However we are not apt to be the people bowed in reverence over their collection of single malt Scotch. We are not apt to be the ones discussing merits of boutique gins, Junipero vs. Hendricks vs. Plymouth. Nor, surprisingly, are we much good at sophisticated discussions of wine. Unless of course we are foodies by choice, not by heritage. Then we can get really wound up. Me, I vote for Junipero gin, that faint flavor of juniper berries, bite of the gin…but where was I?
Oh yes. Beefeater’s is fine. $10 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc are fine, especially when they are sustainably produced. Scotch is great. Just needs to be brown.
I am somewhat loath to venture a guess on why High WASPs, on the whole, like alcohol. However, my brother the Harvard graduate, Ph.D., psychoanalyst who’s job involves many people lying on a couch in his office and telling him things, has a theory. He says it’s because we come from Scotland originally. That anxiety is cross-cultural, and the High WASP version of Prozac is a nice, peaty glass of Scotch. Neat. Could be. Anecdotally, peoples from cold climates do seem more apt to drink, Scandinavians, Scots, Koreans, Northern Chinese, than those from warmer regions.
On the other hand all that early colonization seems to have encouraged alcohol consumption. First there was the rum required for sailors to make it across the oceans. Then there was malaria. Clearly gin was necessary to make the quinine water, now known as tonic and made much sweeter, drinkable. Right? And so on. But maybe it’s just the same force that has the birds squawking and fluttering around my pyracantha bush. Mild inebriation can be fun. Unless of course it causes you to fly into the garage door and lie stunned on the driveway. Let’s all avoid that, shall we?
So cheers. I like the Swedish style of toasting. “The proposer of the toast engages the eye of the person being toasted, and “skoal” is said. A slight bow of the head, and a twinkle of the eye—and the aquavit is drained in one gulp (if the drink is wine, a sip is taken). Just before the glass is put back on the table, the eyes meet again and there is another friendly nod.” In the version I learned, you also gesture with the glass towards your heart when you make the final nod. Drink responsibly. Have a lovely weekend.