5 Questions Interviews Skunk Magazine


I’m not from Charleston, South Carolina. But I lived there in the late 1980s and spent Hurricane Hugo huddled with others in my former kitchen house on Charlotte Street, wondering if the roof and the rest of the home would survive the biggest storm I’d ever lived through. This experience would go on to serve as more than a metaphor for the rest of my life. Big storms followed by the loss of everything I worked hard to achieve and accomplish. Gone with the tides, just like the little story I want to recount here. In simple terms…

I am very lucky to have friends who are from Charleston. In this case, born and raised. My friend Witt Rabon is that Charlestonian (the name for someone born there, unlike myself- a Yankee Carpetbagger…) Through the guidance and friendship of Witt, he introduced me to a couple of gentlemen who look like they stepped out of a mid-1970s rock and roll band. Friends of his, Thomas Cutler and Barry Foy, are on the cusp of great success within the very business that got Barry removed from civilization for ten years. Unfair? Absolutely when you consider people convicted of major financial crimes would serve much less time behind bars. The Last Prisoner Project is their deep métier.

A calling is something you learned from experience, not just read in books. That alone gives authenticity and a little something called lagniappe. That little something extra. And what would that be?

Read on for the answers to these clues. Gentlemen Smugglers, it’s now their success story…

Cheers! WB

Barry Foy of Gentlemen Smugglers cannabis brand
Barry Foy. Photo Credit Post and Courier, Charleston, SC.

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? How did you discover the plant? Do you have someone who introduced you to smoking in your family?

Barry Foy: My name is Barry Foy. I was born in Charleston, SC, but I’ve lived in many locations, from Canada to France to the Caribbean to NYC to the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. I grew up in a conservative Catholic family; my dad was a banker, and my mother was a nurse. My first encounter with the plant was the summer of Woodstock in 1969, right after high school graduation, when I smoked a joint with my buddy. I was the first and basically the only cannabis user in my family.  Man, I loved it right away and continued smoking through my first year of college. It didn’t take me long to realize the financial possibilities, and by the summer of 1970, I was selling pot from the back of a local bar in Columbia, SC, to the GIs at Fort Jackson basic training base before they were shipped off to Vietnam. Flash forward a dozen years, and I was running the East Coast, smuggling over 250 tons valued at close to $1 billion, which, of course, led to my crew becoming the main targets of Operation Jackpot, the first Presidential Sting in Reagan’s War on Drugs. I was eventually convicted under the Kingpin statute (§848) for running a continuing criminal enterprise smuggling marijuana and hashish into the US from Jamaica and Colombia. I served 11 years in prison from 1985-1996.

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me what you’re working on right now. For whom? Where? Do you focus on flower? Do you like indoor or outdoor grown cannabis?

Barry Foy: Currently, I’m working on building the Gentleman Smugglers cannabis brand with my team members Thomas Cutler, Kevin Harrison, and Gary Latham. We are based in Charleston, SC. At present, we are launching the brand in Massachusetts with our partner Root & Bloom, a state-of-the-art facility that handles cultivation, processing, packaging, and distribution. The last two years have been devoted to picking up where we left off – bringing the brand to the people and supplying premium product, only this time legally! My focus is on the flower because all products originate from the plant. Start with premium seeds and flower and you’re going to have a premium product in the end, whatever it may be. I personally prefer outdoor when available because organic soil and natural sunlight create a superior, flavorful product.

Gentlemen Smugglers 1074 promo poster
Photo Credit: Kevin Harrison

Warren Bobrow: What kind of obstacles do you face in your business? How do you anticipate removing them? What are your six and 12-month goals?

Barry Foy: As we all know, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. This places the burden on individual states to create regulations. This variation in laws from state to state causes obvious complications. It looks like the US Congress is close to passing legislation in 2023 that will clear up the ambiguity caused by these state-level differences. Having said that, we have an authentic story to tell, and I think it will resonate. Our six-month goal is to establish the Gentlemen Smugglers brand of premium flower and pre-rolls in the Massachusetts market. Within 12 months, we hope to launch the brand in New York and New Jersey and expand the product line into edibles, vapable concentrates, and beverages.

