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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Tacking to the Alcoholic Center

   
Author Topic: Tacking to the Alcoholic Center
Alcon
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A blog post on the New York Times alcohol appreciation and review blog title Proof today puts into excellent words the view of alcohol that I think is most healthy. Unfortunately it also seems to be one of the rarer views of alcohol in the United States.

http://proof.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/05/why-and-how-i-drink/?em

quote:
During my formative-drinking years, when alcohol was still a relative novelty, I had something that many of my harder-drinking friends did not: parents who demonstrated a responsible relationship with alcohol. My father and sometimes my mother would crack a cold beer on hot days, and wine was regularly served at dinner on weekends and special occasions to everyone including the kids. They kept a decently stocked liquor cabinet, but usually only opened it for drop-by guests and the occasional dinner party, which were celebrated in good cheer but were seldom if ever followed by awkward phone calls the next day.


It's a little bit broken and sort of makes two points, but it's a very good read. And the view point, that moderate consumption by parents is better than either extreme (no consumption or too much consumption), is one that I agree with. Personally for myself I really enjoy a good beer or wine with food, and definitely enjoy going out once or twice a month, having a few drinks, playing some darts and doing a little dancing. What are your thoughts?
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Samprimary
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quote:
As I walk among the party crowd – en route to someplace a little quieter and more subdued, where the drinks are served in modest proportions and in actual glasses
Unfortunately, the 'modest proportions' bit usually entails inflated, pricey cocktails.

There ain't nothing wrong with some of those classless drinks, like D&B's TNTea. They can often be a great value. They tend to subvert the extreme expense of the 'classier' cocktails. Hell, two nights ago I had a ten dollar champagne cocktail that was no better or worse than a long island you could get at CB Potts in a decanter-ish jug. It was little more than six ounces of alcohol.

quote:
Drinking also satiates my historical and culinary curiosity: as a fan of obscure and sometimes obsolete spirits and cocktail ingredients
this guy's eyes must swell at the sign of a galliano tower.
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scifibum
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quote:
When I sit at a local bar and sip a Last Word or a Toronto Cocktail, I enjoy the slow suffusion of warmth and the language-loosening properties of drink that enable a preternaturally shy person like me to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger.
Argh. I feel like 90% of the population considers themselves shy, without knowing what being shy is really like. I have been pretty drunk, and have never gotten to the point where I was inclined to strike up conversations with complete strangers. That is shy, and the author is not. (Certainly not to the degree to justify using the word "preternatural.")
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The White Whale
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Argh. I feel like 90% of the population considers themselves shy, without knowing what being shy is really like.

I don't consider my self shy, but naturally I'm not comfortable speaking in front of groups of people greater than two. When I do, I tend to uncontrollably blush. But with a few drinks, I don't feel as uncomfortable in front of large groups of people. And I don't blush.

As for alcohol consumption, I drink...oh...three or four beers a week, but half of them are on weeknights. My school workload tends to max-out on Tuesdays (assignments due, most classes on Tuesday, etc.). As a result, I usually grab a beer on Tuesday nights, just to celebrate and relax a bit.

I'm glad I'm able to do that. If my idea of alcohol consumption equated to getting trashed, I would only be able to drink on Friday or Saturday nights. But because I (for the most part) only drink enough alcohol to get a buzz, I don't see a problem with drinking a beer on a Tuesday night.

Now, my mom hardly drinks, and my dad drinks sparingly (actually, more now when I'm around because I tend to be around more during vacations and holidays), but never to excess. I never drink to excess.

And also, I may not be a good example. I have started to brew my own beer, and take the taste very seriously. If a restaurant doesn't have anything but Bud and Miller, I'll have a Pepsi. And just this week, I've taken a liking to Wheat Beers, so I had a Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbier on Tuesday (see above), and a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbeir Dark on Wednesday (coincided with a hockey game), and a Southern Tier Heavy Weizen tonight (being Friday, AND a hockey game, I felt like a higher alcohol beer was justified).

Now, I won't drink again until Tuesday at the soonest.

I can see myself drinking beer at this rate for the rest of my life. I enjoy the experience tremendously (as long as it tastes good), and it doesn't interfere with my sleep schedule or morning productivity or responsibilities at all. But I have trouble finding people who will happily share this drinking experience with me.

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Tatiana
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How much various people take to drink has an awful lot to do with their genetics, and less to do with their upbringing, I think.
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Mucus
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I drink a tiny bit of Tsingtao, picked up the habit when traveling when I would drink the stuff on a daily basis at dinner (cheaper than bottled water, safer than tap water).

I basically agree with the original poster.

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Tresopax
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quote:
“The dipsomaniac and the abstainer are not only both mistaken, but they both make the same mistake. They both regard wine as a drug and not as a drink.”
Speaking as abstainer, I do think this particular quote hits the nail on the head when it comes to the difference between the correct way to use alcohol and the incorrect way. People treating it as a drug to alter themselves or their minds are misusing it. People treating it as a drink to enjoy probably won't have problems.

Having said that, I'd have to say I've found abstaining from alcohol to be better. After all, there are tons of possible drinks in the world. Why do I need the complications that arise from choosing one that tends to cause so many problems in the world? A coke is just as good, at least in my books, but then again I suppose I'm very unfancy. The downside is sometimes I get stuck being a designated driver. But the positives are that it saves me a pretty decent amount of money, I don't have to worry about how much I've had, I can still drive (or do anything else regularly) afterward, it doesn't reduce any fun I'm having, and most importantly I know I'm not contributing to the problems drinking causes for those who lack moderation. I suppose folks could say I'm missing out on something, but there's plenty of other things on my list of things I'm missing out on that seem more important than alcohol.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
How much various people take to drink has an awful lot to do with their genetics, and less to do with their upbringing, I think.

Or outside factors.

My brother and I are night and day different when it comes to alcohol. We both grew up in the same house with the same parents and share I would imagine the same amount of genes that any two siblings share, but as soon as he turned 19 he was over the border every weekend. He went absolutely crazy when he turned 21. I think he had more alcohol between the ages of 19 and 20 than I've had in my entire life. He calmed down a lot as he got older, he's 28 now, and drinks moderately a few times a week.

I rarely drink. I can probably count on my hands how many times I've actually been drunk, and I only drink that much maybe once or twice a year, if that. I don't mind the occasional beer, a Franziskaner if the bar has it, but other than that, I really just don't like alcohol enough to spend the extra money on a drink that can cost as much as a meal.

If we're looking at drinking as a nature vs. nurture thing, I think it's far more nurture, but less with parenting and more with your social circle.

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breyerchic04
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My thoughts are I like this daniel better than 17 year old daniel. And agree with what you're saying.
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Tatiana
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It's true your social circle can have an influence. But like, from seeing families like mine who have lots of serious alcoholism in them, I tend to think the genes have the largest effect. Brothers only share half their genes, on average, and it can be far less. My sister and I are very different in many ways. We're almost complete opposites, though I share many traits with my two brothers. Anyway, all of my family (except me) believes in drinking in moderation. Trouble is, about half of them have a totally different idea of what's moderate from normal folks. [Smile] Because I didn't want to end up like that, and because I didn't like the effect it had on me, I stopped entirely long ago.
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Tatiana
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Like, I asked one alcoholic how he was doing lately on battling his addiction. He had kept a calendar and tried to cut down the number of nights a week he got drunk. So I was like "how many nights a week are you down to now?" and he was like "what you call drunk and what I call drunk are two totally different things" by which I gathered he meant seven.
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