I just finished Kingsley Amis’ On Drink, which was reprinted in 2008 with two of his other books, in the volume Everyday Drinking. The book is an absolute must-read for anyone who loves to drink. He covers the basics in a level of detail that will lose readers who have a glass or two of wine every evening and consider themselves moderate drinkers.
In fact, this isn’t really for wine drinkers at all. Amis had to bring in a consultant for the chapters on wine, and they don’t age well. As for the serious business of drinking liquor, Amis covers bar essentials and the classic cocktails and how to deal with the after effects thoroughly. And the writing is complicated and rambling and hilarious.
The stand-out chapter, though, is called Mean Sod’s Guide, and that’s “mean” as in cheap, rather than cruel. Although the hoops that a mean sod must jump through to save bucks seem cruel to all involved. Why throw a party in the first place? But if you are indeed cheap, yet hospitable, Amis suggests several delaying tactics for fewer refills, inexpensive drink options, and, this is ingenious, buttering up the wives, while stiffing the husbands, so that in the ensuing fight on the way home, the wives will defend you, and ultimately the husbands will be forced to admit they are drunk and so you couldn’t have possibly been the mean sod they thought you were.
Of course, despite being stingy with the good stuff, you must not compromise your own drinking regime. Enter, the husband’s scotch. That is, any lighter colored whiskey that will appear more watered down than it actually is. And that is genius.