She took a sip, bracing herself, but the liquid went down smooth as silk, with the full-body of a fine brandy. Not until it had settled in her stomach did she realize the kick it had. She gasped and her eyes began to tear. But a fluttering warmth spread through her and the sour taste was finally gone. The liqueur held a faint bouquet of honey and herbs, of a field of wildflowers. It was like drinking a piece of summer and for a moment she almost thought she could hear the buzz of bees, feel the heat of a hot summer’s day.
‘Wow,’ she said and peered into the mouth of the flask. She caught a glimpse of a light, yellowish-amber liquid. ‘What is this stuff?’
‘Metheglin,’ the man told her. ‘A kind of Welsh whiskey made from hops and honey. Have some more,’ he added when she started to hand the flask back.
Ellie did, this time rolling the liquid around in her mouth before finally swallowing it. She looked down at the flask, noting the fine filigree worked into the metal before her eyes teared up again. She drew in a sharp breath, savoring the bite of the cold as it hit the roof of her mouth.
‘So where would you find it in a liquor store?’ she asked. ‘Under whiskeys or…you said it was made from hops. That’s like beer, right?’
Except she’d never tasted either a whiskey or a beer that was this good.
Excerpted from his Forests of The Heart novel
Our special edition on this author can be found here.