Are You Drinking Your Bourbon??

Today is my annual check up. And I don’t mind.

It’s the day I get to hear an expert say to me, "Drink your bourbon every day, Tom."

My doctor’s read on the literature is that the moderate consumption of alcohol, not just wine, is connected with a number of good things things that promote longevity. A few years ago when he asked about my alcohol intake (he was naturally concerned since I work in the wine industry), I told him "no, I don’t drink daily." He was surprised, again, because I work in the wine industry.

"No, not daily, Doc. I do like to have a bourbon more often these days, though."

"Well, Tom," he said looking me in the eyes quite seriously, "I recommend you drink a glass or two of bourbon every day."

This kind of advise really does make up for the poking and prodding that accompanies your general medical examination of a man.

This kind of recommendation was not the case 20 years ago, before the 60 Minutes "French Paradox" broadcast and before there seemed to be 5 to 10 news stories a year about how moderate consumption of alcohol would prevent everything from heart disease to warts.

Twenty years ago, when I first started monitoring closely the news on alcohol, the big news was Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It seemed to be talked about everywhere and not a few folks in the wine industry worried that between strict calls for not a drop of alcohol during pregnancy and constant calls for hasher drunk driving laws as well as lower BAC levels for drunk driving, that the wine industry could be put in a tail spin as folks just decided that alcohol was too much trouble to deal with.

Anyone reading this who was in the wine industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s, just think about the difference in attitude between then and now as it concerns alcohol.

As I get older (I’m 44), I’ve found that the affects of alcohol come on me faster and with less intake. I’m not a big fan of drunk or tipsy. It’s just a feeling that never appealed to me. This surely has something to do with my desire to see alcohol levels in wine come down. But it also accounts for my lowering intake of alcohol in general. What I can’t explain, and neither can by doctor, is that the "tipsy" feeling I’m liking less and less as I age does not seem as pronounced when I have a glass of bourbon versus when I have a glass of wine.

"Mad Men"
is a great new series that debuted on AMC. It depicts the men and women who work in a high powered New York ad agency circa 1960. One of the appeals of the show is their attempt to get the attitudes, lifestyle, and accoutrement of the era correct. One thing that stands out is the drinking. These guys drink during lunch, have bars set up in their offices that get lots of use and they tend to have cocktails, usually more than one, between the time they are seated and the time the orders are taken.

I can’t figure out how they could have possibly lived that way. But even if the show over does this aspect of the pre-social revolution era when men were men, men were drinkers and men who weren’t drinkers weren’t real men, there would still be too much drinking for me to imagine as part of my life.

That said, I still like the fact that later today a doctor, a good doctor, will look me in the eyes and tell me (after I’m instructed to exercise more and smoke less) that I should drink bourbon every day. Despite my lower alcohol intake, I really do like having a professional’s recommendation that I enjoy my Maker’s Mark daily.

4 Responses

  1. Michelle - July 31, 2007

    Tom, as a Kentucky girl, I can only say Hurrah! to a glass of real Ky bourbon a day. And that’s Ky bourbon too – not Tennessee whiskey. Cheers!

  2. Tim - July 31, 2007

    I live in spittin’ distance of Kentucky and just happened to be drinking a glass of bourbon when I pulled up your article. And now, I raise my glass to a daily bourbon. Cheers!

  3. Jill - August 1, 2007

    Sadly, I’ve never developed a taste for any kind of whisky.
    On a side note, did anybody see the article in the Daily Telegraph (I think) about how having 2 glasses of wine increases chances of bowel cancer (I think that’s what the Brits call colon cancer) by an astounding 25%? It was linked to in the news section of eBob…maybe I’ll have to give up wine and take up whisky after all?

  4. Agent Red - August 1, 2007

    Whiskey baaaad. Wine gooooood. (Mad Men good, too!)

Leave a Reply