“To drink bad wine” – to quote the late Simon Hoggart. But somewhat worse to drink no wine at all.
Now, if you’re an alcoholic, a recovering alcoholic, an alcoholic in waiting, or “stark raving mad” – to quote Henry Fielding – you may have fallen victim to the most miserable New Year Resolution of them all – the dry January.
A concept unique to the British Isles – the home of binge drinking – the dry January is the classic nanny state answer to the excesses of the festive season. Many of my friends have embraced this concept, (a desire for yet another shared experience, or alternatively as a form of competition that does not require exercise). Statements such as “If I can do it you can”, “We are all in this together” and “We can have one hell of a ****up come February”, provide scant compensation for Hurricane Hercules, biblical rainfall and the polar vortex – personally I prefer Claret.
If you are deluding yourself that the aim of a dry January is to substantially improve the function of your liver, it is probably best to refrain from drinking until March at the very least. By which time – on venturing forth for a tipple – you may find that your local pub, club, cocktail bar or restaurant has closed down.
I grant you the liver does take a beating over Christmas, but better to slow down than to give up. Being good for a month, then binge drinking at the end of it, doesn’t solve the problem – it makes the miserable dreariness of a northern European winter harder to bear. It increases social awkwardness and lures many an unsuspecting (and boring) evangelical model of temperance into the open, bingo winged, arms of the sugar-packed soft drink industry.
Moderation in all things is the answer, this keeps your doctor happy, blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity down, and increases your ability to operate the television remote in the nursing home of your children’s choice.
Drinking less alcohol appeals more to my rebellious inner child. A minimum of two days off the booze a week (choose the dull days) has to be good for the liver and the wallet, allowing you to drink better wine for the remainder – particularly at the weekend.
Better wine means spending more money, but here’s the best bit, quality wine forces you to savour and enjoy it, makes you focus on what’s in the glass and enables you to discuss it without slurring your words or falling asleep.
Remember, hoovering up large glasses of neutral smelling, flabby, tasteless whites and sweet, cheap reds, (filled with unfermented sugar) are the reason many of you are currently enduring a dry January.
As you get older you need to watch those units of alcohol – don’t waste them on cheap plonk!