Regarding Whiskey, Writing, and Life in General …

As so often happens in life, my new friend Victoria M. Patton and I crossed paths by chance.

Now, I know a lot of authors. I interact with a lot of authors. Most of them are female, since I started out in the romance genre. (That’s beginning to change, since I also write horror and fantasy. But for the time being, that’s still the norm.) And yep, when it comes to booze most of the authors I know talk about wine, or maybe mixed drinks.

But I’m Southern. I just don’t drink like that, you know? Beer n’ whiskey, baby!

So I was pleasantly surprised to hear a fellow romance author mention whiskey. I was like, WOO-HOO!!! We gotta chat, now!!! Victoria was kind enough to agree to a pleasant digital sit-down, over a couple glasses of whiskey.

Here … is that conversation!!!

WELCOME, Victoria, to! So, we’re authors! And therefore, not teetotallers. But what caught my eye was this: you don’t generally see female authors talking about whiskey. Usually, it’s rum, vodka or wine … so DO tell! What made you gravitate toward whiskey? What about that venerable beverage entices you?

Man, that is a good question. LOL. I had someone ask me if I wanted to try some Pappy Van Winkle. That did it. Of course, once you try that, you are kind of spoiled.

I’ve heard of that one, but never tried it. What is it? Rye? Bourbon? Scotch?

Pappy is buttery smooth, no burn. Bourbon. VERY expensive. I could never afford it. And hard to get. But that set in me motion to find whiskeys I could afford.

Ah! Bourbon, well … you speakin’ my language, now! Are you exclusively a bourbon drinker, or do you branch out?

I like every variation of whiskey … bourbons are my favorite and rye is my liquid of choice. I love Ryes.

I love Rye best in the summer, with its tangy flavor. What’s your favorite rye, and why? I’m gonna say Knob Creek, on my end.

Love Knob Creek. Love it. Jack Daniels has one of the best ryes … but … the best rye you will ever try is from the Banff Distillery in Banff, Canada. It is a clear rye AND NOT aged. and it is fabulous. Another rye that I love, and actually love all their whiskeys is Canadian Club.

Ah, I must research this! I have an easy time getting Canadian product where I live. I was actually introduced to rye with Jim Beam’s version, which isn’t half bad. It’s funny, I don’t like Beam’s flagship whiskey because it tastes oily to me, but I love a lot of their other products. Do you find a signifigant difference between ‘corporate’ whiskies and whiskies from smaller distilleries?

Not so much. But I think distilleries that focus on the whiskey … not the dollar … make the best whiskeys. I believe some rush the process and skimp on the ingredients.

I agree. So let’s back up a bit … what’s a ‘clear’ rye? I always thought of rye as a dark liquor. Might you explain?

Yes, when they are aged. When they are not, it is clear. I don’t know anyone else that has a clear rye other than Banff Distillery. MY GOD it is so good. I should have bought a shit ton to bring back because they have not been able to sell to the US yet. To get the color it is aged at a minimum of 2 years. You know that the oak used is what gives the whiskey the flavor. That is why so many buy Jack Daniels barrels and refurbish them to reuse.

Oh no! I did not know that. Now I’m on a mission from God to find some clear rye! So how do you drink your bourbon and rye? On the rocks? Straight up?

I like a little ice. Adding water to your scotch or whiskeys help release the aromatics and the flavors … I drink it fast enough that it doesn’t get watery. LOL too fast. I like it straight up too.

I am in the exact same camp with bourbon and rye! It just smells nicer when the ice mellows it a bit. Have you ever had a ‘rock n’ rye’? That’s 50/50 lemonade and rye, over ice. It’ll put you on the floor!

NO … but I will try it … LOL

You mentioned Canadian Club. I must confess, I haven’t developed much of a palate for Canadian whiskey. Being a native of the American South, they taste odd to me. So which Canadian whiskies do you like, and why?

I am currently drinking a Canadian Club 9 year reserve … it is great. Smooth with a hint of caramel and english toffee. My favorite canadian club is a 12 year small batch … that has a vanilla undertone and mixes very well with coke (Coke Zero for me) but it makes the coke taste like a vanilla coke … goes down way to easy.

Nice! Vanilla notes are why Wild Turkey 101 is my favorite bourbon. I have Tullamore Dew XO Caribbean in my tumbler … Irish whiskey, aged in Caribbean rum barrels. Straight up, warmed up in a coffee mug that I put in the microwave. So … how do you feel about the ‘old Irish,’ as my recently departed friend Gerry called it?

I love Irish whiskeys. Off the whiskey train … I love to Macallan scotch. That is for another discussion.

And you mentioned Coke. Yep, some whiskey purists would cry ‘foul.’ But honestly? Jack Daniels goes well with Coke. And I love Wild Turkey with Cheerwine. Cheerwine is an older precursor to Dr. Pepper, and sold primarily in the South. And YES, we are indeed moving toward Scotch! But in the meantime, do tell me about your favorite Irish whiskies!

