I’ve been thinking about Henry VIII and what a fun-loving monarch he was. He thought nothing of devouring a duck, a fine suckling pig, a side of beef and moistening his lips with half a hogshead of fine Bordeaux wine. If he was around now though, he wouldn’t cut half the figure he did in the 16th century. If he was a politically correct kind of king by today’s standards, he would jog to his throne in his sweaty undies and brand name sneakers.
So, I’ve been wondering how we arrived at this gruesome point on the ladder of culinary evolution that we are afraid to pleasure ourselves with robust food and sturdy liquor.
In vast and ever increasing numbers we are shrinking. Our goal is gorgeousness and moral purity, not only in our present behavior, but for those running for political office, retroactively too. We are unfortunately succumbing to righteousness and sanctimonious sobriety.
Many are turning to non-alcoholic drinks. But it is no secret that they fail to pack the kind of wallop that you can count on with a shot of a grown-up beverage. Near beers may be popular with some, but to others a sunrise without tequila is a seriously cloudy day.
We may as well face the fact, that hands down, the best-tasting drink in the world is a dry martini. The companion fact is this prince of drinks cannot be simulated without gin and vermouth to even the remotest approximation no matter how hard you may try.
A simple glass of crystal clear water ordered in a fancy cocktail lounge will set you back almost the same number of bucks as the real thing. So there is no bottom line advantage to passing up an icy cold silver bullet.
Many sincerely believe sparkling mineral water that has bubbled up from the bowels of the earth in a distant land is superior to an icy cold martini poured in a trendy bar. The newly converted believe foreign water has health-giving properties, even though these very same people think nothing of pouring it over ice cubes made from local tap water.
I tend to dispute the claim that bottled water is always good for you. Have you noticed the sad, limp condition of the slice of lime after it has sat in this stuff for more than a few minutes?
Nevertheless, the French, to whom we tend to defer in serious matters of food and drink, do turn to water when they fear they are suffering from a malady of the liver. Skeptics point out frogs live in water and if humans drink too much of it they will eventually die whilst making little croaking noises.
I’m willing to concede the advantage to those who claim you shouldn’t drink martinis because they conceal so many calories, (though not for long).
A mathematical whiz recently calculated that one hour spent standing up at a cocktail party will burn up to 20 calories. So, if you stood for two hours and swallowed a single zero sum diet soda, you could go home 40 calories lighter.
All this leads me to speculate that if Henry VIII had ordered up a glass of water he may have kept his head and fewer of his wives would have lost theirs. So, perhaps it would be wise for our current crop of legislators to go easy on the hard stuff. Keep us stirred, I say, not shaken, and let us all choose our own poison.