Warren Bobrow: What is your favorite cuisine or restaurant? Do you cook? What’s your favorite thing to prepare? Why?

I have always enjoyed fine cuisine and have a special place in my heart for the Southern specialty known as Shrimp and Grits. After spending a decade in prison and having friends who never made it out, I really savor a good meal. I love food and, having owned a restaurant in Charleston, can serve it up with the best of them! Using fresh local shrimp, heads off, I sauté them with butter and garlic for no more than one minute. The grits need to be stoned ground yellow grits cooked slowly with water and butter and finished with heavy cream. Serve the shrimp atop the grits with a side of sliced and chilled Johns Island tomatoes with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Pair this with a Belle Glos Clark and Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir.  Bon Appetit!

Warren Bobrow: What is your passion?

Barry Foy: My passion is and has remained the same for 40-plus years: to bring premium cannabis products to the masses. From the Blue Mountains of Jamaica to the Sierra Madres in Colombia, South America, I’ve always taken the high road and gone the extra mile to find and procure the best cannabis. As we developed the Gentlemen Smugglers brand, it was important to lean into the legacy of what I did so many years ago – to that end, our first Sativa-leaning treat is called High Tide, and our first Indica-leaning delight is called Low Tide, so named because the tides were crucial to smuggling. On a personal level, it’s critical to give back, and we recently partnered with the Last Prisoner Project to support ending needless incarceration for nonviolent marijuana crimes. Down the line, I want to develop specific Gentlemen Smugglers cultivars but for right now, I’m all about working with the best partners in the business to help our friends out there enjoy great flower. And you can always count on me to deliver.

Articles Recipes

Dawn To Dusk Drinking: Madeira, Hamilton and Betsy Schuyler

Dawn To Dusk Drinking: Madeira
Warren Bobrow (Leica M8)

Back in time- way before Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded on the Weehawken Cliffs, defending his perceived honor- the young officer served under General George Washington.  He was posted to the winter headquarters of the Continental Army in Morristown, NJ.  It was in this quaint village that Hamilton met with the young Betsy Schuyler. He made his intentions clear- and married her. All would have been well and good if it wasn’t for the vast quantities of potent fermented spirits that were poured down the gullet from dawn to dusk rendering even the stoutest gentlemen into a blithering idiot by late afternoon.

Read More At Forbes Magazine

Warren M. Bobrow: Author/Barman/Cannabis Alchemist


The Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail


Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour – Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail

Tuaca- Dark Rum from Atlantico- Angostura Bitters, Grade B Maple Syrup and charred citrus fruits make up this week’s cocktail experience.

The inspiration for this drink came during dinner a few weeks ago at the highly regarded modern American restaurant named Serenade; located in Chatham, NJ.

They prepare a cocktail that’s similar in scope, using sweet vermouth and chopped apples named the Chatham cocktail.

I love it.

In keeping with my twisted cocktail logic, I deepened the version served at Serenade by adding Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth, Tuaca- the savory Mexican Vanilla / Citrus Liqueur, Atlantico Dark Rum, a muddle of chopped, grilled citrus fruits (tangerine, orange, grapefruit) with Grade B (Dark Amber) Maple Syrup and finally a few dashes of Angostura Bitters with a splash of Perrier.

I call this drink the Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail in reverence to the coming week’s activities.

I’ll be traveling to Charleston, South Carolina to judge the Iron Cocktail Competition at the renowned Charleston Wine and Food Festival.

With regards to the Iron Mixologist competition I will be judging, William Grant & Sons is sponsoring this competition and the back bar will feature their entire portfolio (or most of it).  Their master mixologist Charlotte Voisey will be the master of ceremonies.  The competition is 3 rounds.  The 4 mixologists involved are Charleston locals and were the finalists in the Official Festival Mixologist Competition in January for the Festival featuring Milagro Tequila + Hendrick’s Gin.  They are:

Jon Calo of The Cocktail Club

Mick Matricciano of The Belmont (Mick won the competition in January + his cocktail will be featured at the opening night party)

Brent Sweatman

Evan Powell of Fish Restaurant


The first round will have all 4 competing against one another to create a specific themed drink (decided by Charlotte).  You and the other judges – Junior Merino, The Liquid Chef and Nicholas Polacchi, The Balvenie – will then narrow the finalists down to 3 who will then go to the next round to create a specific themed cocktail (decided by Charlotte).  The second round will continue like the first and the 3rd will be the final two.


