February 10, 2009

Cocktail Talk: Everyday Drinking

There are good drink writers, and then there’s Kingsley Amis. Okay, that’s oversimplifying, but if I underline “writers” above I may take some of the oversimplification out of the equation (of course, that’s like saying I’m taking the buttermint out of the Drowsy Chaperone–probably doesn’t make much sense to any right minded sort). Mr. Amis (sadly departed, meaning I’ll never get to have that drink with him I’d like to have had. Though reading him while drinking at least gets us cocktail communing on some level) might not always have the, umm, intense bartenderly craft approach that some do, as he’s focused mostly on drinking at home, and also didn’t have the reach of ingredients as we do now (and in addition because a lot of pomp probably didn’t stir his drink), but the writing reaches such a fun, engaging, and just damn good height that I find myself forgetting I’m on the bus when reading it on the bus. And laughing out loud lots, and thinking I could take almost every sentence (or, if not every sentence, every other one) and pull it out for a quote that each drinker I know must read. Which means I’ll probably have more from him up on the site, which means you can think of this particular quote as the opening liquid salvo before a long night’s imbibing. This is from the first book in his drinking triptych (all three of which are collected in Everyday Drinking), On Drink, from the beginning of the chapter entitled, “The Boozing Man’s Diet:”


The first, indeed the only, requirement of a diet is that it should lose you weight without reducing your alcoholic intake by the smallest degree. Well, and it should be simple: no charts, tables, menus, recipes. None of those pages of fusspottery which normally end–end, after you have wasted minutes ploughing your way through–“and, of course, no alcohol” in tones of fatuous apology for laying tongue to something so pikestaff-plain. Of course? No alcohol? What kind of people do they think we are?


–Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

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