Read Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis by Kingsley Amis Christopher Hitchens Online


A celebratory volume of writings by the late author of Lucky Jim includes favorite pieces on such topics as hangovers, food-and-drink combinations, and (presumably) how to avoid getting drunk, in a collection complemented by cocktail recipes. 30,0Title: The Everyday DrinkingAuthor: Amis, Kingsley/ Hitchens, Christopher (INT)Publisher: St Martins PrPublication Date: 2008/05A celebratory volume of writings by the late author of Lucky Jim includes favorite pieces on such topics as hangovers, food-and-drink combinations, and (presumably) how to avoid getting drunk, in a collection complemented by cocktail recipes. 30,0Title: The Everyday DrinkingAuthor: Amis, Kingsley/ Hitchens, Christopher (INT)Publisher: St Martins PrPublication Date: 2008/05/13Number of Pages: 302Binding Type: HARDCOVERLibrary of Congress: bl2008015465...

Title : Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis
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ISBN : 9781596915282
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
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Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis Reviews

  • Karl
    2019-02-23 15:24

    The Muse of booze.

  • Eric
    2019-02-27 17:38

    “Note You really have to use bourbon. The Rye Old-Fashioned is not too bad; the Irish version just tolerable; the Scotch one not worth while.” Exactly. And never mind the rye snobs suddenly all about, I was once twitted by my best friend’s wife for not specifying brandy – because that’s how the Old-Fashioned was made in 1890s New Orleans, you see. She has a meaty ass, big long-toed feet, and she paints. I loathe her in an amiable, intermittently lustful, sitcom-like way. There’s not much to do but quote him. This passage decided my purchase:You get hold of a half litre of vodka and what’s probably harder to come by in a socialist county, three paper cups. Perhaps the grocer will let you stand in his shop, anyway you find someplace where the wind isn’t blowing and you drink the vodka, quite fast I expect, and then you go home. And that’s your night out with the lads. In its way I find the thought of that almost as depressing as anything to do with the Gulag or mental hospitals. Remember it when the juke box in the pub is too loud or they can’t do you a Harvey Walbanger.When me and the aforementioned best friend are trudging through snow drifts toward a bar, heads down, breasting the Arctic blast, grapeshot by ice pellets, one of us will inevitably cry out – and the other will sustain his fellow by shouting “Stalingrad, [those fuckers had it so much worse at] Stalingrad.” And then we laugh and punch shoulders. We’re dorks – but men love challenges, tests of fortitude. Surveying my current situation, I see that the challenges I have chosen are: the weather (the Northern pedestrian-busgoer is congeneric with the Homeless Guy; stout boots, sturdy packs, with negligible nuances of cost); booze (consoling yet treacherous); a long-term relationship (the Ikea-floorlamp-shadowy dim domestic stalemate); and the infinite mutability of the English sentence. Kingsley and Martin clashed over style. Kingsley is unimpeachable, but safe.

  • Manny
    2019-03-22 11:15

    A very nice birthday present from Jordan! The first half of the book is a hilarious manual on how to spend your life drunk. I couldn't wait to get started. Amis's technical knowledge, especially when it comes to spirits and mixed drinks, is impressive. Also his ability to avoid bullshit.____________________________________________We got our courage together and tried making Ernest Hemingway's signature cocktail, the fabulous Death in the Afternoon. It's very simple: put one measure of absinthe in a champagne glass, and then top up with champagne. An interesting point, which Amis somehow fails to mention, is that the absinthe stops the champagne from foaming, so it's easy to fill the glass up to the top.Hemingway recommended drinking three to five glasses to get the full effect. I had one, and although I thought it was delicious I decided to stop there - I wanted to be still in shape to appreciate the Sauterne we were going to have with dessert. Our neighbor Don amazed us all by having a second glass of Death, and then three glasses of Sauterne with the blue cheese and figs. But he's an aspiring novelist. Maybe it goes with the territory?

