Blogging about booze for The Huffington Post

As of this week, I’ve joined HuffPo as a blogger, specifically on the subject of booze. I’m still not sure about the whole writing for free thing,  but people who think a lot more about branding and self-promotion than I do assure me that raising my profile/traffic/whatever is a good thing. OK then.

This is my page at The Huffington Post.

Only one post so far, but it’s a start … here’s an idea: You could subscribe to the RSS and check regularly.


Introducing my new booze blog

Ladies and gentlemen, it brings me great pleasure to announce my new booze blog, That Sweet Burn.

Some of you may have noticed my links to the site via Twitter, Facebook and so on already, and have asked what it’s all about. This post explains it.

The name is of course a reference to the tickle and sting that accompanies a swig of the finest hooch.

I’m not sure the interweb necessarily needed a whole new booze site, as there were plenty of fine ones to begin with (check out the blogroll over there). But I just had so many thoughts about beer and cocktails and liquor, and only one chance a week to share them at The Appetizer over at the National Post. And whereas the Post is written for a general audience, TSB can delve into the geekier aspects of liquorology when I feel so inclined.

So there we are. I hope you enjoy.

P.S. I would be much obliged if you would do me the honour of following me on Twitter at @ThatSweetBurn.

P.P.S. I’ll be launching yet another blog here soon.

‘Bring a thirst to Nova Scotia and it will be slaked’: Update

Have you ever noticed how many microbreweries and wineries there seem to be in Nova Scotia these days? Not to mention a couple of small distilleries. Back in October, I went to the province to check out the booze scene, with an eye to writing a travel piece about drinking one’s way through Nova Scotia. Fun to do, fun to write.

Cool water seeps into my boots as Ben Swetnam guides me through the fine mist that lingers over the vineyard. It is an October morning, the height of harvest season at Avondale Sky Winery. Ben plucks a cluster of L’Acadie blanc grapes off the vine and hands them to me for a nibble.

Read about the trip here …

[UPDATE] … and about Ironworks Distillery here.

(Both photos by yours truly.)

A whisky odyssey for Burns Day

Glenfiddich Distillery Malt 15 Years Old

In today’s National Post I relate the story of the most wonderfully strange junket I’ve ever been on. It involved three days in Scotland, two in Denmark, a lot of whisky and plenty of insight into what makes Scotch whisky the beloved spirit it is.

To wit, one nugget I had to cut from the story for length: Male distillery workers will sometimes wear women’s grooming products. When you’re nosing 300 casks a day, explained Glenfiddich’s affable malt master Brian Kinsman, “You have to buy ladies’ deodorant. Unscented men’s doesn’t exist — or at least I haven’t found it.”

The principal lesson, however, was that marketing Scotch means being up for new ideas and adventures: trying venison with sticks, holding meetings in Malaysia and maintaining ties to quiet little whisky festivals in Denmark. Continue reading “A whisky odyssey for Burns Day”

Sept. 22: See what it’s like to get bored by George Clooney

For everyone who’s ever asked me what it’s like to cover the Toronto film festival, well, TIFF is now posting videos of the 2011 press conferences.

Embedded is the presser for The Descendants — I think that one took place Saturday, Sept. 10. Yes, I was there. What I remember is Clooney on his best (most polite) behaviour to date at one of these things, probably to set a good example for the kids.

So watch and you will see. What I give you as a reporter is 500 pithy words about what happened. The reality is that it’s 30-45 minutes in a room with people talking, and even if it’s George Clooney, it can get boring.

I bet you can’t stay interested long enough to watch the whole thing.