Does Whiskey Make You a Better Writer? (Thanks Gary Vaynerchuk)

Yeah, yeah, any excuse to drink bourbon. Since Gary Vaynerchuk just retired his great Wine Library TV and Daily Grape, I had to pay him a little tribute, and also answer the pressing question about whiskey and writers.

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23 thoughts on “Does Whiskey Make You a Better Writer? (Thanks Gary Vaynerchuk)

  1. I prefer rum; does that mean there’s no hope for my writing?

    The homage to Gary V brings back memories of a frothy little Amazon review I read last night:

    “The palate has panache, with a firm, mineral acidity that cuts through a rather elegantly styled, poised meaty presence. As with most Chateau Deerbuster products, this has the signature leafy-fresh character, which softens into a slight rancid feel towards the end.”

    Granted, the review was for wolf urine (good as an animal repellent; not so good for writing), but I think you might be on to something with the bourbon angle. Why don’t you start your own video series and call it “The Bourbon Bookstore”? You could shoot some of the tasting reviews (no spitting) in small, independent, local bookstores, thereby championing two of your favorite causes. And the bookstores might parlay the event into a promotional mixer?

    Of course, for the cause, you and Alice might have to part with some of those bourbon-basted bings…

  2. Oh, Tom! What a riotous thing to try…I’d be on the floor at the end!

    My fav line out of the many delicious ones: “For a bourbon that really has a little kick on the proof scale, very smooth, very drinkable.”

    The thing is, I’d like to see an even more rigourous test of your hypothesis. Before the effects on you of these bourbons wear off- which should take until well into football season- can you try this in terms of writing limericks? Classic ones, that stipulate rhyming the word “Nantucket”?

    You can write the sober version at Thanksgiving, well before the meal starts.

  3. Annie, I prefer wolverine urine to wolf—it has a glandular muscularity, with just the right dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg. Bourbon tastings in bookstores would be good (Bourbon & Books! Literary Lush Loses Lunch in the Stacks!), but who’s going to pay for the stuff? I need a sponsor.

    I’m not parting with those cherries; in fact, a select one is going into tonight’s Manhattan. I will make one for you sometime and you will graduate from your rummy pirate phase.

  4. Rick, that’s why I didn’t taste FOUR whiskies. Then I probably would have knocked over the booze and the camera. I was wrong on the proof of Booker’s though—it’s about 125 proof, rather than 140, but it still has a mule kick. Though it’s an affectionate mule.

    As for your limerick challenge:

    There was a sprightly gal from Nantucket
    Who got in a tussle with Little Miss Muffet
    The wenches employed pinches
    Their faces squinched up like grinches
    Both squabbling banshees who liked to rough it

    Thank God I’m not trying to earn a living this way…

  5. “And if you thought I was gonna spit out that whiskey . . . ” was snort-worthy.

    I’m looking forward to having someone buy me some experimental whiskey real soon. I could use it.

    I’ll vote for a real-time experiment. It could be as much fun as bacon beer . . .

  6. No no no. Wouldn’t even consider it. With whiskey, all is safe and sound.

    Read the other day that the currently accepted spelling is to add the “e” in countries which have an “e”, but leave it out in countries that don’t (that is, countries which make the product: America, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, etc.)

  7. Well, Joel, as the master of the missing punctuation, you’d know best about absent letters. I know the Scots have always shooed away the “e,” and their booze is older than ours, so maybe we upstarts just had to distinguish it in some way.

    From Whiskey is a shortened form of usquebaugh, which English borrowed from Irish Gaelic uisce beatha and Scottish Gaelic uisge beatha. This compound descends from Old Irish uisce, “water,” and bethad, “of life,” and meaning literally “water of life.”

    Water of life? Rick, that brings it full circle to Dune. Which is a lot easier to pronounce than “usquebaugh.”

  8. The Bene Gesserit! Yay!
    There will now be a character in The Sorrow of the Last Lemon named Aethelswith UsqueBaugh, and she’s gonna be smokin’ hot. And so smart; methinks I’ll make her a prominent economist. Who never ever spits out her whiskey.

  9. I do like a whiskey-sippin’ gal, Rick. And smart and hot doesn’t ever hurt. I don’t know any number-gargling economists, but I think I’d be happy to know Aethelswith. (Would the short form be “Ethel,” but a bit more aesthetic?)

  10. Tom, the female Saxon given name “Aethelswith” is well over a thousand years old, as it predates the Norman Conquest, and they’re STILL struggling to find a dimunitive for it.

    Perhaps I shall have a scene in which, reasoning that it will help in her quest to get the regressive males of her day to take her more seriously, she gets her long flowing hair cut rather short. After which she is nicknamed for her hairstyle: “Bob”.

  11. Someday internet archaeologists will research dentistry in the early 21st century and discover that it made your conversational skills incisive, yet random.

    If they towed Aethel behind a boat, would they call her Skip? Drop her in a hole in the road and call her Phil? Hang her on the wall and call her Art? Or include her twin, and call them Curt ‘n’ Rod?

  12. I hope you heard about the local kids knocking on the Smith’s door, asking if Johnny could come out because they were playing baseball.

    Mrs. Smith said “You boys know Johnny’s a quadraplegic; he can’t play baseball” and they said “Yeah, we know. We wanna use him for second base.”

    In other news, I just can’t seem to connect “Balthazar” and “Triscuit” but the, maybe that’s the point.

  13. I’ve been to Serendipity, New York. It’s hot, it’s dry, and they have lots of great soft ice cream stands with all kinds of wonderful toppings. Hence, the town’s name…

  14. Bernd, what a pleasure to see you in this part of the world! Thanks for freshening the comments on this booze-besotted post, and my very best to you in 2014!

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