Irish Whiskey and Water

When we last met here, you were humouring my rambling on at unprecedented length and pretentiousness about fermented horse milk. Let’s maybe settle back down with something a little simpler.

Drugged drinks are a bit of a theme throughout Pynchon, if one we’re mostly yet to tackle here. Beer spiked here with LSD, there with opium; toxic eggnog; mysterious punch… Aboard Gravity’s Rainbow‘s Anubis, more of the same is going on. Slothrop spots the Baron de Mallakastra slipping “a sinister white powder into the highball of Mme. Sztup.” Slothrop’s own deckside drink is “nominally Irish whisky” (p. 463), though he has his suspicions.

Given that we’re aiming here for something with less potential toxicity than sour horse milk, I’m going to go ahead and assume Slothrop’s whiskey and water is unadulterated and take my own the same. The water is adulterant enough.

My Irish whiskey (Pychon errs in spelling it without the e) is a bottle of Slane a friend gave me at a party a few months back. I’ve watered it with a great honking ice cube and a maybe quarter shot of extra water. The aroma is sweet and cakey. The taste brings more of that desserty goodness, light honey on the front, cream and sponge cake, then a deep toasty caramel on the back. There’s some sherry-like dark fruits lurking in there too, dates and prunes. Slothrop’s addition of water really helps this open up into something at once easy drinking and complex, satisfying. Who knows what further complexities a bit of sinister white powder might have brought to the table.

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