There is much discussion these days of drinking. People giving up the drink for the New Year. People in the country who needs lifts to get to the pub to go drinking. EU stats that show Irish people drinking more than Russians, nearly.
But what has been overlooked in the debate is what we're all drinking. Hence, in the spirit(s) of enlightenment, let me share with you my discerning young man's twelve point guide to good drinking:
- Real men drink beer and whiskey. And only real beer and real whiskey, not Bud or Bourbon. Except in Russia, where they drink meths by the quart. Safer by far to stick to the beer and whiskey.
- Cocktails and gin are acceptable drinks only in tropical climates. Brandy is for after dinner.
- Quality indigenous rum and tequila exist only because the locals didn't have early access to quality ales and Scotch. So if you see Mexicans or Cubans drinking these drinks, it doesn't make them homos. However, they will laugh long and hard if you start knocking back shorts of their national drinks, or mixing them into girlie cocktails.
- Whisky is made by Scottish people and whiskey is made by Irish people. No one else makes proper whiskey, no matter what they might claim.
- Blended whiskies go from crap to great. The Irish make the better blends. Single malt means one type of whisky in the bottle only. The Scots make the better single malts.
- Beer is best brewed by English, German and Belgian people. But drinking the local beer is always the best option, since beer needs to be enjoyed fresh. So forget imports if you want good beer. Drink from the local tap.
- Alcopops are Satan's piss. The government should cut out the middle man and just hand out ASBOs at the bar to anyone even ordering one.
- If you're drinking wine, start with the lightest white and work towards the strongest red, in order to appreciate the taste of each in turn. Wine tasters are supposed to spit, which is why it's more fun to be a beer or whiskey taster.
- Knowing the grape type is more important to assessing a wine's taste from looking at the label than knowing the place it came from. Trying to know about vintages and terroirs is totally pointless, unless you are a wine buff looking for a job in alcohol retail. Even the experts regularly get it wrong, picking £5 bottles over £100 bottles in blind tastings. Most wine on the market that doesn't come in boxes is drinkable, unless it's corked.
- Screwtops do not mean shit wine anymore. They stop wine from getting corked and a lot of top wineries use them now. Plastic corks are also good, but once you open the bottle, they won't go back in, so you'd better finish it. Wine doesn't keep overnight.
- Corked wine smells musty, like your granny's wardrobe. If there's a smell of damp mould about a wine, it's corked. Send it back or take the bottle back untouched to the off-licence. Don't drink it anyway.
- Stop drinking before people start staring.