  • Andrew
    2019-03-09 17:16

    This cute recollection of Kingsley Amis' newspaper columns on the life of a professional drunk is edited by Christopher Hitchens (friend of son Martin and resident avatar of English alcoholism in American letters). The writing is gin-saturated -- themes recurring in their wet wit seem half-remembered; the prose seems dictated, with the loose, conversational imprecision of a drunk and self-satisfied autodidact. But what else would you want, let alone expect, from a collection of brief High English epistles on the art of staying drunk, often on ridiculous cocktails, for half a century? One humorous theme is Amis' blithe and recurring dismissal of wine as a legitimate category for the professional "drink man" -- a great phrase that we teetotalers from the leeward side of the Atlantic ought to appropriate. Wine for Amis is a kind of French shell game played on the English, who are better off, in Amis' reckoning, staying true to their "real Ale" and London gin. Throughout, Amis plays the faux cabala of wine appreciation off the purer secrets of the booze aficionado, but his own understanding and taste are warily suspect: after months of columns disparaging the new lager culture ruining English pubs and praising the virtues of "real Ale", Amis settles into effusive praise for cans of Carlsberg. There are also eccentricities of taste one might blame generally on England rather than poor Kingsley: gin, he lies, is at its best served warm with water; ketchup is the key to a perfect Bloody Mary; sangria is made with wine and soda. Perhaps the most pleasant aspect of the book is Kingsley's shameless embrace of drunkenness. Now five long decades past the three martini lunch, it is a helpful tonic to our woeful American obsession with sobriety and the self-immolating fires of hyper-productivity to remember that once Knights of the British Crown drank from morning to night and still managed to keep their Empire on the rails.

  • Ann
    2019-03-05 13:25

    I truly believe you need only two drinks books in your life: one that tells you about every drink you could possibly make, and one that tells you about what you would want to drink. The first is useful in the case that an honored guest asks for a Detroit Motor City or something (I live in fear of moments like this); the second, while narrower in scope, is infinitely more practical because everything in it is actually good.Everyday Drinking has captured a permanent spot as my second-category book. This is of course subjective – I have a special soft spot for drinks that are awful-sounding and/or old-fashioned; you may not – but I really can’t recommend this enough, because besides many excellent recipes, there are herein dozens of near-sociopathic tips for how to make, serve, economize on, and best enjoy drinks. You call this “enabling”, I call a coherent philosophy of life. And it’s written by a writer! It really does take a Booker Prize-winner to put to paper thoughts like “The first, indeed the only requirement of a diet is that it should lose you weight without reducing your alcoholic intake by the smallest degree.” Cheers, I say. Hic! Ahem.

  • Brendan Koerner
    2019-03-07 09:26

    Had I been sentient (and British) during the 1970s, I'm sure I would have been a huge admirer of Amis's weekly newspaper musings on the art and science of drinking. I can definitely see how the constituent parts of this book would work well as columns.But they fall flat in the anthology format, in large part because Amis is so darn repetitious. We hear the same bon mots re: Scotch time and again, for example. And the first third of the book contains nothing save for wittily phrased drink recipes, none of which I'll be making anytime soon (with the possible exception of Hot Buttered Rum 'round Xmastime).The quiz section at the end conveys a few snippets of useful information, but most of the trivia is, well, too trivial. Not to mention outdated and, in some cases, just plain wrong--there is virtually no mention of New World wines, for example, and Amis contends that sake is meant to be served warm.Amis is obviously an excellent, extremely influential writer--I now understand where Anthony Lane copped his style. I'll check out Lucky Jim, for sure, but I can't recommend "Everyday Drinking" unless you're really, really, really serious about your hooch. And who has time for that? Just set me up with a Maker's Mark on the rocks, and let's be done with the pointy-headed musings, shall we?