The competition is from 4:00 – 5:00 PM on Friday, March 2, 2012 in the culinary village in Marion Square in the Palmetto Cheese Culinary Hub Tent.

If you are anywhere near Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, stop by and introduce yourself.

The Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail– is named for the surfeit of Spanish Moss that hangs gracefully from the “live oak” trees.


Atlantico Dark Rum

Tuaca Italian Liqueur

Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth

Angostura Bitters

Charred Citrus Fruits – combinations are up to you. Sear in a sizzling hot pan until crunchy, then muddled with the Angostura Bitters and Maple Syrup

Grade B (Dark Amber) Maple Syrup



In a sauté pan that is heated to smoking hot, sizzle the citrus fruits until nicely charred and crunchy

Add a couple of chunks of the seared fruits to a cocktail mixing glass

Muddle with a few splashes of Angostura Bitters to release their aroma and juice

Add 2 Tablespoons of Dark Amber Maple Syrup and muddle a bit more

Add 2 shots of the Atlantico Rum

Add ½ Shot of the Tuaca

Add a couple cubes of ice to the cocktail shaker

Shake and strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass

Garnish with a chunk of grilled citrus fruit and finish with a splash of Perrier for spark


Articles Recipes

Rebel Rouser or is it the Rabble Rouser?


Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour – The Rabble Rouser Cocktail

I just spent the past week down at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. This explains why there wasn’t a Friday cocktail last week. I was too busy. In between judging the Iron Mixology Competition and that lovely party at Nathalie Dupree’s home- time just slipped away from me. Maybe it was the soft Southern accent, or the Antebellum architecture.

Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the lovely luncheon I enjoyed at Martha Lou’s Kitchen, feasting on a fried pork chop with a side of textbook macaroni and cheese- I’m getting hungry all over again. Almost makes the 15- hour drive from New Jersey to Charleston and 16 hours to return home worth while.

If you are ever in Charleston, South Carolina- please visit Martha Lou’s Kitchen over on Morrison Drive. Order the fried chicken or a fried pork chop.

Don’t deny yourself a large cup of sweet iced tea. It’s so sweet that your teeth will ache for days afterwards and if you have the chance, please say hello to Martha Lou for me.

She’s a true American treasure- Don’t let Saveur Magazine tell you that- they did already.

This leads me to the cocktail of the week. It is called the Rabble Rouser. Not because I am one- perhaps in a small way, yes I am- more of a Rebel Rouser than a true dyed in the wool Rabble Rouser- but I digress. This cocktail is better enjoyed by the bucketful. In a crowd? Certainly yes.

I like to stir things up. It is my métier.

Cocktails like this one can create a certain tension. This means to an outsider, to stir up trouble. I’ve always said of myself- trouble finds me.


Rabble Rouser Cocktail

1. 2 shots Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey or your choice of Bourbon

2. 1 shot Lucid Absinthe or your choice of Absinthe

3. Regan’s Bitter (citrus) a couple of shakes or Fee Brothers Orange Bitters

4. Grade B Maple Syrup a few drops

Preparation: To a cocktail shaker add ½ with ice.

Add the Bourbon to the Absinthe

Add bitters and maple syrup

Shake and strain into a short cocktail glass.

(Similar to a Sazerac)

Articles Recipes

The Second Thing I Ever Published. The Saveur 100 (#30)

Tuna Melt originally published in Saveur Magazine.

Tuna Melt Canape
Enlarge Image Photo: Todd Coleman
I’ll never forget the tuna melt I used to have at the Woolworth’s lunch counter on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina: buttered white bread, browned to a crisp on a flattop grill; freshly made tuna salad dotted with diced celery and Georgia sweet onions; American cheese melting out the sides of the sandwich; and a side of Lay’s potato chips and slices of bread-and-butter pickles. I’ve re-created that classic tuna melt at home, and I’ve also made lots of other variations using different kinds of bread, cheese, and condiments. The results are always tasty. (See Tuna Melt Canapés.) —Warren Bobrow, Morristown, New Jersey