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Buck Mulligan’s

Buck Mulligan’s

Episode 29 – Whiskey and Books

Buck Mulligan’s

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This episode I am joined by Eamonn Hennessy, owner of Buck Mulligan’s, a Specialty Irish Whiskey Bar and Bookshop in the heart of Northcote.
Buck Mulligan’s is a lovely space with a cosy snug as well as a leafy courtyard. There are books for sale as well as some available for borrowing or reading whilst enjoying a drink. Eamonn joined me to share three of his favourite whiskeys and talk about his love of books and of whiskey!
 
The pairings:
 On the nose this is cinnamon and clove with succulent sweet caramel flavours. Complex
and spicy with sweet American bourbon notes. To taste it is robust single grain spices with a touch of cracked black pepper give way to a buttery vanilla and charred oak taste. It is long and satisfying, ending with a silky combination of oak and barley.
 
Thinking of what book to pair I was struck by the word satisfying and the sweetness of this whiskey.
This epic fantasy tells of a great and perilous quest undertaken to fight evil and to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord himself, and destroy the Ring of Power by casting it into the Cracks of Doom. This is a fabulously complex and yet utterly simple story. It is sweeping in scope and world-building, a whole language was created for this world too – Elvish – and whilst there is a darkness within this story there are so many sweet moments to cherish. It is one of the most satisfying books I have ever read.
I couldn’t help myself and chose a second book to pair with this delicious Irish whiskey!
 
 Dr Jonathan Murray fears his new-born daughter might not be as harmless as she seems. Sammy Agnew is wrestling with his dark past, and fears the violence in his blood lurks in his son, too.
The city is in flames and the authorities are losing control. As matters fall into frenzy, and as the lines between fantasy and truth, right and wrong, begin to blur, who will these two fathers choose to protect?
 An intense and complex read set in Belfast this is a thoroughly interesting, if somewhat violent, story, shot through with surrealist or magical realism elements that add a sweet undertone and of course, it’s Irish!
 
The nose opens with the slightest hint of apricot, coconut and plum, before revealing an intermingling of golden syrup and plum pudding. All wrapped in the spicy hint of cloves. Subdued and mouth filling. Orange marmalade overtones with characteristic rich nougat sweetness and well balanced oak. Rounded and well-finished, lingering to the very end. 
 
Eamonn chose a Victorian author to pair with this Victorian whiskey …
This was Eamonn’s pairing and his first lockdown read. The book begins with the question, ‘Must I write?’ What follows is both a chronicle of the images that have endured in the author’s mind, and an exploration of their nature. The clarity of the images is extraordinary, as is their range, from Mandrake the Magician to the bachelor uncle kicked in the ‘stones’ as a child, from the country cousin’s doll’s house to the mysterious woman who lets her hair down, from the soldier beetle who winks messages from God to the racehorses that run forever in the author’s mind, beyond the grasslands, to the place where the characters of fiction dwell before they come into existence in books.
On the nose this is powerful smoke, sweet malt, wet turf, coal. Develops chocolate & cinnamon.

Then we get full-bodied, rich and mouth-coating palate. Sweet gristy malt and rich peat, oak spice & tannin, woodsmoke, bbq seafood. Then coal appears mid-palate. To finish this is very long, sweet and smoky, with the coal lingering longest.

 
The circus arrives without warning, It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. A fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. So of course they soon tumble headfirst into love.
This book is not as dark and gritty as you might expect to pair with this whiskey but it is beautifully descriptive and is a story which lives in the night and the dark and speaks to the chocolate, the cinnamon, to the sweet, mouth-coating and spice flavours and is definitely a story which lingers. Like the peaty whiskey it’s paired with this is not a book I liked at first, but now it is one which I cannot forget.  
 
Because Justine can’t help herself she also paired this whiskey with The Fireman by Joe Hill …

A book about a plague which spreads through the ash of the fires it causes … perfect!

 

 And Eamonn also recommends the Inspector Rebus series by Ian Rankin as a perfect Scottish pairing with this Scottish whiskey! 
 

 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.        

 

Michael Earp

Michael Earp

Episode 28 – Author’s choice

Michael Earp

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This episode I am joined by bookseller and writer Michael Earp.

Michael Earp is the editor of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories and contributor to Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories. He has a teaching degree and a Masters in children’s literature and has worked between bookselling and publishing for over seventeen years as a children’s literature specialist. His writing has also appeared in The Victorian Writer and Aurealis.

We chat about recommending books, writing for young adults and of course, we pair some great reads with delicious things!
 
