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How I Get Undone: Jason Eisner

How I Get Undone: Jason Eisner

We are constantly bombarded with productivity hacks – tips and tricks on how to cross everything off our to-do lists while also being a person/partner/colleague/parent. Here at AMASS, though, we are far more interested in how people get undone. We want to know the nightly rituals that happen after 5PM, from the cocktails drunk to the books read. To us, it’s those small moments behind the scenes that really count, because in them lies a glimpse into who we want to be.

This time around, we chatted with LA-based Restaurateur, Bar Owner, and Chef Jason Eisner about how he unwinds after a busy Saturday shift.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Cleveland, raised in Brooklyn, and have lived in LA since 2007. I am a restauranteur, brewery owner, bar owner, and chef.

I love an AMASS negroni. I have a home carbonation system, so I'll stir it nice and cold with a little residual water, and I'll force inject it with Co2, which I find really opens it up and makes it lively and bright. I call it a Negroni Pop.

What rituals do you practice to take care of yourself?

A great stress reliever I have found over the last 20 years is practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which is a grappling martial art. I often refer to it as meditation in motion, because it’s really like human chess. It works out your body, but it also puts a nice tax on your mind. Over COVID, I haven’t been able to practice as often as I would like since it’s just too close-contact with people. So, what I've been doing, which has essentially diverted all of my energy from martial arts, is I’ve gone back to the process of making homemade pasta and pizza.

I have a plant based diet, so I’ve been working on a lot of Southern dishes, both Sardinian, Calabrian, and Sicilian. Last week, I made something called malloreddus, which is also sometimes referred to as gnocchetti sardi. It’s a Sardinian pasta that’s about three centimeters in length. It’s rolled onto an old ancient wooden board to create a pattern of texture in it that captures all the sauce. I made that with a vegan version of a sauce called alla campidanese, which is like a sausage sauce. I made homemade fennel and seitan sausages, caramelized some onions and garlic, and then peeled some San Marzano tomatoes. It was delicious. I made some cashew parm to go on top of it. It’s a really gummy, bouncy noodle, so that’s one I’m super proud of.

I also made a black sesame raviolo with homemade almond ricotta and sauteed spinach inside. Then, I made a very simple browned vegan butter sauce with that. With pizzas, I’ve just been going off. A friend of mine, who’s from Oaxaca, his grandma had an amazing mole negro recipe, so I made a Mexican-inspired pizza. It was black mole with cashew lime crema and homemade flash-pickled jalapenos and onions, some micro cilantro, and a whole lot of hot sauce. It was really yummy.

How are you finding connection in the midst of this period of isolation?

I have a 6 year old daughter. Her name is Maxine, and she’s the light of my life. Through COVID, being able to connect with her has been the silver lining. As you know, kids aren’t in school right now, so they’re doing school online through Zoom. She’s done by 10:30 in the morning every day, so afterward we’ll go on nature walks and try to identify birds in the part of LA where I live. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Cooking with my daughter and going on little nature hikes in the neighborhood has been amazing.

I also bought a vintage motorcycle, and I've been zooming and zipping around through the twists and turns of Los Angeles just to see trees and see people at a distance as you’re cruising by. That’s been a nice way to connect with myself.

I feel like one of the things COVID has done is send people spiralling and getting depressed. It’s important to find ways to stay connected to ourselves and stay grounded.

What does an ideal Saturday look like for you?

I love to make people smile and feed people, so I definitely spend a lot of time in my restaurants. Right now, I have two plant-based Nashville hot chicken restaurants called Wolfie's Nashville Hot Chicken, with one in Highland Park and one in Atwater Village that’s opening. I’m a partner at Nic’s on Beverly in West Hollywood, which is a plant-based restaurant that serves California cuisine and regional American cuisine. We’re opening up a pizza concept that does Grandma-style square pies as well as Neapolitan-style woodfired pies. And then, the brewery Party Beer Co in West Adams that makes craft beer and hard seltzer. I like to spend time working, getting my hands dirty. It doesn’t matter if I’m working a register or serving or bartending or managing a floor or even washing dishes. I just love to be in a restaurant working, so that is part of an ideal Saturday, especially since those are the busier days in restaurants.

