• How did Blood & Whiskey Studio — a custom-printing business based on Peaks Island — get its name? "We originally called ourselves 'Puppies & Sunshine' but that seemed a little too tame," says proprietor Alfred Wood. "There may have been whiskey involved in the creation of the name, but I don't recall any blood." Featuring hand-printed shirts that riff on themes like "Circus" and "Woods," the designs are distinctly new-Maine: playful, nostalgic, and original all at the same time. No whiskey or blood are employed in the shirt-making process, but Wood says "experimenting with dyes and multi-layered colors yields some unexpected results. Watch for some fun jeans this spring!"
•Did you know there's a Whiskey Island, Maine? It's a tiny thing, one of 80 islands in Moosehead Lake, just to the east of the much larger Deer Island. One assumes that you must drink whiskey if you step ashore, so bring a flask.
•Speaking of which, consider these local spins on whiskey cocktails:
"Remember the Maine" (a reference to the USS Maine, which sank under suspicious circumstances in a Havana, Cuba harbor in 1898 — an event that precipitated the Spanish-American War, inspiring the chant: "Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!"): Combine 2 oz. rye whiskey, 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth, 2 bar spoons cherry liquer, and 1/2 bar spoon absinthe. Stir vigorously and enjoy.
At Rowley's Whiskey Forge blog (matthew-rowley.blogspot.com), we learn about the "Maine Julep" — an offensive riff on the traditional mint-bourbon-sugar-water combo. Rowley dug up the following anecdote, written by one Irvin S. Cobb in 1938: "And once, in Farther Maine, a criminal masquerading as a barkeeper at a summer hotel, reared for me a strange structure that had nearly everything in it except the proper constituents of a julep. It had in it sliced pineapple, orange peel, lemon juice, pickled peaches, sundry other fruits and various berries, both fresh and preserved and the whipped-up white of an egg, and for a crowning atrocity a flirt of allspice across that expanse of pallid meringue." We'll stick with the traditional julep, thank you.
•The Maine-Anjou breed of cattle, which originated in France, is primarily raised for beef production; the cows are often red and white. One particular bloodline of the Maine-Anjous is the Irish Whiskey — often used to breed more cattle with desirable traits.
•Have you checked out the Wool Wood and Whiskey blog (woolwoodandwhiskey.com), maintained by local freelance writer Joseph Conway? It's "a catchall for inspiration and creative fixations and, when it comes down to it, my love for the place I live," he writes, full of nostalgia and nature, craftsmanship and surfboards. And yes, a drab of whiskey as well.