How to Drink

Any fool can get drunk.

But as I’ve said on occasion, you’re not drinking a Martini to do that. It deserves better than, she’s a classy girl.

By all means get some perspective on life, open up some doors in your mind, but keep yourself tidy.

Too much craft has gone into the distilling and crafting of the ingredients, and the cocktail, to just knock it back.


But I’m no spoil-sport, and come Friday evening after a very busy week, I’m ready for a Martini or two in the comfort of my home to start the weekend properly.

And when I’m out and people offer me a drink, it would be rude to say no.

But I think we’ve lost some of the art of drinking. It was invented for a reason- an in moderation it makes our world a far better place.

Hunter S. Thompson drinking

Drinking Heroes and Heroines

But in the arts its different.

Now, it takes special kind of discipline and disregard for common sense to imbibe like Hunter S. Thompson who intake was notorious, but it was really part of who he was.

He had the tolerance that only comes from excessive levels of booze everyday. Don’t try this at home folks.

So long as it had booze in it, there wasn’t a beverage he wasn’t willing to knock back- see left.

picture3Or take Hemmingway, apparently a notorious drinker.

He famously liberated the bar of the Paris Ritz in 1945 arriving with a posse of resistance fighters.

In the 20’s he and his drinking pal Scott Fitzgerald had spent many long evenings at the hotel’s celebrated bar, and their behavior there had become legend.

He led them into the Ritz, proclaimed its liberation, took command of the bar, and ordered champagne for everyone. Soon the renowned combat photographer Robert Capa—later killed in Indochina—came tooling up to the Ritz, thinking he was miles ahead of anyone else, but he was amazed to find that Hemingway had beaten him to it.

Archie Pelkey, Hemingway’s driver, was standing guard at the entrance. “Hello, Capa,” Pelkey said. “Papa took good hotel. Plenty good stuff in cellar. Go on up.”

When asked in an interview if rumors of him taking a pitcher of martinis to work every morning were true, he answered, “Jeezus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes – and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one.

Besides, who in hell would mix more than one martini at a time?”

FDR Martini

Besides a hero of a drinker Winston Churchill (but he was trying to win a war,so he has an out), Franklin D. Roosevelt knew how to drink.

“Before dinner we usually had martini cocktails made by the President’s own hands,” recalled cabinet member, Robert H. Jackson, in the 2003 biography That Man: An Insider’s Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “but any impression that the President was given to any considerable amount of drinking … is a mistake.

I never knew him to take more than a couple of cocktails, nor did he want anyone about him who drank to excess. He aimed for two cocktails before dinner and then perhaps a smidgen afterward.”


You also need to drink with humour and some style.

If you’re not familiar with the 1930’s series of stylish comedy films The Thin Man, you’re missing out.

Nick and Nora are socialite detectives, who combine cocktails and crime perfectly. This couple are an inspiration, plus they have a super-cute dog!

Martini’s feature large in the plot lines- just watch this YouTube clip.

A Word About Timing

To my mind you need to allow about 30 minutes per Martini, both to sip but also to work its magic. There is usually a lag effect you need to allow for. Too slow and it gets warm, to quick and well, you may as well be doing shots!

Planning doesn’t hurt either… got some serious work to do the next day, keep a lid on it then, save the big night for when you can be a bit slower on your feet the next day.

Avoiding Hangovers

Some wear these like a badge of honour. But usually I’ve better things to do the next morning, so here’s my sure fire way to avoid them.

  • Never mix the colour of your drinks, or better still stay with the one spirit. If Gin’s your poison, then love it all night and you’ll thank me later.
  • Quality counts, really it does. Drink the best you can afford.
  • Water. A glass per drink all night.
  • Never drink on an empty stomach. Not only will that get you drunk in a hurry, its bad for your body. So before I go out its some bread and butter, or small bowl of pasta or something like that, but always eat with your drinks. Be civilised.
  • Know your limit. Clint Eastwood once said ‘ a man has to know his limitations’, and that applies to booze. No one likes a drunk. Go home.
  • On getting home after a big night  I take a Nurafen, washed down with a Barocca and dissolved Aspirin combined.
  • Never drink and drive. Really.

For some more advice on ensuring you have a good Martini experience please see this post.

The final word I’ll leave to the inestimable Roger Sterling from Mad Men. No sexism intended!