The pairings:
 
Identical twin sisters Summer and Winter live alone on a remote island, sheltered from a destroyed world. They survive on rations stockpiled by their father and spend their days deep in their mother’s collection of classic literature—until a mysterious stranger upends their carefully constructed reality.
At first, Edward is a welcome distraction. But who is he really, and why has he come? As love blooms and the world stops spinning, the secrets of the girls’ past begin to unravel and escape is the only option.
Michael asked his YA bookclub what they would pair with this book, but he didn’t like their answer and went with Scones with Peach Jam as he says of this book ‘It’s incredible how much can pivot on a scone …’
 

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

A fabulous recipe made in the book is Spatchcock chicken baked in duck fat with sourdough bread and Michael really started thinking about the sour in sourdough!

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

The 1989 Danvers Falcons are on an unaccountable winning streak. Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza, whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all, the DHS Falcons prove to be as wily and original as their North of Boston ancestors, flaunting society’s stale notions of femininity in order to find their glorious true selves through the crucible of team sport. 

This novel is a paean to the 80’s with big hair and Emilio Estevez the order of the day and it’s narrated collectively by all 11 players which is not a perspective I can remember ever reading before. Teen witchcraft slash field hockey is not immediately a genre which I would normally be drawn towards, and yet I knew I would love this book from the moment when the team members pledge themselves to the forces of eternal darkness by signing their names into a spiral notebook with Emilio Estevez’s face on it. I too remember the 80’s and my love for Emilio will never die.

This is such a fun, whimsical and yet fairly dark book but its strength lies in its portrayal of the difficulties of being a teenage girl in the 80’s, as well as the ways in which the 80’s weren’t exactly the best time for girls, let alone people of colour or queer people. And its darkness is really the darkness at the heart of all of us, but most especially teenagers. They are cruel, they are mean but they are also loyal and they love hard It was a joy to read and the ending surprised me.

There is a scene where one of the players, Abby, is eating a raw beetroot on a bus as the girls all talk about sex, her lips are getting stained this blood red and with the witchiness and Halloween references in this I did think about pairing it with a Blood Beetroot Cocktail – which is beetroot lemonade, Aperol and Prosecco but regardless of whatever drink you have I think you’d want to be eating a pizza, your favourite pizza whatever that might be, as long as it’s not too fancy but is oily and cheesy and tasty, it’s what the team would want you to do so that’s what I will pair with this book:

A Blood Beetroot Cocktail and your favourite pizza!

 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.        

 

Christine Gordon

Christine Gordon

Episode 26 – Bookseller’s choice

Christine Gordon

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This episode I am joined by Christine Gordon, Programming Manager of one of Melbourne’s favourite independent bookshops.

Christine has been Programming Manager at Readings for over a decade and considers it the best job in Australia! She was one of the founding members of the Stella Prize, sits on the Readings Foundation board and has been a judge on various literary awards. She is passionate about Australian literature and ensuring that reading continues to allow endless possibilities for everyone.

We discuss Chris’s most delicious moment working at Readings, the origin story of the Stella prize, her top tip for recommending books and of course, we pair some fabulous books with tasty treats!

The pairings:

The Spill by Imbi Neeme

Winner of the 2019 Penguin Literary Prize

In 1982, a car overturns on a remote West Australian road. Nobody is hurt, but the impact is felt for decades.

Nicole and Samantha Cooper both remember the summer day when their mother, Tina, lost control of their car – but not in quite the same way. It is only after Tina’s death, almost four decades later, that the sisters are forced to reckon with the repercussions of the crash. Nicole, after years of aimless drifting, has finally found love, and yet can’t quite commit. And Samantha is hiding something that might just tear apart the life she’s worked so hard to build for herself.

Chris suggested room temperature Chardonnay and a frozen ham would pair perfectly with this book … and she thinks the author would agree!

 

State Highway One by Sam Coley

Winner of the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

It’s been years since Alex was in New Zealand, and years since he spent any one-on-one time with his twin sister, Amy. When they lose their parents in a shock accident it seems like the perfect time to reconnect as siblings. To reconnect with this country they call ‘home’.
As they journey the length of State Highway One, they will scratch at wounds that have never healed – and Alex will be forced to reckon with what coming home really means.

Room temp again but beer or vodka this time with a burger – no veggies in sight – is Chris’s pairing with this heartbreaking novel.

 

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Luc O’Donnell’s rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc is in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating.

Justine thinks brunch and a peach Bellini would be the perfect pairing for this light, bright, fizzy romp of a tale!

 
 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.