But also, just spending time with my family. We recently got a goldendoodle puppy, so playing fetch and watching my daughter run around in the backyard playing with our dog while I’m sipping on a cocktail is pretty nice. Then of course, getting in the kitchen and making some food [laughs].

It’s the end of the day and you’re vegging on the couch–what are you drinking? Reading? Watching?

These days, I’ve been kind of obsessed with going back and watching all the classic cooking competition shows. [I’ve also been watching] a lot of travelogs – anything Anthony Bourdain, since he’s for sure one of the greatest of all time. I love watching adventure shows with people that are willing to climb massive mountains and go to extreme lengths to live a full and complete life.

If I'm not drinking something simple like a pilsner, then I'm definitely enjoying a classic, like a single malt Islay Scotch or a Gibson with AMASS Gin. Something super simple, and clean. I love Paulo Coelho, so I love to go back and reread all of his books. He’s one of my favorites. I also have been reading a lot of business books about how people have built heart-based businesses and grew them and were able to scale up and achieve dreams and give jobs to lots of people. I find stuff like that inspiring.


Our Guide to a Soothing Soak

Our Guide to a Soothing Soak

The beauty of a bath is greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, there’s water. You’re naked. The lights are dimmed. But beyond the logistical elements that accompany tub time, a long soak can be truly transformative if done right. Here are our tips to give your body and brain the rest they need, all with the help of a little warm water.

1. Use salts.

Bubbles are fun, but they also strip the skin of much-needed moisture. Instead, use some bath salts. The benefits of swirling a handful of salts in your bath are threefold: rich in therapeutic minerals, natural sea and Epsom salts relieve tension, relax muscles, and gently exfoliate. Meanwhile, nourishing oils like sweet almond and apricot kernel help quench the skin, while soothing essential oils of eucalyptus and amber create a mind-mellowing environment.

2. Light a candle.

You know what’s not part of the bath time vibe? Fluorescent lights. Turn them off and instead strike a match on your favorite candle, letting the slow flicker of candlelight lull you into a meditative state. Pick a scent that suits the mood – notes of lavender, chamomile, and palo santo can help you relax, while brighter botanicals like grapefruit and vetiver can stimulate your senses.

3. Turn on the tunes.

Or a podcast. Or an audiobook. Or your go-to meditation app. Whatever rhythmic voice sets you into a slower pace and helps you disconnect from the world beyond your bathroom door is fine by us. Maybe skip the true crime podcast, though.

3. Drink up.

Last but not least, offset your steamy soak with an ice-cold drink. Pour yourself a Riverine and Tonic for ultimate herbal refreshment minus the booze, or keep it classic with a Spanish G&T, a Gin and Tonic adorned with a bevy of garnishes, like rosemary, grapefruit, and mint.

The Art of Forest Bathing

The Art of Forest Bathing

Getting out into the great outdoors does our brains and bodies a lot of good. The sights, smells, and sounds that accompany a trek through the woods have the ability to ease stress, clear the mind, and release feel-good endorphins. That much we know. But what is it about time spent amidst the trees that soothes the soul?

The Japanese have a term for it: shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. The term essentially means to take in the forest atmosphere through your senses. It arose in the 1980s as an answer to the tech burnout culture that was just beginning thanks to the advent of the personal computer. By the ‘90s, Japanese researchers were conducting studies into the science behind this form of ecotherapy.

Their findings elucidated a lot of the hunches we already had about the power of plants to heal, and included these three main health benefits:

1.  Bathing boosts our immune system.

Beyond providing a soothing smell, coniferous trees like cedars, spruces, and firs release phytoncides, airborne oils that, when breathed in, increase activity of virus-fighting white blood cells.

2.  Tree time reduces stress.

The power of plants runs so deep that even looking at a photo of trees has some mind-mellowing effects. But actually getting out there in the green can help lower stress-inducing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline even more.

3.  Immerse in the forest to focus up.

Giving our eyes a break from our screens and instead taking a gander at some good old fashioned flora can help give the cognitive portion of our brains a much-needed breather and cut down on attention fatigue.

Moral of the story: the practice of forest bathing is an important, potent salve. That said, some of its benefits can still be achieved within the confines of your apartment (we’re looking at you, house plants).

Our latest Forest Bath Salts allow you to soak in the forest from your tub, for moments when the mountains are calling, but you actually can’t go.

