Alex Massie

Kingsley’s Rules

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Roger Scruton reviews Kingsley Amis's Everyday Drinking, now happily reissued:

At the start, Amis announces certain 'general principles' to be followed in creating drinks, all of which can be derived, by natural drinkers' logic, from the first of them, which holds that 'up to a point [i.e. short of offering your guests one of those Balkan plonks marketed as wine, Cyprus sherry, poteen and the like], go for quantity rather than quality'. Spirits prevail over the stuff that might soften their impact, as illustrated by the Lucky Jim, which consists of 12 to 15 parts vodka to one part vermouth and two parts cucumber juice, and there is a drink for just about every ordeal that Kingsley's ordeal-filled life could be expected to present.

Thus Paul Fussell's Milk Punch (one part brandy, one part bourbon, four parts milk, plus nutmeg and frozen milk cubes) is 'to be drunk immediately on rising, in lieu of eating breakfast. It is an excellent heartener and sustainer at the outset of a hard day: not only before an air trip or an interview, but when you have in prospect one of those gruelling nominal festivities like Christmas, the wedding of an old friend of your wife's or taking the family over to Gran's for Sunday dinner'.

Now there's some Thanksgiving advice my American friends and readers can use...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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