How We Can Still Celebrate Holiday Drinking in These Troubling Days?

Black Wednesday looms, though I'm not sure I should refer to it as “Black Wednesday.”

The decadents think it's a shortened version of “Black-out Wednesday,” but it's not. It's a play off “Black Friday,” which is “black” because retailers turn huge profits that day. “Black Wednesday” is black because it turns huge profits for bars.

But not this year.

One of my bar clients told me this week that he had been eking along, breaking even over the course of the year, hanging on for Black Wednesday and the following three weeks, which are his biggest weeks of the year.

And Whitmer has shut him down.

“For the public good” you say?

I don't want to turn this week's “Drinking Matters” column into a screed (this column is supposed to be a celebration–joyful–not a critical jeremiad), but if you believe these shutdowns are a good idea, please consider the other side and the impressive mound of counter-facts.

A great place to start is The Tom Woods Show. Tom has pretty much destroyed the notion that these lockdowns are a good idea. He doesn't deny COVID is a risk (though he disagrees it's as dangerous as the Whitmers of the world want us to believe). He just denies that the lockdowns make any difference . . . and presents the facts to prove it.

If you don't listen to podcasts, you can try his free e-book about lockdowns. I haven't read it, but it looks pretty good. (You'll probably have to give Tom your email address in order to get the book.)

"Living Room Bar," E. Studs Mulligan

So what good drinking news is out there?

Plenty. For starters, we are on the eve of festive drinking. I'm a fan of Zen drinking: by myself, contemplating, maybe a book in my hand, preferably outside.

But that lasts for an hour, 90 minutes at the most. I then start thinking about other things to do, like eat or watch TV.

Festive drinking isn't like that. On an average Black Wednesday, I estimate that I drink with companions for six hours. I normally start around 3:00 and end around 9:00. Those are approximations. On some years, I've muscled forward for ten hours. Sometimes, I've tapped out after three or four.

But I never tap out after an hour, like I do with Zen drinking.

This is also the season of holiday beers. I don't drink a lot of beer any more, but the massive selection these days makes me salivate.

I would provide a link to find holiday beers, but that would be like providing a link to find porn. If you can't find it on your own, I'm afraid you shouldn't be on the web.

Everyone's favorite craft brewer, Bell's, which is an hour from my house, has an interesting holiday beer, if you're prepared to pay almost $6 a bottle: the Old Fashioned Holiday. It's aged in bourbon barrels, which “imparts more alcohol and the caramel notes of bourbon. After aging, orange peel and dried cherries are added to the brew.”

I'm not a big fan of bourbon, and I don't much care to have caramel notes, and I'm not sure why I'd want orange peel and dried cherries, but for some reason, the beer as whole appeals to me.

You can also celebrate the flask.

I've become a huge fan of flasks and have assembled a small crew of them. I especially like the flasks with the built-in shot glass. If you're looking for a simple, no-frills, flask for a cheap price, I bought these a few years ago and have been very happy with them.

I'm not the only flask fan. This dude in Brooklyn has found them especially convenient in these days of lockdown. “The flask, especially in these pandemic days, is your little escape. You don't need to drink too much of it; you just need enough. And that's the beautiful thing, the lost art of The Nip.”

Eric Scheske

Eric Scheske