What Are Adaptogens and Nootropics?

What Are Adaptogens and Nootropics?

The words adaptogen and nootropic are thrown around quite a bit in the health and wellness space these days. But what are these superplants, exactly, and why do we use them in our spirits? Let’s discuss.

To put it simply, an adaptogen is a plant that helps the body adapt to and cope with stress. Adaptogens work to regulate the body’s cortisol levels, keeping not just stress but also fatigue and restlessness at bay.

Nootropics, meanwhile, are thought to enhance cognitive function. These mighty mushrooms and energizing roots improve memory, creativity, and concentration, keeping you feeling focused and motivated.

Harnessing the power of plants isn’t anything new, though – adaptogenic and nootropic botanicals like holy basil and ginseng have been used for centuries in both Ayurvedic and Chinese healing traditions to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and alleviate feelings of anxiety.

In AMASS Dry Gin, we use our own blend of adaptogenic and nootropic botanicals to lend a complex boreal flavor profile to the spirit. These ingredients also tell a larger story of contemporary Los Angeles, a multicultural city that regularly leads the conversation in all things wellness, with quintessential new-agey brands like Sun Potion and Moon Juice popularizing the use of adaptogenic and nootropic herbs. The therapeutic effects of these ingredients are diminished when distilled, so if you’re looking for a strong mood-mellower, turn to your favorite tea or tincture.

Meet our Powerful Plants:

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a plant in the Solanaceae family native to the drier areas of India. The species name somnifera means sleep-inducing in Latin, referring to the calming properties of the plant. The bitter botanical can help the body cope with stress while improving memory, and is purported to possess aphrodisiac qualities. It has long been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as a Rasayana, an herbal remedy intended to promote longevity.

When distilled, the botanical offers a sharp herbal taste that acts as pleasant foil for brighter California citrus and earthy mushrooms.

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is a member of the Ganodermataceae family that grows in the tropical and temperate regions of Asia, as well as in the northern Eastern Hemlock forests of North America. Known as “lingzhi” in Chinese, the Reishi mushroom is also called the “mushroom of immortality,” “divine mushroom,” and “magic fungus” because of its therapeutic properties and distinct tonifying effects.

In AMASS Dry Gin, Reishi lends umami notes and earthy undertones to ground light and bright lemon, grapefruit, and lime leaf.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of fungus in the Hericaceae family native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Long lauded as a cure-all in Chinese medicine, the botanical possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is purported to stimulate and enhance nerve cells. Like ashwagandha and Reishi mushroom, lion’s mane is classified as both a nootropic and adaptogen.

For us, flavor always comes first though, which is why we love lion’s mane in our gin. While an uncommon feature in the spirit, lion’s mane couples up with Reishi mushroom to give AMASS Dry Gin its distinctive kick of umami.

How to Taste Spirits

How to Taste Spirits

The way we talk about spirits can sometimes feel a little intimidating. What does dry summer taste like? What about gin with an herbaceous quality on the middle of the palate? Are we speaking a different language? What does it all even mean?

If you’ve ever wondered how we’re coming up with this stuff, don’t sweat it – you’re not alone. But while the lexicon surrounding booze can seem inaccessible, it really just comes down to two basic senses: smell and taste.

Straight up or on the rocks, here’s how to talk about drinks.


When we talk about the nose of a spirit, we’re not being facetious – we’re straight up talking about how it smells. And while there are some best practices to abide by when sniffing your spirits, for the most part it really is as simple as taking a whiff. Here are a few tried and true steps to good first impressions:

First, choose your vessel. Using a curved, tulip-shaped glass helps funnel the delicate aromas to your nose. Have a wine glass on hand? That will do just fine.

Then, pour a small tipple and smell slowly. While wine tastings start with taking a deep sniff of the glass, spirits require a little more finesse and care. Because our gin and vodka are high proof (90 and 80 proof, respectively), you’re better off slowly raising the glass to your nose and smelling gently so as not to anesthetize your nostrils. Open your mouth slightly while you smell to allow more surface area for the alcohol itself to dissipate. Then, take note of what aromas you notice first, whether that’s citrus, herbs, or a bright punch of sumac. Jot it all down in a notebook, and take some time returning to your glass before your first sip.

If you feel like your nose needs a refresh, take a whiff of some coffee grounds before keeping on and carrying on.


