Drinking alone? Drink this.
We've all been told to watch out for friends that drink alone.
It's a sign of depression, they say, or that somebody just isn't coping with life.
I'm not going to argue that some people secretly turn to the bottle when times are tough. However, I also don't think having a drink or two alone is necessarily a bad thing.
When I met my husband six years ago, he introduced me to the post-work nip of whisky. I'd never touched whisky in my life, to be fair, so this bullish, smokey liquor was definitely something of an acquired taste.
In time I came to appreciate the ritual of it all. It goes a little something like this: arrive home from work. Drop your bag and the shopping and anything else you've been carrying around all day. Get a small glass and pour yourself a wee dram. Thoughtfully consume as your work personality is peeled off with the clothes you only wear to your place of work.
You look at the whisky, take in its scent, and then take a first sip. It goes down the throat like Vick's Vapour-rub on fire (in the best possible way). By the time it hits your stomach, that whisky has had an extremely calming effect. As if you've just been given a little shot of serotonin to ease the transition from work life to home life.
Personally, I think whisky is the perfect beverage for drinking alone, for one simple reason. It's the one drink that self-regulates how fast you can drink it. It demands being consumed slowly and thoughtfully. You can't drink much of it at all, and one glass hits the spot.
I've always been quite curious watching the TV show Scandal and seeing Olivia Pope drink a goldfish bowl-sized glass of red wine when she gets home at night. I also recall an older soap opera - Revenge - which frequently saw the antagonist Victoria Grayson holding a balloon of brandy large enough to sedate a horse.
Do people really pour themselves drinks at home in such quantities, I wonder? And if they do, is that a problem?
As I explained with my whisky dram, I think it's all about intent and effect. When you're going to consume some alcohol at home, what do you want out of it, and will that be achieved?
Drinking yourself into oblivion alone at home does nothing good. It's not satiating, nor cool. The same goes, I reckon, for certain kinds of alcohol: vodka shots or beer cans or ¾ of a bottle of supermarket Chardonnay doesn't have any kind of cultural cachet. But what IS cool to drink alone? To me, it's that vat of expensive red or snifter of brandy or a few fingers of Scotch whisky.
Just look at those characters I mentioned before. How confident and powerful do they look sipping on their drink in a quiet corner? It appears as if these are the moments when the best plans are hatched, the missing piece of the puzzle is found, and someone else's scheme gets unravelled.
As you can probably tell, in having a (specific) drink alone I indulge myself in a bit of a soap opera fantasy. It's a bit of fun; a personal rite to enjoy. Do I condone drinking alone? In context, yes. I don't think it's as black and white as others suggest. Though it's not for everyone, and I can really only endorse it from a personal perspective because I know it's not a problem for me.