Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Knot: It's a Sipper...

I don't pretend to be an authority on alcohol, but I do consider my tastes more extreme than your average tosser. I prefer Guinness, Smithwicks, Spaten Optimator and dark brews compared to the rest of them, though I will readily accept your hospitality whatever you put in front of me, thank ya kindly.

My visits to vineyards will expose me as a novice, but like my beer, I fancy the dark side, though I'm agreeable to the full range of whites, chablis and roses along with the cabarnets, merlots and pinot noirs. Mostly, it's all about the experience of what life has to offer, you know?

When it comes to whiskeys and liquers, I'm not a hardcore shooter, but I do throw some back in spots. I've had some hellacious run-ins with straight-up moonshine and then there's the nefarious "Green Death," which put me face-first in the snow many years ago. I still haven't lived that incident down. Jack might be my average favorite as I used to cover gigs at a long-perished Baltimore club, Thunderdome, and I chatted up one of their female bartenders frequently. I also tipped her high because she made my Jack and Coke with a heavy hand, God bless her.

I love me some Bailey's and I'm rather keen on martinis. Vodka's been a good pal of mine through the years and I will thank you for a screwdriver or a Black Russian any day.

Then we come to The Knot. It's 100 proof Irish whiskey with a sweet, vanilla chaser that sticks to the palette after the initial ting. A buddy of mine turned me on to this stuff and apparently Santa decided I could use some extra Daddy's Little Helper this Christmas since I found a bottle snug in my stocking. You better watch out, I think he joked in ear as I slept Christmas Eve.

I've read various opinions on The Knot out there, the most incredulous being some whiskey expert who thinks it's more tailored for women. The women I've seen sampling The Knot have all waved at their tongues and commented how delicious it was, but not for them. As for the men who've tried it in my presence, we all agree this is some mighty fine booze. I think of it as a mix of scotch, tequila and Grand Marnier with a tasty finish. Understand, though, this will light up your guts if you're foolish enough to shoot it.

To the gentleman whose liver must be rather unsightly at this time, not all of us think The Knot's a girlie drink, boyo...

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