Well, it’s the beginning of a new year and I hope everyone had wonderful holiday celebrations. Whether your New Year’s Resolution is to stop drinking (or better yet to start), I think EveryDay Drinking by Kingsley Amis is a very appropriate book for the occasion. It’s an oldie (written in the 70’s), but like bourbon, it gets better with age. I would have said wine, but Amis was never really fond of it. If you’re like Amis, he includes a section on how to fake your way through a wine list.
Everyday Drinking can easily be read in one sitting; however, there is a little bit of repetition that might irritate the avid reader, especially if said reader is sober. But the reason I adore the book is because Amis has a dry humor that I find hilarious. He ridicules everyone, Canadians, the Irish, Americans, piña colada drinkers, and wine snobs who deserve their ridicule neat. The book is divided into three main parts, each of which make it a perfectly entertaining keepsake.
Part One: On Drink is basically the how-to section. It contains numerous recipes of drinks for every need, what tools you’ll need to make those drinks, and when to drink them. I have yet to try one, but it’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions to work my way through them, think of it as a drunken Julie and Julia. My first will be:
Paul Fussell’s Milk Punch (one part brandy, one part bourbon, four parts milk, plus nutmeg and frozen milk cubes)
To be drunk immediately on rising, in lieu of eating breakfast. It is an excellent heartener and sustainer at the outset of a hard day: not only before an air trip or an interview, but when you have in prospect one of those gruelling nominal festivities like Christmas, the wedding of an old friend of your wife’s or taking the family over to Gran’s for Sunday dinner.
On Drink also gives sure fire ways to avoid/cure hangovers. I won’t share them with you now because I want you to read the book for yourself.
General Principle 9: He who truly believes he has a hangover has no hangover.
Part Two: Every Day Drinking is a series of short articles originally printed in newspapers. This is where the repetition kicks in, so I recommend not reading them all in a row. Read them in small doses, or in between cocktails.
Part Three: How’s Your Glass is full of quizzes about different types of alcoholic beverages. The earlier quizzes are fairly easy if you’ve been paying attention, but they get harder as you go along. I suggest you take the quizzes after a drink or two. The Asian in me thoroughly enjoyed this part.
The worst thing I can say about this book is that it might make you want to drink and it will help make you good at it too. So if you’re just beginning your journey through the world of alcohol, I leave you with this advice:
If asked what you think [about the wine], say breezily, ‘Jolly good,’ as though you always say that whatever it’s like. This may suggest that your mind’s on higher things than wine, like gin or sex.