Here’s where we get to the heart of the matter: how does the spirit taste? From the second the liquid hits your tongue, you’ve embarked on a gustatory journey. We like to start by tasting the liquid neat at room temp, and then diluting with water or ice as necessary. Keep water at the ready, but avoid drinking or eating anything else in the hour leading up to your tasting so your palate is as clean as can be.

Once you’re sipping, it’s really all about slowing down and paying attention. Start out small, taking a baby sip to warm up your palate before properly tasting. Then, breathe in a little through your mouth while you’re tasting, just as you would with wine. Take note of the botanicals that jump out at you first. These are what you taste on the front of your palate. If you smelled a bright squeeze of citrus, see if lemon or grapefruit come through when you taste. Then, as the spirit makes its way across your tastebuds, ask yourself what new flavors begin to reveal themselves. Is there an unexpected hit of spicy cardamom? Bitter, grassy notes on your rear palate? Write it all down, and remember there are no right or wrong answers here. Taste is personal, and our Proustian memories shape our perceptions. Let yourself be surprised.


The finish of a spirit is essentially a grown-up way of saying “aftertaste.” Here, we talk about the flavors that stay and linger, the complex notes that only come out once your glass is empty. Maybe it's mushrooms, or long pepper, or the cereal sweetness of wheat and chamomile. Whatever it is, savor it before going in for your next sip. And if you’re switching spirits? Drink some water and take 25.

Meet Nicholas Culpeper, The Bad Boy of Botany

Meet Nicholas Culpeper, The Bad Boy of Botany

We spend a lot of time thinking about plants. And while our list of go-to sources on the subject runs long, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal – a botanical index dating back to 1643 – remains our most frequently-visited resource. Despite being published nearly 400 years ago, the encyclopedic guide to botanicals is a treasure trove of trusted herbal wisdom.

The names of the entries alone, from Bastard Rhubarb to Field Mouse Ear Scorpion Grass, should be enough to pique your interest, but on the off chance they’re not, we decided to do a little digging into the man behind the plants: the bad boy of botany himself, Nicholas Culpeper.

Born in 1616, Nicholas Culpeper was an English botanist and astrologer who paired plants with planetary influences to treat his patients. As a child, he loved his grandfather’s collection of clocks, which spurred a deep interest in astrology and time. Through his youth and young adulthood, he obsessively read medical texts from his grandfather’s library and spent hours in the fields and forests of the English countryside cataloguing countless herbs with the intent of garnering enough knowledge to publish his findings.

Culpeper worked as an apprentice for an apothecary for seven years before getting married in 1640 to Alice Field, the heiress of an affluent grain merchant. Their courtship allowed Culpeper to establish his own pharmacy in Spitalfields, London at a time when medical facilities were sparse and faltering.

An unabashed skeptic, Culpeper constantly questioned traditional medicine, calling for a return to pharmaceuticals’ herbal origins. He vehemently shunned the medical practices of the time, once saying,

"This not being pleasing, and less profitable to me, I consulted with my two brothers, Dr. Reason and Dr. Experience, and took a voyage to visit my mother Nature, by whose advice, together with the help of Dr. Diligence, I at last obtained my desire; and, being warned by Mr. Honesty, a stranger in our days, to publish it to the world, I have done it."

He argued that “no man deserved to starve to pay an insulting, insolent physician,” and so Culpeper offered his medical services gratis.

Unlike other contemporary physicians who resisted visiting patients in person, instead relying on urine samples to diagnose and treat illness, Culpeper saw as many as 40 patients in a single morning. To him, “as much piss as the Thames might hold” was not enough to effectively identify symptoms and treat his patients with the attention and care required.

Culpeper’s herbal remedies included many botanicals, including anemone to treat leprosy, bedstraw to act as an aphrodisiac, and burdock to soothe tooth pain. Other, less esoteric ingredients were used as well – chamomile, juniper, parsley being just a few among hundreds of other botanicals.

While time has taught us that some of Culpeper’s methods – like, say, prescribing walnuts to treat neurological ailments simply because they look like miniature brains – may not be the most effective, we still believe fully in the power of plants to transform the humdum rituals of modern life. We think that’s something Culpeper could get behind, too.

