Most of the tall tales told over a chilled glass are no more than romantic fancies. By Don Kavanagh.
Of all the areas of our daily lives, few have so many myths about them as drinking.
Sadly, most of them are complete rubbish, such as my unshakeable conviction that I'm gorgeous after a few bourbons, but it's amazing how strongly they persist.
So I thought I'd explode a few myths, on the basis that I've told so may lies in my life as a journalist that I feel I must make some form of atonement.
1. Eating the tequila worm makes you cool.
I'm afraid not. There are several reasons this is untrue, but the basic one is this: tequila NEVER has a worm in it. Or a scorpion, spider, bug, beetle or any other creepy-crawly. The vaguely similar spirit mescal does, but even swallowing the worm from this does not make you cool. It makes you look like an idiot.
2. Beer makes you more attractive.
Sorry lads, this is even dumber than the first one. Beer goggles are a well-known phenomenon but they lie. And ladies, it pays to remember that the Adonis you are slavering over after a few too many pinot gris is probably the sort of bloke you'd cross the road to avoid sober.
3. Absinthe is hallucinogenic.
Again, a myth. It does have minute traces of thujone, a psychoactive drug, but for it to have any effect you'd probably need to drink a couple of bottles of absinthe. And since absinthe is usually around 80 per cent alcohol, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were seeing pink elephants after a bottles' worth.
4. If you drink beer you'll get fat.
Unless you're drinking beer in vast quantities, it is no more fattening than any other alcohol. A pint of Guinness has fewer calories than a pint of orange juice and the main reason you have a beer belly is that all that time you should be spending at the gym is being spent in the pub instead. Unless, of course, you are like me and suffering from a medical condition. In my case, I contracted Furniture's Disease, which means my chest dropped into my drawers years ago.
* Don Kavanagh has been involved in the hospitality trade for more than 25 years and is the editor of Hospitality magazine.