Twice in AN INVITATION TO SCANDAL, I have the hero, Nicholas drinking a bourbon.
This is a pretty neat trick on my part (you’ll notice I said trick and not gaffe, although I think we both know which one it really was…). You see, near as I can tell, bourbon wasn’t around in England in the 1820s, which is when my story takes place. As it turns out (and I get this straight from Wikipedia, who apparently I should have consulted before I hit the ‘publish this now’ button), bourbon is a type of American whiskey. And while it has been produced since the 18th century, the name bourbon wasn’t in use until the 1850s.
What Nicholas should have been drinking was brandy.
Not to say he wouldn’t have enjoyed a good bourbon, I’m sure he would have. But to do so would have required a fast trip forward in time to another continent and somehow that seems like a bit of a nuisance when one could simply pour oneself a brandy and be done with it.
So when you come across the word bourbon, let’s just pretend I really said brandy, shall we? And in future, I promise to consult Wikipedia before I make my characters drink anything else.