Cocktails are a great test of what blends — and what doesn't.

My unwavering favourite is a Graham Greene. The tipple is named after the writer who invented said cocktail at the Metropole Hotel in Vietnam while working as correspondent for Paris Match in the early 50s.

Essentially a martini with a dash of creme de cassis, it's a triumph because its berry sugars play so nicely with the gin and vermouth.

Yet, for every successful liquor combination there's one that doesn't work. Think, shandy.

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Think too any alcohol shaken, or stirred, with Flaxmere.

Local councillor Henare O'Keefe doesn't partake. Instead he spars barefisted with the alcohol lobby, and lately has unsuccessfully attempted to stop a license renewal of one of the suburb's booze outlets.

Frankly, while his quest is noble, it remains, and has proven to be, aspirational. The truth is that alcohol's scourge isn't geographic; if Flaxmere needs booze, Flaxmere will travel for booze.

Reducing outlet numbers is akin to loosening one's belt to solve an obesity problem.

O'Keefe and colleague Des Ratima claim the Hawke's Bay District Health Board's (DHB) decision not to oppose the license was the difference in their recent loss before the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

Hastings District councillor Henare O'Keefe has pulled out all stops to stem the tide of alcohol harm in his Flaxmere suburb. Photo / File
Hastings District councillor Henare O'Keefe has pulled out all stops to stem the tide of alcohol harm in his Flaxmere suburb. Photo / File

The noteworthy thing is, in September last year, the DHB launched a full-on fray opposing Port Ahuriri School's bid to have a special liquor license at its annual fundraiser.

Ostensibly aimed at a moderate drinking event, it saw fit to lodge a 700-page legal objection at a cost of $16,000.

So, nine months after barking at cars in Ahuriri, it deemed it wrong to oppose a liquor license in a suburb that'd qualify as our alcohol-harm capital. As far as decision making goes, this is perplexing.

In choosing its battles, it's chosen the wrong one.

We're free to question O'Keefe's fight (like I've done) when the end game seems foregone.

But before we fools rush in and dismiss his (always glorious) rhetoric, we should remember this guy ventures where angels fear to tread. There's no one more entitled to stand upright in protest.

While I'm sipping my Graham Greene, he's out there picking up the pieces.