How I Get Undone: Morgan McLachlan

How I Get Undone: Morgan McLachlan

We are constantly bombarded with productivity hacks – tips and tricks on how to cross everything off our to-do lists while also being a person/partner/colleague/parent. Here at AMASS, though, we are far more interested in how people get undone. We want to know the nightly rituals that happen after 5PM, from the cocktails drunk to the books read. To us, it’s those small moments behind the scenes that really count, because in them lies a glimpse into who we want to be.

This time around, we chatted with AMASS Co-Founder and Master Distiller Morgan McLachlan about the ways she copes with her busy work schedule while balancing motherhood (and how she carves out time for nature in between).

Between being a new mom and building a botanics brand, you’re busier than ever. How are you coping with your packed schedule?

I think I’m doing very well, considering the circumstances. I’m definitely experiencing a special type of exhaustion, but I haven’t had a typical COVID experience in that I’ve been busier than ever before. Some things get sacrificed, mostly personal time, but it’s okay. As my grandfather says, if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.

What are the rituals you practice to take care of yourself?

Between being a new mom and working full time, I don’t exactly have a lot of bandwidth for some of the old ways that I used to care for myself, and I do work in the evenings after my baby goes to sleep. By great providence, however, a lot of my favorite simple self-care rituals could be categorized as work, and vice versa. I’m fortunate that the product categories we are working in are conducive to “getting undone.” Anytime I develop a product, I try to experience a good expanse of products that are in the market in that particular category, as well as road-testing products and concoctions that I have in development. To me, experiencing and analyzing both personal care products, and also food and beverage, is an act of mindfulness. What do I like about this product? What don’t I like about this product? What feeling or memory does this fragrance evoke? Understanding the more impalpable qualities of sensory attributes is a decided act of mindfulness. Lately, in the name of product development duties, I’ve been taking a lot of baths! I feel like my natural habitat is a hot tub. And to kill two birds with one stone, I’ve been “testing” beverage products, while I’m in the bath. That is sort of my peak relaxation experience, or at least it has been in the last year. 

These days, I’m typically doing more focused research. I’ll be reading books that are tangentially related to what we’re working on. Recently, I read a beautiful autobiography by Jean-Claude Ellena, the famed perfumer at Hermès. There’s another really great book called The Way We Lived, which is a first person aural account from the indigenous people of California about what life was like, from pre-colonization through colonization to now. That’s been a really interesting book for me, since I have an interest in indigenous plants. Generally speaking, I do a lot of my tangential research, which I really adore, in the evenings when I can sit down and focus and I’m not distracted by Slack or the baby or meetings. 

Before I fall asleep, I do a little meditation that’s a combination of different styles of meditation that I developed for myself. I’ve been doing it for about 20 years now. It’s a personal thing, but it centers and grounds me. I usually fall asleep during it because I’m so exhausted [laughs]. I’m also a big fan of adaptogens, so I sometimes use a combination of light relaxing herbs to go to sleep: lately it has been a combination of passion flower, l-theanine derived from green tea, and ashwagandha. It’s not exciting, but it’s what my evenings look like. It’s all just in a condensed amount of time, because I have a yelling, screaming baby. 

How are you finding connection in the midst of this period of isolation?

Because I’m both working and taking care of [my son] Arthur, I have less than an hour to myself every day. I find that lately I have only had time to connect to my immediate family. In the evenings, my partner comes home, and I love watching him and Arthur play together. It’s sort of our only time together as a family, so that’s really nice. I love bedtime with Arthur – playing with him in the evening is really special. It’s crazy having a kid, but they teach you how to be present. 

To be honest, thank goodness for FaceTime. I’ll try to FaceTime with my family as much as possible, but I will say with my limited bandwidth I’ve been a bad friend. There’s a lot of friends that I just haven’t been able to have the usual connection with, because I’ve been so busy with work and the baby. My hope is that soon I will have a little more time to connect with my friends, which obviously I used to do a lot more in the evenings. But it’s kind of been like triage. I FaceTime my grandparents, and obviously I FaceTime Arthur’s grandparents because they’re crazy about him. I text a bit with friends. But I can’t be hard on myself – I’m doing my best with everything. 

What restorative role does nature play in your life?

