Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Scotch and Salad Diet and Zoraida Grey News

Two Exciting Things 

ONE: Before we talk about Scotch, I have to tell you  that the cover for Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is plastered on my computer right now. But I can’t share it until the book is available for pre-order. So here’s a blurry version just for fun.

Blurry Zoraida Grey 2

TWO: The official launch date is August 1 so she will be available for pre-order in a couple of weeks.

BONUS: I’m about 2 chapters shy of having Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes finished—that’s the solid draft that will sit and simmer for a couple of weeks before I give it another revision and send it off to betas and editors.

If you’ve betaed for me before, you should get an email from me around the end of June. You’ll also see the hubbub on my Twitter feed and on my Facebook page and in the next newsletter. It will be hard to miss. If you have not betaed for me but would like to, one way to get the latest news is to join the Moonlight and Mystery Street Team. Another way is to follow this blog and get the newsletter. Either way is fine. Just get in touch when you see the notice that ZG3 is ready for betas.

You’ll have a month or so to get your beta comments to me. Sorry for the short notice, but I really, really want this one out before the end of the year if possible so I am stepping up the process.

Anyway—On to the Regular Blog Post about Scotch and Salad

Today’s entry in the Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet is a healthy broccoli conglomeration and a surprising deviation from the smoke and iodine of my beloved Laphroaig.

Let’s begin with the salad. It’s easy and quick with homemade ranch dressing.

  • Broccoli—chopped. Don’t ignore the stems here. Chop them up as long as they are tender.
  • 1 small zucchini –chopped. Get a small, tender zucchini and don’t peel it.
  • 6 green onions—chopped. Use more if you like onions.
  • 2 large carrots—Do I need to say it—chop the little bastards right up.
  • 1 can of small black olives—I just crumble these with my fingers but you can leave them whole too.

Chop everything into small bits. You can see by the picture that this is a little like a confetti salad.

Scotch and Salad Diet_Broccoli Salad

For the dressing, take ½ cup mayo, ¼ cup sour cream, and less than ¼ cup buttermilk. Add 1 or 2 crushed cloves of garlic and a good handful of chopped parsley. A few chives or finely chopped green onions would not be bad, either. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more buttermilk to get it to the consistency you like.

Making your own salad dressing avoids the nasty artificial flavors, preservatives, and bits and pieces of ingredients with unpronounceable names. Choose your buttermilk, sour cream, and mayo wisely and you will have a salad dressing that won’t confuse your digestive system with indigestible chemicals.

Mix it all together and dish it up.

Now, the Whisky!

The whisky you see here is The 12 year Balvenie, Double Wood. Though it is not my beloved Laphroaig, you may notice the level of liquid remaining in the bottle is quite low. That is because this stuff is pretty good.

The Balvenie is a single malt Speyside whisky which just means it was distilled in the Strathspey area around the River Spey in northeastern Scotland. The Balvenie distillery is in Dufftown, Scotland, and is owned by William Grant and sons and has been since the late 1800s. According to their website, the Balvenie distillery is one of only a few distilleries which still have their own operational malting floor.

They bottle a 17-year-old version of the double wood. Different versions of whisky are called ‘expressions’ probably since the first thing you do when you taste whisky is get a certain expression on your face because if it is good, you can’t talk for a minute or two. I can’t afford to buy the 17-year-old expression but was happy to knock back a sample at a whisky tasting a few years ago. I remember its taste as fruity, vanilla-scented. In a previous life, I probably stole some from my landlord. It tasted like that.

$157 bottle of 17 year old Balvenie

What makes the double wood interesting is the way it is aged. For 12 years, this elixir stays in American ex-bourbon barrels and hogsheads. Next it is moved to Spanish oak ex-sherry casks where it remains for an additional 9 months. All this time, it’s soaking up the bourbon and sherry residues.  To finish it, the whisky spends 3 or 4 more months in oak vessels called ‘tuns’ to let the flavor qualities ‘marry.’

What you get is an exceptionally smooth and fruity libation. To someone who prefers the peaty monster Laphroaig, The Balvenie Double Wood goes down light and sweet with just enough spice to give it a good bite. All in all, a pleasant way to round out the evening.

While I call these little posts the Scotch and Salad Diet, I trust you to know the best way to enjoy a good single malt is not with a meal—but on the cool porch as the sun goes down well after the dishes are done and the children are put to bed. Rinse away the taste of dinner with cold water and repair to the veranda with your cairngorm glass and your bottle. Sip slowly, let it find its own way in its own good time as you contemplate a world where such fine things are allowed to exist.

What’s your favorite tipple? It’s fine if it isn’t Scotch. It’s fine if it isn’t alcoholic. It’s fine if the recipe involves the blood of your enemies. Basically, I just want to know what I should have in my bar in case the whole lot of you show up for my next book release party.

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