A vow, and today’s mail

This just in: I’m hereby vowing to be a better blogger. I look at people like Joy the Baker who, by the way, is a real woman with a real life, and I think, How do people find the time?

Answer: They make the time. And the people who read their blogs are happier for it. As it looks like I have some new readers thanks to this little piece in the Chicago Reader (!), I’m going to make the time. Please hold me to it!

Meanwhile, for the new folks, here’s a fun-fact: I get a lot of mail. (Which I always post on Instagram.) It’s usually in the form of boxes of booze, which is kind of like celebrating Christmas on a weekly basis. Sometimes the FedEx guy/lady knocks on my door with a load that looks like this:


This is a little unusual. But there’s definitely three boxes’ worth of stuff happening right now, and their contents are all pretty awesome. In fact, while we’re on the subject of Christmas (we weren’t, really, but now we are again), these three boxes kind of represent the three ghosts of Christmas…if we can swap out the word¬†Christmas for assignments, and swap in the word booze for ghosts.¬† Or something. Stay with me.

Box #1, the smallest, is like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (aka Booze of Assignments Yet to Come):


This li’l buddy is one of the products I’m considering writing about this fall, when it hits shelves. For anyone who’s a fan of Knob Creek, heads-up. I’ll let you know how it is.

Box #2 contained the Booze of Assignments Past:


I did a big story on Irish whiskey for the Chicago Tribune a month or so back, and Kilbeggan invited me & a few other folks to check out its newly reopened distillery outside Dublin. I fly next week (!) and am so excited. This box contained my itinerary & some travel essentials–like a flask, and whiskey to put in it. (Very essential.)

Box #3 represents the Booze of Assignments Present:


The giant box contained the first of several deliveries of sake that I’m expecting in the next few days. I’m doing another big roundup for the Tribune, this time focusing on the crazy-huge category of so-called rice-wine…which isn’t wine at all. (Its production process is actually much closer to beer, so please start circulating the phrase rice-beer ASAP.) It’s totally overwhelming, but I’m learning a lot.

(Story of my life.)