You may have noticed that I love a good drink. Cocktails are a passion and a joy in my life. There is a philosophy behind drinking well, though, that I think is lacking. While I have seen an amazing growth in the cocktail culture in the past decade, I hope to share what it means to drink well. There is a power, joy, and camaraderie in cocktails that should be shared.
Enjoy the Flavors
. You should enjoy what you are drinking. I don’t like overly sweet cocktails, but that doesn’t mean
you can’t have one. I prefer to be honest with myself about what I am drinking, so I don’t enjoy drinks that mask the alcohol completely.
Enjoy the Company. Like eating as an inherently communal activity, drinking can be an inherently communal activity. Some of the greatest friends I have were made over drinks, and the stories that followed. Having a glass of wine or a beer with a meal is accepted as a rather normal event, so why not a cocktail? The idea of Happy Hour, going to a bar to shake off the dust of a work day before heading home, is as much about sharing that time with someone as it is the alcohol itself. Raising a glass should come with a story and in the age of digital tethers, the chance to tell stories face-to-face instead of screen-to-screen should be savored.
Sometimes, though, you may want solitude
. Being lost in your own thoughts with a glass of whiskey is a powerful image captured in popular culture. History is littered with stories of writers, poets, and statesmen who in the quiet of their own home or alone at a bar would have a drink poured to let their thoughts unravel. The loosening of inhibitions found in alcohol can serve to loosen your mental knot as well and sometimes taking the time to savor a slow drink without distractions can serve your mental well-being.
Don’t drink to get drunk. Alcohol is a powerful and dangerous substance that is worthy of our respect. Not unlike fire, we should always be mindful of the damage it can cause. I don’t drink for the purpose of getting drunk. I drink to enjoy the flavors, to enjoy the company, to experience components of life. Drinking just to get drunk leaves too much of those experiences lost, flawed, or all together missed. Alcohol has the ability to enhance your pre-existing mood, so be careful when drinking already angry or sad. Be aware of yourself.
Respect those who don’t
. Some people don’t drink. Whether this is for moral, medical, or personal reasons does not
matter. These people are your friends, your colleagues, and maybe your loved ones. Choosing not to drink alcohol doesn’t make anyone less of a person, less fun, or worthy of less respect. It is not your business why they don’t drink. It is not your place to pressure them. Offer them a tasty, nonalcoholic, beverage. Tell them a story. Let them tell a story. Laugh together.
Take the time this weekend to mix a drink at home with friends, or order a round out. Celebrate a little bit of life with people who matter to you. Call (or text) your friend you haven’t seen in months and set up a happy hour to have a drink and catch up for an hour. Forge human connections, to others or yourself, and remember that the cocktail is always calling you to have a good time.