Phil Rosenthal is not a big drinker. If you’ve ever watched his Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil or his past PBS show I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, then you are quite aware of his semi-low tolerance and just how delightfully giddy he gets after one too many (which is about two). But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t partake in a tipple or two wherever he goes as he joyfully eats his way around the world. In anticipation of the second season of Somebody Feed Phil, which premieres on Netflix July 6, we sat down with Rosenthal (who you also might know as the creator and writer of Everybody Loves Raymond) to pick his brilliant brain about drinking around the world, drinking in writers’ rooms and talking to strangers like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
On his go-to drinks:
“I like to have a drink with dinner. Actually, now as I get older, the red wine keeps me up at night so I’m more of a cocktail guy or straight tequila or mezcal. I’ve gotten into mezcal. I think all that stuff’s delicious.”
On drinking spirits straight:
“If the scotch is good, if the tequila’s good, if the mezcal is good, what’s better than it straight? Right? Or great vodka? I did a documentary in Russia that led directly to me having this show, because they saw me in that and they said we like the idea of you going places and I said, so does my wife. I go to Moscow and there are what I think are water pitchers on the table. But they’re filled with vodka. And I mean every single night. And they go through multiple. And you realize, life is hard there. They need that drink. But the food, all these pickled things—it’s ice cold, it tastes fantastic, and it goes super well with vodka. It’s amazing to me and I had what I thought was the first delicious vodka that I’d had straight. And it’s called Russian Standard Platinum and they just started having it here. It tasted more delicious there. You know how you never know if it’s because you’re there or if they did something else? No idea. But I’d recommend that experience.”
On drinking scotch with Raymond writers:
“When we were doing Raymond, we all joined the scotch society. There’s a single malt scotch society where you pay an annual fee and they’ll send you a bottle every couple of months that’s their cask at a distillery in Scotland. And it’s uncut. So you have to cut it the way you want it. To drink it straight is crazy, but it was fun. They don’t even tell you which distillery—there are numbers on it and people write to each other guessing. And they have a tasting in L.A. And we used to do this. We were drunks. But we really loved it. We celebrated every taping—after it was done, we’d meet in my office and we’d have a little tipple. It was great.”