I have had Tullamore … love that. Bushmills I like it becaue it has subtle notes not overpoweriing … I have had tons of Jameson … which I do love. I need to drink more Irish whiskeys. Rye I drink straight up … nothing added … but occasionally I want a whiskey and coke, or Vanilla Dr. Pepper.

Jameson is God’s gift to whiskey. It’s not too heavy, not too strong, and no one note is overpowering. It’s just … balanced. Have you tried Green Spot? I love that one, tastes like cloves and green apples. And I love Teeling, which tastes like watermelon with a buttery finish. So that begs the question … do you prefer fruity or spicy notes? And what finish do you prefer? Spicy, smoky, etc. …

When it comes to whiskey i prefer the vanilla, caramel and smoky flavors. The Canadian Club I am drinking now has caramel, english toffee, with nutmeg and cloves … the smell is fabulous … My husband can’t drink whiskey at all, but he said this particular one smells so good, he wishes he had a cologne with this smell. Here’s the thing for those that don’t drink whiskey and why I think they don’t drink it after one taste. When you first try a glass of whiskey, or scotch, it burns … because your tastes buds are not used to the alsohol and the pain receptors react as a fiery burn. But the more you drink whiskey you train those tastes buds to not react like that … thus the burn goes away. Once that happens, you begin to taste the notes of the whiskey …

Coffee and whiskey have this in common: people who won’t drink it still love the smell. And yes, it takes practice to calmly sip straight liquor without being overwhelmed by the burn. Only then do you taste the notes! So let’s talk Scotch. I hated it until I was thirty. I finally figured out the truth about Scotch: you get what you pay for. If it’s good, it ain’t cheap. If it’s cheap, it’s piss. So I didn’t appreciate Scotch until I hit my prime earning years and could afford the good stuff.

So I am not a huge scotch drinker … but occasionaly I will get some … unfortunately for my wallet, I prefer Macallan … and that adage you get what you pay for is so true … while a lot of the less expensive Macallan whiskeys are good, if you fork out 50 bucks for a shot, yeah … that is wonderful! My grandmother loved scotch. She would put a little water in it. I would drink it and die … but as I took more and more sips … it didn’t burn … that must have been where my love of whiskey started i just didn’t know it. Also, she used to make me hot totties when I was sick … which always had scotch in them. LOL. Not enough to get me drunk, mind you! LOL. Just a dribble to make me stop coughing and sleep. Prolly would go to jail for that now, but not in the 70’s.

Macallan 12 is around $60 American per bottle, which ain’t half bad. And yep, my granny gave me a spoonful of ‘medicine’ back in the eighties to make me sleep. Looking back? It kinda tasted like Old Crow … Sadly, my absolute FAVORITE whiskey is Johnny Walker Blue. $250 American a bottle. It’s always a birthday or Christmas present, but I love how complex it is. You put it over ice, and it tastes like dried fruit and nutmeg. Warm it up? Peat moss and smoke, very dark and earthy. Either way, I LOVE it!

My step father loved Johnny Walker.

Honestly, I don’t care for most of their product line … but the Blue Label is pure gold! So … you’re an author, as am I. Why is it, you think, that writers all have discount cards to their local liquor store? What is it about we do that makes booze such a loyal companion?

I’m not sure, but one time I talked about whiskey and writing … which is my website, go figure. And someone commented I am giving authors a bad name because I drink and write … l literally told him to fuck off. LOL … I drink whiskey because I like the taste. I write because I am no longer employable in the real world so I thought I could use my forensic chemistry degree and love of killers and make some money …

In my case, I think it’s because I’m a rather antsy person. If you look at my body of work, I clearly have adult ADD. Can’t keep me on topic for five minutes, you know? I’m like, ooh I wanna write THIS! K, now I’m done and I wanna write THAT! Booze turns down the volume in my head, you know? It helps me focus. I ain’t looking to get shit-hammered and fall down. I just wanna become someone other than my usual scatter-brained self. And yep, along the way you develop an appreciation for the art and talent that goes into crafting fine whiskies. So, to wrap up … is there anything else you would care to share with our readers?

Hm … When I write I usually only drink whiskey … I don’t get hammered, but sometimes I have several glasses … takes a lot to get me hammered, which I found out on my fiftieth birthday, LOL. But when I drink and write and I have my music on, my creativity seems to soar. I’m letting go of all the things that i might worry about. Should I say that, or should my character do this? I just seem to get into a groove and relax. I don’t drink whiskey to be cool or hip … it truly is the best drink out there. LOL. I never drink while editing. Just saying. I’m on my second glass of Canadian Club … I might need to write tonight …

It is indeed, which is why I snapped you up for an interview. You get it! And yes, as our boy Hemingway put it: ‘Write drunk and edit sober!’ THANK YOU so much for gracing my humble page today, and I wish you all the best with your writing!


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