Nature is the most important thing to me, and it’s where I feel most at peace and comfortable. The great thing about LA is you can get out into nature and immerse yourself in all sorts of different microclimates (depending on which direction you go) pretty easily.  We haven’t been able to do that too much lately, but I’m lucky in that I live in this area within the city that has its own really incredible little microclimate. The property I live on has tons of trees, and I can at least get outside and hang out in the trees and look at the stars every night. 

It’s Sunday night and you’re vegging on the couch–what are you drinking? Reading?

It’s funny, in normal circumstances I would probably have a martini or a glass of Gamay, but my alcohol tolerance is still very low from not drinking during my pregnancy, so I might just have a glass of something in the beverage category that I am working on. Lately that is hard seltzer, since I am currently working on hard seltzer formulas. I really love aperitivos, so I might have a spritz or something like that in the summer months. 

My mother was a nonfiction and a literary editor, so whether it is by nature or nurture, I’m a voracious reader, but I just haven’t had the time to read much fiction lately, which I mourn. I actually think reading fiction is more important to developing intelligence and neural pathways than reading anything else, or even studying anything. I really think reading fiction is the best thing you can do for your heart and for your brain.

Want to learn more about Morgan? Read her full feature here.

3 Witchy Women You Should Know

3 Witchy Women You Should Know

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we at AMASS are, um, a little obsessed with the occult. Chalk it up to our Co-Founder and Master Distiller being a practicing witch, a preoccupation with all things herbal, or the fact that we’re a stone's throw away from some serious energy vortexes here in LA, but witchy wonders take up quite a bit of our headspace.

That’s why, in anticipation of this year’s upcoming Winter Solstice, we’re recounting the witchy women we know, love, and think you should too.

Marjerie Cameron

Where do we even start with Marjerie Cameron? A poet, actress, and dedicated occultist, Cameron was known for her sex magic rituals (more on that in a minute) and for being a lifelong follower of Thelema, the spiritual philosophy founded by part mystic, part magician Aleister Crowley.

She met her would-be husband, rocket scientist and fellow Thelemite Jack Parsons, in 1946. Unbeknownst to Cameron, before their meeting Parsons had intended to attract an elemental woman to be his lover. Then Cameron showed up, all red-haired and blue-eyed, and Parsons considered the deed done. The two spent the next two weeks enraptured in between the sheets. To Cameron, those two weeks were a passionate love affair, but to Parsons, they were a rite intended to invoke the birth of the Thelemite goddess into human form.

A few years later in 1952, Parsons died in a mysterious explosion, and Cameron descended deep into delirium, becoming increasingly paranoid that Parsons had been murdered by anti-Zionists. Through astral projection, she made efforts to commune with his spirit, and headed east to a ranch in Beaumont, CA. There she amassed a group of magical practitioners she called “The Children,” and oversaw sex magic rituals with the intent of creating a breed of mixed-race "moonchildren" who would be devoted to the Egyptian deity Horus.

From there, Cameron’s whereabouts get a little fuzzy, flitting from the bohemian circles of Beat-era San Francisco to a ranch just outside of Joshua Tree. Finally, she landed in a small bungalow in the then-impoverished streets of West Hollywood, which were lined with sex stores and adult movie theatres. She’d remain there for the rest of her life.

Leila Waddell

That brings us to Leila Waddell, Aleister Crowley’s most powerful muse and a talented violinist, who became a member of the gypsy band in A Waltz Dream in 1902 at Daly’s London Theatre. There she met Aleister, and the two studied the occult together while taking a lot of mescaline. Aleister had several cute pet names for Waddell, including “Divine Whore,” “Mother of Heaven,” and “Scarlet Woman,” and he wrote ample poetry about her, as well as two short stories entitled “The Vixen" and "The Violinist.”

Like most muses, Waddell also played a key role in shaping Crowley’s thoughts and philosophical musings. She earned a writer’s credit on Crowley’s Magick (Book 4), as she and several of Crowley’s other students helped shape the text by eliciting commentary and asking key questions. Among other members of his magical order, Crowley cast Waddell as the star of his planetary-based magical rites, the Rites of Eleusis.

Their relationship dissolved after a series of affairs, however, and Waddell returned to her orchestral roots in Sydney, playing and teaching the violin until her death at the age of 52.