  • brian
    2019-03-13 16:22

    let's allow a great 20th century dandy and wit to review this book better than i ever could... Here is a story about a sinner,He used to be a winner, who enjoyed a life of prominence and position.But the pressures at the office and his socialite engagements,And his selfish wife's fanatical ambition,It turned him to the booze,And he got mixed up with a floosieAnd she led him to a life of indecision.The floosie made him spend his doughShe left him lying on skid rowA drunken lag in some salvation army mission.It's such a shame.Oh demon alcohol!Sad memories I cannot recall,Who thought I would say,Damn it all and blow it all.Oh demon alcohol!Memories I cannot recall,Who thought I would fall a slave to demon alcohol.Barley wine, pink gin,He'll drink anything,Port, pernod or tequila.Rum, scotch, vodka on the rocks,As long as all his troubles disappeared.But he messed up his life and he beat up his wife,And the floosies gone and found another sucker.Shes gonna turn him on to drinkShes gonna lead him to the brinkAnd when his money's goneShe'll leave him in the gutter.It's such a shame.Oh demon alcohol!Sad memories I cannot recall,Who thought I would fall,A slave to demon alcohol.

  • Harold
    2019-03-14 15:30

    Written with an abundance of style and dry wit, this is a very entertaining and informative book. Everything (and more) you ever wanted to know about liquor, beer and wine is probably in here along with some good laughs. One caveat - don't read this on a kindle. There is a long quiz section which would require flipping back and forth between sections. If anybody knows how to do this on a Kindle please let me know. When I got my Kindle a month or two ago I knew there had to be some drawbacks. This is the first serious flaw I've found.

  • Annie
    2019-03-11 17:14

    A moderately amusing and informative collection of newspaper columns written by a jaunty, hail-fellow-well-met type of chap. I would like to go drinking with this guy, he knows everything about every kind of liquor and includes some cocktail recipes I’m dying to try out.Analyzes Kafka’s Metamorphosis as a metaphor for a hangover (you wake up feeling & looking like hell, and everyone hates you). Made my day.

  • Mark Desrosiers
    2019-03-05 09:14

    This is a reprint of three of Kingsley Amis's classic gin-soaked volumes: On Drink, How's Your Glass (a quiz book), and Every Day Drinking (a title that boy Martin found clever if not hilarious, and which remains a source of confusion here on GoodReads [as it's apparently merged with this here collection:]). Amis appears here in three boozy guises: mixologist, advice columnist, and know-it-all. All are witty and fascinating -- even when he's phoning it in, his prose is taut and immaculate. The various drinks recipes in On Drink might turn your stomach -- if you're from Minnesota -- but his careful descriptions and reckless hints might encourage you to get up and try one or two. Put milk in the ice cube tray the night before? Sure! Send some two-inch long cucumber cuttings through a manual lemon squeezer? Right on, Lucky Jim! Fun to read as you're popping open your next Pabst Blue Ribbon anyway... And you will not believe what Queen Victoria was drinking daily! (It involves a mixture of red wine and scotch) (and yes it was probably John Brown's idea).As for the inevitable hangover, Amis in advice-columnist guise suggests that you should have (hopefully consensual) intercourse ("as vigorously as you can") with your sackmate to cure the metaphysical pain. We've all been there, haven't we? Can any one of us say that this actually works? Then he adds this: "Do not take the matter into your own hands if you wake by yourself." He also concocts a "boozing man's diet," which nobody should try unless they desire to turn into a stooped skeleton hung with veined sacks of fat. It involves saccharin (the actual carcinogenic!), mustard, eggs, Worcester sauce, cheese, grapefruit, poultry, and onions. For some reason bread and toast are not allowed. If the handsome young Communist Kingsley was living off this diet for so many years, it's no wonder he was an bigoted reactionary blimp by the time he decided to publish it. So yeah, as long as you don't take this stuff too seriously, you will be entertained. The quizzes in How's Your Glass are quite challenging and engaging to boot. Plus the intro to Every Day Drinking includes one of my favorite quotes about editors:There's no such thing as a non-cutting editor; it's not in the nature of the beast. The fellow prowls through your copy like an overzealous gardener with a pruning hook, on the watch for any phrases he senses you were rather pleased with, preferably one that also clinches your argument and if possible is essential to the general drift of the surrounding passage.

