Some Things I've Learned From Booze

The world teaches. Everything instructs — cement, soap, songs, flowers, smells, glances, books, hobos, movies, golf clubs. Some things, like some teachers, resonate with you better, more thoroughly, more effectively. For 30 years, give or take, booze has been a great teacher and me, I’ve been its less than reluctant pupil (although I’ve not always been open to its pedagogy). Here are some things I’ve learned over the years:

1. Everything has its way.  Scotch, after all, is not tequila and neither are gin.This is, of course, obvious. But I still find it profound and this seemingly simple dictum has had enormous repercussions in how and what I think.

2. The ways of things intersect and overlap.  I love spicy, perhaps a bit mineraly, clean boozes that are a little hot, a little complex, and never sweet: St. George Terroir Gin, Fortaleza Blanco, Glenrothes single malt, Old Potrero Rye.

3. Things have internal borders that need not unify.  The aforementioned boozes each enjoys, on its own, this fantastic array of flavors, each distinct — sun, fir, honey, black pepper. They don’t have to become one.

4. Moods come and go. Over the course of one drink, you may traverse despair, elation, resignation, contemplation, each with an emphatic umph.

5. The now is historical, forwards and backwards.  Drinking lots now can feel good now — then feel very bad the next day.  Sometimes, this is ok; other times, it’s not. In any case, there is a distinct correlation between this now and another now.

6. Everything has its occasion. I like my booze. I have a drink or two most days. But I don’t always want a drink — a midday beer or morning shot can be great but more often than not makes me sluggish and dumb.  

7. Some things have diminishing returns. Just because some thing makes you feel great doesn’t mean you can enjoy it ceaselessly — some pleasurable things become less pleasurable when consumed in the wrong proportion or quantity.

8. Things can interact in surprising ways. Booze is one thing. Now add this or that — sex, hooch, medication, driving — and the way of booze can be synergistic, a catalyst both good and bad, to say the least.

9. What was once right is not always right.  Starting in my early teens, I drank Jim Beam. A lot of Jim Beam. Now, I can’t touch the stuff.  I drink much less in general and rarely imbibe bourbon.  My body has changed, wants different things, needs different things.

10. Categories offer infinite internal diversity. Bourbon is relatively well defined — 51% corn, from Kentucky, I don’t know what else.  But try Makers then Buffalo Trace then High West and you’ll have three different, even if intimately related, experiences. Now take gin: other than juniper, there are no demands. Infinite variations is not only available but encouraged by the category itself.

11. Pay attention.  One drink too much, or the wrong drink, can be disastrous.  Booze has taught me to pay attention to what’s happening, to how I interact with the world. TC mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • Gigliotti Christina

    This had a lot of potential to be funny but it was so boring I couldn’t even finish reading it

    • Trevor

      I don’t think he was going for funny so I think it’s best that you didn’t continue reading…

    • Monty

      I think it’s stupid how you didn’t finish reading, yet still took time to actively inform us of that.

    • juanpancake

      …damn. 23 people?

  • Gregory Costa

    Yeah, the only meaningful thing I’ve learned is that I want to cuddle when I drink…with 21-year-old males.  Thus, drinking is a rare event for me. 

    • juanpancake

      this would be hysterical if you were a 39 year old married man.

      • Gregory Costa

        If it makes it any better, it’s with males who were former high school students of mine.  I mean, they’re now at the age I was when I was their teacher, so…that’s less creepy, right? 

      • MelissA

        That is so sick and creepy.



  • Anonymous

    Loved no. 1. I’m on foreign exchange in Germany right now, and a lot of high school kids live by “It’s all the same as long as it gets me drunk.” Which is true, but I can only “enjoy” the 3 euro bottle of vodka so many times. 

  • Kelly

    a midday beer or a morning shot can be great? your body “needs” different alcohols? it sounds like you have a drinking problem

    • Hank

      sounds like to me you’re the one with the drinking problem — and the problem is his drinking.  keep your nose in your own business. 

      • orkey


      • juanpancake

        seems like you’re the one with the drinking problrem — and the problem is his problem with his drinking.

      • Hank

        this could get infinitely regressive quite quickly. 

      • Juan Pancake

        seems like you’re the one who’s infinitely regressing considering your preoccupation with infinite regression, HANK

      • Hank

        you could say it’s something of a hobby. 

  • Infinitejest96

    This ain’t got shit on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “A Short Autobiography.” One of the best drinking stories ever.

  • Anonymous

    ………..WоW…………Мy friеnd`s sistеr mакеs 59/hr оn thе intеrnеt.  Shе hаs bееn unеmрlоуеd fоr 11 mоnths but lаst mоnth hеr incоmе wаs  5846$ јust wоrкing оn thе РС fоr а fеw hоurs.  Read about it here ………..    C a s h M a n y . c о m  

    • Marisa

      Hey, you want to go fuck off?

  • anon

    Bourbon isn’t necessarily from Kentucky – It can be made anywhere in the United States.  

  • Samurai

    I learned that wine makes me horny. And so does tequila, vodka, beer, whiskey and rum

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