I don’t know about you, but I find it quite hard to understand society’s relationship to alcoholic drinks.
I work in the world of wine and strange as it may seem I do not regard wine as alcohol. I know it has alcohol in it, but using the word alcohol to describe it makes it sound so terrible, evil and frightening – like something from the pages of the Daily Mail.
The media talks about alcohol as a substance – I never, ever ask for alcohol. I never actually want alcohol. If something that tastes exactly like good wine could be made and it had no alcohol in it at all, then I would be happy – I look forward to that day.
I don’t love wine because it is alcoholic, I love wine because no other liquid is so complex or fascinating or partners food quite so well. So, I resent a lot of these media tales about the widespread misuse of ‘alcohol’ as though we live in uniquely booze-drenched times. Do these media types know no history? Have they never seen a Hogarth cartoon? Are they unaware that until the 1870’s even children drank nothing but beer in London as the water was too dangerous? Are they completely unaware about the legendary drinking habits of their own industry?
As far as I am aware no one has ever said, ‘I’ll have a glass of alcohol please, waiter’.
So, will the media please stop talking about alcohol as though it is a thing that people drink. Alcohol is a component part of many drinks – quite a small part at that.
I like a drink as I get very thirsty, I drink a lot – of liquid. I like sparkling water and a whole range of different types of sugar-free colas – and no, I don’t want any comments about that please, I just like them – ok!
(We could have quite an interesting discussion though, or even tasting about how the flavours of Pepsi Max and red wine compliment each other whereas water washes the wine away making each sip like the first.)
When I want a drink I do not have a glass of wine, wine is not refreshing enough – even the most refreshing wine does not actually quench my thirst.
Wine is also too alcoholic for me to be a drink to glug down – it can very quickly make the room spin. On the rare occasions that I drink wine without food it’s a light, crisp white or sparkling wine – and even then I’ll have a soft drink first to stop myself from trying to quench my thirst with the wine.
A lager can be refreshing, if it is light and crisp enough and, of course generally has much less alcohol than wine, so I can enjoy lager as a drink – provided I am relaxed, do not have to work and am not driving – but even then I usually have a soft drink first.
I drink very few spirits, gin and tonics – but only at home or in Spain, they are not worth having in bars here, and Campari in theory – just not in practice for about 5 years.
I know all this makes me a lightweight drinker, but I am happy with that. I enjoy wine, I enjoy beer, I enjoy the odd gin and tonic – I do not enjoy alcohol.