Zeena Schreck

Last but not least, there is Zeena Schreck, daughter of the Church of Satan’s founder Antony LaVey and a spiritual leader in her own right. Like Leila Waddell, Schreck is also a musician, as well as a visual artist, photographer, and writer. Stylistically, she has been inspired by artists whose work is heavily imbued with a sense of mysticism and magic, and the idea that lineage is a vehicle to pass down metaphysical energy guides her ritual art.

In the ‘80s, Schreck served as the high priestess of the Church of Satan and remained its primary spokesperson until 1990, when she left the church to become a devotee of the ancient Egyptian deity Set and form the Sethian Liberation Movement. Unsurprisingly, during her time as the head of the Church of Satan, she had to take the heat for some serious publicity blunders. It wasn’t exactly the lifestyle she had in mind, and in a 2011 interview she said as much, “This was not what I'd intended to do with my life, I had other plans.”

Upon leaving the church, Schreck’s family lodged a full-scale smear campaign against her, and she decided to sever ties entirely, legally changing her last name from LaVey to Shreck. To this day, she won’t respond to any correspondence addressing her as “Zeena LaVey.”

These days, Schreck keeps mostly to herself and out of the news, save for the occasional conspiracy theory.

Feeling inspired to channel your inner witch? Read up on the occultish ways we like to celebrate the Winter Solstice, and then practice your own at-home rituals with our Mateo Candle, perfect for illuminating the darkest night of the year.

How to Repurpose Your AMASS Bottles

How to Repurpose Your AMASS Bottles

Sustainability was our top priority when designing our spirits bottles. We sought to build beautiful vessels that honored the natural botanicals inside of them, being both of the earth and for the earth. Our bespoke glass bottles were coated with organic inks by a decorator in Arques, France in order to improve their recyclability, so you can dispose of the packaging thoughtfully.

While our bottles are 100% recyclable, they’re also designed to be upcycled. The matte black and grey finishes and quality materials lend themselves to decorating the corners of your home, from the kitchen to the bedroom. Just remove the label with some good old fashioned soap and hot water, or leave it au natural with the label intact if that’s more your style.

Olive Oil Bottle — Our opaque vessels are perfect for housing grocery store olive oils and vinegars, as the UV-protected glass keeps out harsh rays that can break down oil over time. Plus, they’re sleek enough to keep on your kitchen countertops.

Bud Vase — Beautiful buds are the natural foil to our clean, minimal packaging. We love the look of lavender in our grey vodka bottles for a serene color story, while earthier blooms like eucalyptus contrast nicely against the cool black finish of our gin.

Candle Holder — Perch classic white candlesticks in the mouth of our bottles for an instantly dramatic tablescape. As the candle burns, hot wax will drip onto the bottle, giving a moody feel that makes for a spooky yet sophisticated centerpiece

How do you reuse your AMASS bottles? Tag us @amass.botanics so we can share your AMASSterpieces.

Is This the End of the Golden Age of Dining?

Is This the End of the Golden Age of Dining?

“Heraclitus once wrote that it is impossible to step in the same river twice. In Los Angeles, it can be nearly impossible to eat in the same restaurant twice. This is, I believe, what the economists call creative destruction. And it is not impossible here to experience extremes — restaurants that are born and die in a single evening; restaurants in suburbs so distant that they may as well be theoretical; restaurants so hard to get into that they may not actually exist outside of blogs."

"Los Angeles is where the modern restaurant was born, the good, the bad and the ugly of it, and we’re too far gone to stop now.”

- Jonathan Gold

Recently I watched City of Gold, the 2015 documentary detailing legendary food critic Jonathan Gold’s culinary contributions to Los Angeles. Directed by Laura Gobbert, the doc follows Gold as he traverses the freewheeling freeways of LA, zooming through the belly of the beast in his old Ram 1500 in search of a good bite.

Flashes of mom and pop spots, food trucks, and sidewalk tortillerias dance on screen in a dizzying dream of charred meat and paper plates. Bludso’s, Mariscos Jalisco, Jitlada – places that are less restaurants than they are cultural institutions – weave in and out of frame as Gold barrels down Pico, Sunset, anywhere, his left hand resting on the wheel as his right gesticulates to the camera.

