Today I’m sharing with you a dilemma.
In my sequel to Rosalyn’s Ring, currently in final revisions, I have a scene where the heroine tells the hero to bring her whiskey instead of brandy. Or does she want whisky? (Head scratch here.)
I fear that Regency Purists will tell me she must have the brandy. But she suspects the kindly hero has laced the proffered brandy with a medicinal dose of laudanum, and she wants to keep her wits about her.
So—keep up with me here—I have two issues: would she drink whiskey or whisky, or brandy?
Let’s start with the whiskey/whisky dilemma first. Whisky is produced in Scotland, Canada, and Japan, whiskey in Ireland and the United States. We’ll dispense with Canadian, Japanese, and U.S. whisky/whiskey. My hero’s liquor stock included none from those sources. (I peeked.) But what about whiskey/whisky from the British Isles?
Hmmm. Bushmills is a very old and very good Irish brand, but there’s some indication they were on a hiatus in the Regency period. In any case, the English and Irish were so often at odds, I’m going to say the hero stocked whisky, so on to the next issue—whisky or brandy?
I have always wondered why the Regency folks whipped out a bottle of brandy for libations. My limited research reveals that brandy, distilled from wine, was the spirit of choice until the 1880s when a beetle infestation devastated French vineyards. While the French wine industry recovered, the wily Scots slipped in and made Scotch whisky the spirit of choice.
But in 1817, we are well before Scotch supremacy. So would my heroine Annabelle ask for a fresh untainted glass of brandy, or might she demand a whisky?
She is from the north, an off-the-shelf spinster with a nice inheritance and no family to boss her around. Can we suppose she’s heard that a good dose of uisge beatha, Scottish Gaelic for “water of life”, is the cure for all ails?
Yes, I say. And I’m the author.
Comments or suggestions, anyone? I’d love to hear them!