Refined drinking the key for alcohol enjoyment

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Writing a column about alcohol consumption isn’t exactly the easiest thing. Sure, writing a booze-soaked column for St. Patrick’s Day is already going to receive its fair share of derision for lack of originality, but there’s a deeper problem.

I’ll admit it. I like to drink. From when I first started trying different beers, wines and spirits, I’ve been fascinated both by the history and by the effect alcohol, in all its forms, has had on humanity’s development.

Unfortunately it seems this is a difficult position to maintain, especially when faced with rather puritan views on alcohol. It seems one can either retain the stereotype of the whiskey-swilling student or must conform to the prohibitionist view of the stuff.

I acknowledge the havoc alcohol can cause in a person’s life. The tragic events involving alcohol happening every day across the country show the deadly role drinking can play in people’s lives.

But I would contend maintaining a more cultured view of alcohol could avert many of these incidents. Imposing the age restriction while promoting over-consumption only adds to the allure of booze. But exploring potential solutions would require a whole separate column to explore, so I digress.

With all this in mind, I would like to propose a plan for those of age who want to look at alcohol beyond a means to forget how miserable their lives are.

Instead of deciding to hold a pissing contest comparing how much more you can drink than your buddies, try experimenting with a beer you can’t pound back all night and enjoying it for its nuanced flavour.

Or, to stay in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, one could try an authentic Irish whiskey. Don’t ruin it by mixing it, but rather sip it slowly " on the rocks or neat " the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Most importantly, enjoy alcohol responsibly. If people were to enjoy alcohol for its own virtues, rather than as a means to getting wasted, the resultant societal enlightenment would do wonders.

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