Drink

A toast to the wisdom – and wit – of Norman Stone

6 July 2019 9:00 am

We were in a club, discussing Norman Stone, recently departed, over a meal that he would have enjoyed. Norman divided…

25 years off the booze has taught me three simple things

11 May 2019 9:00 am

What I’ve learnt from 25 years off the booze

Save us from fads and change for change’s sake

11 May 2019 9:00 am

There is no new thing under the sun. Over the weekend, I read a book which was alarmingly relevant to…

Is wine an art?

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Acouple of lawyers were disagreeing about a matter which could become increasingly relevant. Could a sitting president pardon himself? But…

Why our soldiers are more impressive than every other kind of leader

8 December 2018 9:00 am

One of the pleasures of journalism is the opportunity to meet eminent persons: bankers, businessmen, civil servants, diplomats, politicians, vignerons.…

Stockbridge, Hampshire: an unexpected gastronomical haven

29 September 2018 9:00 am

‘The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers / Pass me the bottle, old lad, there’s an end of summer.’…

How blind tastings led to wine’s identity crisis

22 September 2018 9:00 am

Blind tastings have baffled since ‘the Judgment of Paris’

Rob Auton (Chris) in Frank Skinner’s Nina’s Got News

Is Frank Skinner the new Alan Bennett? Edinburgh Fringe round-up

25 August 2018 9:00 am

For recovering teetotallers, like me, Thinking Drinkers is the perfect Edinburgh show. On stage, two sprucely dressed actors perform sketches…

Farewell to a bottle and a half per day – I have finally embarked on a diet

9 June 2018 9:00 am

Are there still travelling fairs? In many villages, they used to be part of the annual round. For weeks, the…

I’m grateful for my grateful drinking friend

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The phone rang. ‘You are the last person in the world I should be talking to’, proclaimed an old friend…

Tasting the true island spirit: single malts from the Isle of Arran

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Arran, in the Firth of Clyde, is an island whose charms vary with the seasons. In summer, the hills are…

Found in a friend’s cellar — the wines of a lifetime

16 December 2017 9:00 am

In longevity, great wine can march with human life. Creating (better still, maintaining) a fine cellar really is a compact…

Artisan gins leave me in low spirits

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Spare me the hype over craft gins

Whiskies at the Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond

Rare whiskies can be a better investment bet than first-growth clarets

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Henry Jeffreys says a rare Scotch can be a better investment bet than first-growth claret

I survived a hen party — just

15 July 2017 9:00 am

The hen party was seated at an outside restaurant table under the plane trees when I arrived. They sat with…

My love affair with single malt whisky

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Mark Palmer on his late-blooming love affair with single malt whisky

Burgundies that taste of T.S. Eliot

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Eliot. After 50 years trying to make sense of his verse, and at the risk of admitting to rampant philistinism,…

Good beer, cheap

The wonder of Wetherspoons

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Of all the stories I’ve heard about the fallout from Brexit — families divided, work jeopardised, friendships ended — the…

From kittens to claret: an ideal education

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Call me a sentimental old whatever, but watching a four-year old hearing The Tale of Samuel Whiskers for the first…

Bloody Marys and the funniest woman in the House of Lords

11 February 2017 9:00 am

To the Western Isles, or at least to its embassy in Belgravia. Boisdale restaurant always claims to be extra-territorial. There…

The only good thing about the Soviet Union was cheap caviar

28 January 2017 9:00 am

I know an immensely grand aristocratic lady, impeccably mannered, with a regal grace and presence, who cannot be trusted near…

A better year ahead? That’s what the tsar expected in 1917

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Someone came up with a century-old quotation plangent with irony and sadness: ‘The year 1916 was cursed: 1917 will surely…

‘Pub owners are particularly keen on quizzes, because quiz teams drink an awful lot’

How pub quizzes became normal

7 January 2017 9:00 am

For more than 20 years now, I have been trudging up the hill to the Prince of Wales in Highgate…

Should I hang myself out to dry again this January?

31 December 2016 9:00 am

And so it begins again. This time last year, I decided to see how long I could last without alcohol.…

Had someone deliberately messed up Lord Archer’s dinner?

31 December 2016 9:00 am

I first ate at the London version of Harry’s Bar in the early 1990s. Back then, Jeffrey Archer and I…