How to Booze Right: A Reddit Ask Me Anything With Troy Patterson

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
March 20 2013 6:28 PM

All of Your Drinking Questions Answered

A Reddit Ask Me Anything with Slate TV and drinks columnist Troy Patterson.

Troy Patterson
Troy Patterson

Photo by Christina Paige

Slate’s TV, drinks, and “Gentleman Scholar” columnist Troy Patterson responded to questions on Wednesday about his favorite drinks, his least favorite TV show, and his thoughts on Mulholland Dr. during an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Troy Patterson Troy Patterson

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

Xhotas: Tell me something that I probably won't believe is true about your work or that is about 90 percent true with one small lie in it that I'm probably not going to believe anyway. You have been asked.

Troy Patterson: I wrote half of my Game of Thrones review with my right hand while holding a 5-month-old boy in my left.

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Xhotas: ... Well done.

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iamaredditer: In your opinion, why does it seem that lately cable TV programming originals are superior to the crap that NBC, ABC, and Fox are pushing on us?

Troy Patterson: Economics. Broadcast TV has to reach a wide audience in order to make money. Cable networks succeed commercially by reaching audiences that are, though smaller, more precisely targeted in terms of demographics. Relieved of the pressure to appeal to everybody, the people behind good cable shows enjoy more artistic freedom.

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Jack_Arnott: Hi Troy, are you dismayed by negative comments following your posts? Are there more now that we can all see them? Or were things just as bad when you got only emails and snail mail?

Troy Patterson: I am generally not dismayed. I'm confident that I'm an excellent writer, a pretty good critic, and a very clever reporter. If a particular article is not up to my usual standard, then I have already made peace with that, or not. I'm aware that haters are going to hate. I believe that I'm probably not doing my job properly unless I'm pissing some people off. A recent exception to these rules: I wasted a day and half on Twitter fretting about a reader who tweeted that I'd lost her respect by saying that I'd enjoyed Seth MacFarlane's Oscars.

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thecheetah: Is there a cure for the person who finds Campari repulsive, despite many efforts to acquire the taste?

Troy Patterson: Aperol?

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DavidHaglund: Do you have a favorite TV show? And why do you not love the very best American miniseries of the last several years (Mildred Pierce and Top of the Lake)?

Troy Patterson: Hello, David!

My usual answer is Twin Peaks. But I wonder, since Mulholland Dr. began life as a pilot, whether that would work for an answer.

Mildred Piece and TOTL are snoozy to me, but the latter at least has the virtue of eeriness.

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insertcleverphrase: I like generic gin and tonics. Am I a bad person?

Troy Patterson: Oh, maybe, but probably not for reasons having to do with your drink. I'm going to write about G&Ts in the summer. What are your preferred brands? Garnish? Any pet peeves?

insertcleverphrase: Bombay Sapphire has always been my favorite. I don't really care about garnishes. Any suggestions for better gin and garnishes that go well with them?

Troy Patterson: I haven't really tested this theory, but I think that a G&T made with relatively cheap gin and fancy-ass high-end tonic will generally be superior to a G&T made with high-end gin and the usual supermarket tonic. Might be interesting to try a key-lime garnish.

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spearfisher: What's the best drink to have at, say, 9:15 on a Saturday morning with a stack of pancakes and some sausages?

Troy Patterson: Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and an iced double americano with half-and-half and raw sugar.

But if you want something stiffer, I suggest the Corpse Reviver No. 2.

Also, there is a place in New York called Fort Defiance that claims to serve the best Irish coffee on the East Coast.

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Spot_Pilgrim: Your Game of Thrones review was so bizarre that I'm still not sure if it's just awful or if I was missing the joke. Two questions:

  1. Why did you review it if you were so predisposed to hate fantasy literature and the subculture? Why spend half of the review telling us that you're the wrong person to review it? Was David Plotz holding a gun to your head or something?
  2. What were you making fun of in that review? Game of Thrones? Renaissance fairs? I still cannot for the life of me figure out what you were satirizing. For instance: "The mail pile is a mystical tower from whence a series of UPS logos glint like the shields of a sun-addled phalanx ... " What? What is that a reference to?

Clearly I've spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about that review the past two years, especially considering I don't even like Game of Thrones that much. But even so, what gives?

Troy Patterson:

  1. I reviewed it because that's my job. I spent half of the review telling you that I was the wrong person to review it because I knew that taking that approach would be more interesting and more honest than pretending to be "objective."
  2. The quoted phrase was a straightforward description of my mail pile. There are no conscious references to anything else in that half of the sentence, but I chose "phalanx" in connection with a word puzzle.

Spot_Pilgrim: Fair enough. Thanks for the response. I do want to say that I like your work in general and am enjoying the “Gentleman Scholar” series.

Troy Patterson: Thanks!

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