Over the past couple decades, Los Angeles has undergone a culinary renaissance led by the late Gold, whose critiques put hole-in-the-wall spots on the map and breathed a new life into the city’s food scene. The “Gold effect,” as some have called it, saved countless struggling restaurants long before other major critics and publications were even looking their way. What Anthony Bourdain did for the far-flung food stalls of Chiang Mai and bountiful banquets of Reykjavik, Jonathan Gold did for Los Angeles.

And then, like a flash in a pan, both of them were gone. Gold and Bourdain died in the summer of 2018, just one month apart and two years before the hospitality industry would crumble under the mandated closures of bars and restaurants and an economic recession that would rival that of the Great Depression. As heart-wrenching and deeply personal as the loss of Gold and Bourdain felt in 2018, somehow it’s even more palpable now, as restaurants shutter their doors in alarming numbers and headlines blare the sad siren song,

“Is this the end of the golden age of dining?”

It’s a declaration critics have been swift to jump to ever since it was first decreed that we were, in fact, in the midst of a golden age. But the promise looms larger now, its fate seeming more and more inevitable. Which restaurants will weather this storm? What will become of the state of dining as we know it? With Gold and Bourdain gone, who will advocate for the busboys, the bartenders, the band of misfit toys that make up this industry?

Trois Mec, the Gold-approved, Michelin-starred, and Ludo Lefebvre-led tasting menu in Hollywood was one of the first of many upscale, inventive restaurants to close in the wake of the pandemic. Its sister restaurant, Petit Trois, still stands, though its future – like so many of the bars and restaurants that already barely get by on paper-thin margins – becomes less and less certain every day.

Others, like Here’s Looking at You in Koreatown and Broken Spanish Downtown, have suffered the same fate.  Ma’am Sir, a modern Filipino restaurant in Silver Lake that did for Filipino food what Night + Market did for Thai, just recently joined their ranks. Every day the number swells, not just in Los Angeles but in cities and suburbs and small towns around the world. Our cultural meccas are dwindling as fast-casual chains continue to survive and thrive, threatening to take over.

As a newcomer to Los Angeles, one of the millions who have trekked from some small town somewhere to this City of Angels, I have felt a peculiar sadness over the loss of these restaurants that were never mine. Restaurants that were erased from my list of places “to try” almost as quickly as they were added. It’s a strange phantom grief, mourning something you never – and will never – know. And of course, it applies to more than just food; this year has brought with it countless trips that will never be taken, memories that will never be made. But there is something about the fleetingness of a restaurant that makes its loss especially devastating; Italy will still be there when you inevitably take that trip. The Coliseum will still stand. But will the corner pizzeria?

According to writer Kevin Alexander, the end of the golden age of dining began before COVID even hit. In Burn The Ice, his 2019 book, Alexander argues that the golden age started in 2006 with the rise of farm-to-table restaurants in Portland and the launch of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. What followed was a decade-long stint of fine casual dining, a “golden age” in which good food and good drinks were championed above all else. Of course, it had to come to an end. Everything does. But the timing of that ending feels startlingly ominous, the future far too bleak.

At the time Burn The Ice was published, Alexander wrote that there were 100,000 more restaurants in the US in 2019 than there were 10 years ago. In the past six months alone, another 100,000 have closed. It’s grim, sure. An erasure of a decade of dining in America. But if we’re back at square one, so to speak, if we’re starting over exactly where we were in 2006 when farm-to-table was a new concept and Anthony Bourdain was just some sly, rough around the edges chef we had never heard of, then maybe it means that we are on the precipice of another golden age. That when this is all over – when restaurants get back up on their feet and start again – they’ll be stronger than ever.

During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Jonathan Gold penned an essay for the LA Times on his neighborhood, Koreatown, “a neighborhood just west of downtown.” He wrote of the Bangkok-style buffets and Filipino fish joints that were burned to the ground, entire livelihoods diminished to ashes. The picture he painted then looked stunningly similar to what it looks like now: neighborhoods in a state of unrest and upheaval, boarded up buildings, signs that have always read “open” turned to say “closed.”

History repeats itself, again and again in an infinite time loop. That much we know. And as much as I wish Gold – and Bourdain – were here to offer their sage wisdom, in a way they have already given that to us.

“And yet the neighborhood survives,” Gold wrote in 1992, his words echoing through time and space to a moment 28 years removed that is more alike than it is different. We have rebuilt before. We can do it again.


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