D is for Drinking

JEOPARDY! Show #6480 – Friday, November 16, 2012
It precedes “rummy” & comes after “cotton”
It’s a geographical area that forms a harbor; any one in a storm
It’s the title of a 1958 no. 1 hit by the Champs; it’s also the entire lyric
This royal family ruled France from 1589 to 1792
De website for dis company says “a diamond is forever”
(Answers at the end.)

When I was 18, the legal age for consuming alcohol in New York State, and much of the United States, was 18, the same age as one could vote, smoke cigarettes, drive at night without restrictions, and go to war. However, there was concern about underage drinking, which sometimes also involved driving. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 withheld “revenue from states that allow the purchase of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21.” Different states have different laws about consumption, though “15 states and the District of Columbia ban underage consumption outright.”

Unsurprisingly, the issue of underage drinking remains; it’s just been pushed to the college campuses. In fact, many college presidents want the drinking age lowered to 18, believing that the higher age leads to more binge consumption. I tend to agree.

This is actually true: I never had a drink until I was of legal age. It may have been a Tom Collins at a bar on Clinton Street in Binghamton, NY where my sister, who was NOT old enough to drink, was singing with a band.

In college, I learned what I liked – most clear liquors, whiskey, Kahlua. And what I didn’t – vermouth, Scotch, and, unfortunately, beer. Not liking beer in a college town is a real drag, because while everyone else is sharing a pitcher, I’m ordering a white wine or a mixed drink.

I also learned, the hard way, never to change drinks during the evening. The first hangover I ever had was the morning of June 9, 1976, five years after my first drink. This was memorable because I went horseback riding that day – brutal. And a Long Island iced tea is a sneakily treacherous beverage.

If you look in the top shelf of our pantry these days, you’d think we imbibe a lot. In fact, I’ll go weeks without drinking anything other than an occasional glass of wine.

JEOPARDY! answers:

One of my favorite songs about liquor is Demon Alcohol by the Kinks. I prefer the original, but all I could find is this cartoon adaptation.
How to make a Dark ‘N’ Stormy, which I should note, I had never heard of.

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

38 thoughts on “D is for Drinking”

  1. I got all the questions right except for Tequila! I used to drink alcohol, my favourite tipple being dark mild which as the name suggests is black beer which you used to find a lot in the north of England. Or gin & tonic for something tall with ice.

    But I haven’t touched alcohol for a few years now. I decided to cut down for the sake of my health and find that was easier if I just cut it out altogether!


  2. I’m strictly a beer drinker now. In my younger days I loved whisky. It never seem to affect me. Eventually I decided if I don’t feel pain, i don’t know what it’s doing. So I gave it up. No spirit has passed my lips since then – 1983.


  3. i only drink wine on special occasions, and when we have American or European guests. too much red wine gives me a really bad hangover. i like tequila but after having too much of it a few years ago, i never touched tequila again. i stick to beer most of the time.:p


  4. When I was a teenager 18 was the legal age in NC for beer and wine but you had to be 21 for “hard” liquor. Now its 21 for everything. I have to say that it seems an odd priority to let 18 year olds serve in the military and carry weapons but decide they aren’t old enough to drink alcohol. There’s something strange to me about letting teens enlist in the military and die for their country at 18 but not think they are mature enough to drink.


  5. I don’t even like wine much, but do enjoy a liquor once in a while. Mostly, we both just plain don’t “drink.”

    abcw team


  6. I didn’t know that colleges were pushing to lower the age on campus. I agree with you and them.

    Due to a few circumstances this past July, I haven’t drank much at all. The most I would have is a beer with dinner 3 or 4 times a week. Subtracting Christmas Eve and Christmas, I’ve had 3 or 4 beer since late July, total. Twice though I broke down and had Southern Comfort on the rocks. That’s about the only other thing I like.

    By the way, I’ve missed reading your blog, Roger. Always interesting and informative.

    (formerly of ScooterChronicles)


  7. Not a drinker. But on rare occasions….a Margarita with mexican food goes very well. If I ask for a “virgin” they bring it in a glass that looks like its for a child or maybe an ice tea. When I tell them I’m 71 and would like a “virgin” margarita in a “regular margarita glass with lots of salt”…They give me a hassle..but I usually get my way, and they bring the glass with the wide brim, and lots of salt!!! Some have refused..go figure.


  8. Always had plenty of liquor about our house growing up. Tried it but didn’t like the taste. My father tried to introduce us to wine, but just not my taste. Then later when I saw what too much to drink did to people I knew, I never was even tempted. I didn’t want to look so stupid!


  9. 21 seems a late age from this side of the pond but then you did have prohibition. Officially its 18 here but I would guess most teens drink before that age if they look old enough, and they do tend to nowadays.


  10. A most interesting post! I rarely drink, nor even indulged when I was younger – except once when my heart was broken! That I still remember! In summer I have an occasional Citrus Vodka and lemonade and in winter it’s an occasional red wine that must be Brown Bros (Victoria, Australia!)


  11. In Belgium (and France) Beer or wine is not considered as alcohol. Everybody drinks it with meals. Even in schools but of course “table beer” with very low alcohol. Since a few years the law was changed and now only 16 years old can buy beer and wine before you could send your 5 year old child. You have to be 18 to buy stronger stuff like Whisky and Wodka etc. But … law or not law, some youngsters who want to drink always find a way. In the States they pay a homeless to go to the liquor store and buy for them what they need (I saw it) and here it’s not better they send an older brother or a friend to do the same, lol ! The more laws there are the more interesting it becomes ! It’s the parents’ job to warn their children and to explain that drinking too much alcohol can be very dangerous !


  12. I never had a drink until after I was married (18) and my husband was in the military. I had some creme de mint and I got so sick I thought I would die. I occassionally have wine with a meal today.


  13. I think the drinking age should be lowered too. Kids could learn to drink responsibly at home (wine or beer with dinner) instead of at a frat party. My drink of choice: red wine or a local micro-brewed beer.


  14. I was BOTH singing in clubs and drinking before legal age. Living in Apalachin, we all knew to stay off the road to Brackney, PA late at night. That’s where all the Penn kids (where the age was 21) would race to the Binghamton booze. Treacherous stretch of road!

    I knew the answers from Jeopardy. Was the category “Potent Potables”? That was a fave name of the boozy categories in the old days. And I’m a beer person, so I’ll have yours and give you all my hard stuff at a party, hee hee. Hiccup, Amy


  15. Wow, I can’t believe you remember your first hangover! I have to admit I did have a drink or two before I reached the legal age of 18…I simply can’t remember my first hangover. These days, I stick to water and tea for the most part, unless there is a very special occasion…which I can identify easily:) My beverage of choice, wine.


  16. I’ve always found it odd that an 18 year old can vote, buy cigarettes, and fight for their country but can’t legally have champagne at their own wedding toast.

    That said, I definitely agree the drinking age should be lowered. If it’d been 18 when I was in high school and college, I really doubt there would’ve been as many drinking parties (we would’ve been at the bar) and a lot less DWIs from kids driving home because they were afraid to call their parents or a taxi and get caught.

    From my experience, the 21 legal age didn’t stop anything; it just made underage drinking exciting. A couple months after being legal, it lost some of its luster.


  17. How did I miss this last week? Oh well….as for drinking…I’ve found beer is an acquired taste. I acquired it as a freshman in college and promptly un-acquired it upon graduation!


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