Connections, the two chat, make cocktails with local businesses and celebrate the little things in life. “We’ve toasted each other’s victories, mourned over tragedies, traveled around the country, gossiped, laughed, cried, and had lots of boozy drinks together,” Dean says. They began the podcast in 2020, when many businesses were shut down, to highlight local businesses, encourage people to support them, learn what they were doing to pivot during the pandemic and enjoy a good drink along the way.

Hester and Dean always ask their professional guests questions to help improve their bartending technique and learn more about the craft, and they don’t typically do practice runs before filming. Any time they make a mistake during recording, their reactions are real─and they don’t mind making fun of themselves.

“Before we started this podcast, we were already quite experienced as alcohol consumers, but we were quite inexperienced at doing anything more than pulling the cork from a bottle of wine. We have literally learned ‘on-the-job’ how to make the cocktails we drink,” Dean says. “We air all our mistakes and genuine reactions with our audience, from exploding soda to a mess with egg whites and from cut fingers to trying to make things drinkable that definitely weren’t drinkable (basically by adding more booze). We are just figuring it all out as we go along.”

New episodes are published every Tuesday and Saturday on their website, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.



The Don Lockwood

We both enjoy a classic Old Fashioned, so when we came across this sweet variation in one of our favorite cocktail books (Cocktails With A Twist by Kara Newman, who has been a guest on our show!), we both fell in love with it. 

1 oz bourbon

1 oz Islay Scotch whisky

1/3 oz maple syrup

1 dash angostura bitters

2 dashes cocoa bitters

Mix all over a large ice cube in an old fashioned glass. Cheers!