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A Gentleman’s Guide To Drinking A Bit Less

January 2018Words by Mr Richard Godwin

The opening of The Grill, New York, 2017. Photograph by Ms Angela Pham/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Dry January has passed. How did you do? Are you marvelling at how much fitter, happier and hangover-free you are? Did you succumb to a nice Côtes du Rhone on 3 January and think, “Ah well, in for a penny.” Or do you think the whole thing is for fun-hating, kale-eating gym bores?

Whatever your individual situation, the picture as a whole is clear. Government figures last year found just 57 per cent of people in England had drunk alcohol the previous week, down from 64 per cent in 2006. The American National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows a similar trend, including notably fewer adolescents binge drinking or using alcohol at all. Which isn’t to say that we’re all ready to cut it out quite yet. Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A nice crisp Sierra Nevada pale ale on a summer’s day. Champagne. Gin and tonic. A well-made daiquiri. Amontillado sherry with Spanish jamón. Guinness in Dublin. Negronis in Milan. Martinis in New York. These are among the pearls of humanity. To forgo these over a lifetime would be, for some of us, like slicing off three or four fingers. But if we examine our livers and our migraines, we could probably contend that we’d like to drink in a more careful, controlled way. And if you do want to enjoy a few more clear-headed mornings, you needn’t throw out the Babycham with the bathwater, so to speak. Here, with a little help from some experts, we show you how.