If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I like a good drink. Not in a weird, gotta have a beer before I can function, can’t be trusted on a night out lest I get too drunk and vomit on something kind of way. I just really enjoy the odd tipple. You would hope so really, since I’ve built my whole career so far on the alcohol industry. Anyway, sometimes when I’ve had a crappy day, having a boozy beverage is one of the only things that makes me feel right again. I’m not suggesting I use booze as an emotional crux or a coping mechanism, you understand. It isn’t the alcohol itself, per se, that makes me feel better (though that warm fuzzy glow after your first glass of wine of the evening? Hard to pretend that doesn’t chase away the blues quite adequately!) in fact over consumption is only ever going to make you feel worse the next day, so I genuinely don’t recommend drowning your sorrows. But what you drink is such a personal thing, and it’s what I associate the drink with that has the power to cheer me up instantly.
Everybody has a tipple or two they like above others, and they probably like to drink it in a specific way, whether it’s a certain amount of ice, a particular garnish or just the right proportions of mixer. I’m no different in that respect. A spiced rum must have a minimum of 2 lime wedges squeezed into it. Vodka must be served with something sharp or citrusy, no coke for me thanks, and mojitos? Well, let’s just say my palate has a very specific ratio of lime to sugar to mint required, and unfortunately I’m often disappointed! Especially if the ice isn’t crushed! But I go one step further than that. I also have drinks that I reserve for particular occasions, and the feeling connected to those occasions is what pulls me back out of the doldrums. Memories of bottles of fizz drunk with the girls just because it’s Tuesday, or remembering the delicious feeling of sinking into a hot bath with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc, have the power to transport me to a happier time. It works in seasons too – it’s hard not to feel cheery and full of festive spirit when sipping on a Bailey’s or a glass of mulled wine. I love both of them, and yet I wouldn’t dream of drinking them in June. They just go hand in hand with Christmas, like Pimms or a cold cider go with Summer and BBQs and Wimbledon and such.
I was having such an occasion yesterday, and it was one of these magical drinks that helped put me right again. I was feeling a little glum, not for any real reason, but just because I’m growing tired of not having my own space anymore, and all my closest loved ones seem to be disappearing off into the distance achieving milestones without me – buying houses, having babies, getting engaged and organising weddings. I’m happy for them of course, but I can’t help but see it as a barometer for my own life and the bits of it I turned my back on not so long ago, and it’s hard not to feel like I’m getting left behind on the shelf sometimes. Dad knew how to fix it though. A Campari Spritz! Not a drink I have very often, and not something I’d likely order in a bar when out, but sat out in the garden with it glowing all rosy in the evening light, soaking up the last of the day’s sunshine, admiring the flowers and listening to the birds come in to roost, it was the perfect accompaniment. If I’d closed my eyes I could have been sat in an orange grove somewhere mediterranean (if you ignored the distinctly English chill in the air and the distant hum of traffic of course!) Peace and calm were restored again. Fingers crossed it won’t be too long till I make that fantasy a reality and jet off to warmer climes for some well needed R & R, but for now a simple drink did the trick. Might need to get myself another one tonight though….!