There isn’t much room for overlap when it comes to writing about spirits and taking care of a child. Thankfully, booze tasting/writing is generally an evening activity and baby-raising takes place in the daytime. But once in a while, I get to combine the two. The best tasting I’ve ever done was a one-on-one with Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell — well, one-on-one if you count the couple of PR folks who were assigned to me and the one who was placed on Weevy duty. Jimmy’s been in the business for close to 60 years now, and he’s a big, rotund, 100% down-home Southern gent. A totally charming guy. While Jimmy and I munched on chicken sandwiches and sampled the line of Wild Turkey bourbons and ryes, Weevy played with her toys on the floor, joined by the designated publicists. She was in her babbling phase at the time, and transcribing the conversation was a bitch, as she was a lot louder than either Jimmy or I. The projected article never came to pass, though — the PR company had a talk with Wild Turkey and thought that perhaps an article about a whiskey tasting with a baby in the room wasn’t the best publicity for them or me. Especially since I wound up more than a little tipsy by afternoon’s end — the one time I’ve broken my vow to never drink while on solo Weevy duty. (Hangovers, though, are another story entirely.)
Every few months Weevy and I make a pilgrimage to the office of one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, in the spirits industry or otherwise. He’s the president of a small company that mainly deals in wine and high-end whiskey, and he’s gracious, humble, and incredibly generous with his time and whatever else he has. When we visit, he pretty much suspends all work in the office and puts everyone at our beck and call — that’s how it seems, anyway. Weevy is given full run of the office, a lavish spread is laid out in the conference room for everyone to enjoy, and he even goes and buys toys and books for Weevy, although she generally has more fun with the phones — she’s placed at least a few calls by accident. Of course, the inevitable “Have you tried this whiskey yet? Well, you have to!” happens every time, but I somehow manage to keep it in check. For Weevy’s sake, you understand — when I go out to dinner with him, I inevitably wind up fairly bombed. Weevy paid him the ultimate honor by pooping at the office. Understand, this girl NEVER poops anywhere she isn’t comfortable. It’s like a stinky badge of honor.
It’s been too long since I brought Weevy to a booze event, but it’s that time of year. The invites are coming fast and furious. And I must admit she’s a pretty charming plus-one.