Daisy Dunn

Why we drink

Plus: if you’re interested in how the brain works – with or without the aid of stimulants – the podcast Hidden Brain is full of insights

A genetic mutation, ten million years ago, made us 40 per cent more efficient than other animals at metabolising alcohol. Image: Miroslava Mahlebashieva / Alamy Stock Photo

‘I like to have a martini,/ Two at the very most./ After three I’m under the table,/ After four I’m under my host.’ I never fully appreciated the brilliance of that spurious quote of Dorothy Parker until I visited Dukes Bar in Mayfair. It used to be the case – it probably still is – that you may order no more than two martinis there owing to their potency.

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