Paul Feig looks at ease holding a martini. He wears a three-piece suit every day, a ritual that began with the Pierre Cardin accoutre his mom bought him as a young boy growing up in Michigan. And that perfectly tailored menswear became like an armour—the formality and deliberateness of it gave Feig confidence. “With a suit, even if you’re having a nervous breakdown, you still look like you’re in charge,” Feig once said during an interview with Esquire.
Now, Feig, the writer, producer, director, and sometimes actor behind the 2011 blockbuster Bridesmaids; the female-fronted Ghostbusters remake; the endearing espionage thriller Spy; and the cult-classic Freaks and Geeks, responsible for launching some of Hollywood’s biggest crowd pleasers including James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel is adding another rung to his already varied career.
Beyond his slate of TV and film projects—and with Feigco Entertainment thriving there are many—Feig has always been fascinated by the martini (shaken or stirred), glass (frozen or off the shelf), ice cubes (rinsed or untouched)?
When Feig was around five years-old, his parents—who never touched a drink—took a trip to Los Vegas to see a Muhammad Ali fight. “ They brought me to the nursery, which was right on the edge of the casino,” says Feig. “It had this big glass door and as a kid, you’re in there looking out at the casino floor and everybody was in gowns and tuxedos (or my memory was they were all in tuxedos and gowns, very fancy) drinking martinis and gambling. And I remember going, ‘as God as my witness, I do not want to be a child. I want to be one of these adults out there doing that.’”
Feig’s passion did not wane. He began collecting delicate martini glasses from the 1950s and 60s. The coupe (forgiving of spills) and the classic V-shape, among others, take up considerable shelf space at Feig’s Los Angeles home. Add to that, during Covid-19 lockdowns, Feig hosted a series of quarantine cocktail-making videos on Instagram. And Feig is preparing to release a charming hardback, Cocktail Time! The Ultimate Guide to Grown-up Fun (William Morrow) this autumn.
A spirit of his own making was the next logical progression. And to that end, launching a brand was the culmination of “at least 20 to 25 years of wanting to do it,” says Feig.
Gin was the spirit Feig landed on. “I love all kinds of gin,” he says. “The more research I did, I was like, ‘Oh, you can formulate it any way you want because at its core, gin is basically vodka with flavor in it. It’s almost like vodka that you drop a big teabag of botanicals into.’”
Equally, Feig knew this wasn’t a venture to approach entirely on his own. He enlisted the help of Canadian siblings Ravinder and Manjit Minhas—owners of the 10th largest craft-beer brewery in the United States.
And together they created Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin. The sleek bottle takes its inspiration from a vintage decanter that caught Feig’s eye in a second-hand shop, and the formulation is the product of meticulous testing and tweaking. “I have never been more drunk in my life than the day I had to finalise Artingstall’s,” says Feig. “We worked with eight different micro-variations. You pour these glasses and you are taking tiny sips—put more citrus peel in one, more orris root in the other one, try more black pepper in one. I was so nervous, too. I knew I had to live with this for the rest of my life.”