  • Cindy
    2019-02-27 10:18

    Kingsley Amis was notorious for liking a good drink. He was a Scotch man, but found ways to appreciate all drink. Except maybe wine. He was self-admittedly clueless about wine. Shame. This book is a collection of his boozy writings, and even a pub-style trivia quiz section. Of most interest to my bookish friends is the section "Hangover Reading." Seriously, this book is worth it just for his literature rundown. To whet your appetite, he mentions Paradise Lost and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.Anyway, on Saturday night we decided to try one of his more delicious sounding drink recipes/descriptions. (His recipes were really more about the commentary on its effects or origins or place in society.) Here's the makings for an Old Fashioned:And the result:It was yummy and balanced - a definite add to our regular rotation. I have to admit though that we didn't do the full 3oz of Bourbon. We cut it back to 2. In general Amis was keen on minimizing the mix-ins, and maximizing the alcohol content high. A little too high for my taste, even though we had some fabulous Labrot & Graham Woodford Reserve thanks to our generous friends.I had to deduct a star for the old-fashioned sexist nature of the book. Amis and his musings were a product of his time. Luckily it didn't diminish too much from the hilarious quotable gems. Such as:"And most experts will tell you that the bloom begins to fade from a martini as soon as it is first mixed, which may be pure subjectivism, but, in any drinking context, subjectivism is very important.""You will find it a splendid pick-me-up, and throw-me-down, and jump-on-me. Strongly dis-recommended for mornings after."Finally I give you Amis's rebuttal on the widely held belief that mixing alcohols gives you a wicked hangover the next day:"An evening when you drink a great deal will also be one when you mix them." QED

  • Adam
    2019-03-09 10:17

    Kingsley Amis is grumpy, curmudgeonly, unapologetically British, and wonderful in this book. These qualities, together with a combination of the two things about which he is most passionate--drink, and the English language (specifically, the "correct" use of the English language)--make it a pleasure to read. He is dry and hilarious, knows his subject well (but will dismiss any shortcomings of knowledge as "unimportant" or "boring" matters, anyway), and writes in a way that makes you feel like you're talking with him over a couple of glasses, and that you're agreeing with what he's saying--or at least you want to agree with him (or risk being labeled a peasant).Of course, it helps if the reader already has an interest in drink and its lore, and if he also has some experience in the subject. Some of his recipes only make sense if one is on his drinking regimen, that is to say, four or five before lunch (and it just goes on, as you can imagine, from there). I will say, thought, that the star I excluded from an otherwise five-star review disappears as a result of the last section's "quizzes". One would have to be very dedicated to the subject or very curious to know in what year such-and-such distillation device was first used, et cetera. On the other hand, I read it all, because his insulting wit pervades even the question-and-answer exercise, and I didn't want to miss it.One more thing: This is not a "wine-heavy" book, thank heavens. He has a lot of contempt, in fact, for {especially would-be} wine connoisseurs, and in his economy, the thought of a wine-taster spitting out perfectly good alcohol when they could be swallowing it betrays them as an idiot.

  • Kevin Kizer
    2019-02-21 13:18

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I'd heard about this book for years and finally got down to reading it. It's easy to see where Martin Amis got his wit. Kingsley intersperses hilarious alcohol-related short stories, along with his own well-tested recipes – some named after his famous novels, like “Lucky Jim,” and others named after friends, like “Evelyn Waugh’s Noonday Reviver” – and rather helpful musings on subjects like The Hangover (“a piece of selfless research, undertaken by a pioneer”), The Boozing Man’s Diet, What to Drink with What, and How Not to Get Drunk. It's a great primer for those wanting to learn more about wine, beer and spirits, complete with a massive test at the end. Some of my favorite quotes:On hangovers:"The abolition of the hangover would have far-reaching and perhaps dangerous effects on our civilization; a great restraining influence would be gone.""If the old, grey cloud no longer vanishes as if by magic at the first touch of alcohol, as it once did, you know that middle age is upon you."And, the two sure cures for a hangover: "Half an hour in an open aeroplane and a stint at the coal face on the early shift."On tequila:"It's a white spirit made from a tropical plant that sometimes gets called a cactus, though consensus seems to be that it isn't a cactus, though very like one. There we are, then."When BSing your way around a wine list:"If this goes wrong, say suddenly, 'I don't suppose any of you chaps have seen last year's French government report on wine manufacture?' Which is pretty safe, since there wasn't one."

  • Elly Zupko
    2019-02-22 16:31

    I don't often laugh out loud at books. Perhaps it's because I don't typically read funny books. But Amis' Everyday Drinking had me giggling like a kid, almost more often than I'm comfortable bragging about, and annoying my partner by reading passages aloud and frequently quoting my new knowledge about both alcohol and Britishisms, both of which we both enjoy. To extend a metaphor, Everyday Drinking contains both long drinks and short drinks, and its not suitable for consuming all in one long stretch. Compiled from both books on the subject and a series of short articles originally printed in periodicals, the book does indeed repeat itself; however, that's easily gotten over by not reading the thing all in a row. Part I is suitable for sipping all day long on a Sunday when you have nothing pressing to bother you, like gins and tonics. Part II, the newspaper column bit, can be taken in small doses when one needs a short mental holiday, like a beer at the end of the day--you can have one or two, or down the six-pack. But you can't do these all day long without getting a good deal tired and bored. Part III is full of quizzes, and like Sangria or Planter's Punch, is probably best when shared with others. The best and the worst thing I can say about this book is that it made me want to drink. It made me want to find a cocktail so good I would want to write about it. It made me know I could and would enjoy the journey to finding it.

  • Ilse Wouters
    2019-03-22 16:31

    The problem with collecting 3 short books on the same topic by the same author in the same work, especially when the books are actually collections of newspaper columns, is that it can become very repetitive, as is the case here. Moreover, the topic being alcoholic beverages, seen by a huge fan in his British context of the 1970-1980s, a lot of the information given is outdated and even a bit shortsighted. On the other hand, Kingsley Amis is witty, not afraid to say what he wants to say (pre-political correctness), at his best when he gives advice on how and what to serve when throwing a dinner party or when analysing the hangover. His observations of the evolution of the pub are interesting, as is the information about the drinks he clearly knows a lot about (whiskey and gin).My rating : 2=It´s OK, for I read it in 2017; I´m sure I would have appreciated it a lot more in newspaper column form, especially the last part (quizzes with the answers at the end of the book) which I find hard to enjoy in a reading book.

  • Viivi
    2019-03-04 16:32

    "Kirja on sulosointuinen alkoholin ylistyslaulu" sanoi Ilta-Sanomat ja täytynee yhtyä tähän. Valitettavasti vain tuntui siltä, että kehno ja huolimaton suomennos/toimitus pilasi puolet nautinnosta. Siispä suosittelen, että se joka lasin lisäksi tarttuu tähän kirjaan, etsii käsiinsä alkuperäisen englanninkielisen teoksen - ja nautinto on taattu. Cheers!

  • Marie Bouteille
    2019-03-17 14:10

    This is quite an entertaining little book, full of trivia, some a little out of date, a lot still up to date. I work in the wine business and to me, wine has always been something fascinating, you could always learn new things about and most importantly something to share with your close ones. And I've always been appalled by those people who think they know everything when it comes to wine (especially in France, where I live and especially men) and wine becomes something through which they acquire a certain social status. So they won't drink or serve you wine to share something with you but simply to show off. And Amis is a bit harsh on wine-drinkers in general, but I delighted in his remarks about wine-bores. I enjoyed his wit very much. I'll certainly try some of his recipes.

  • John Hubbard
    2019-03-08 12:23

    This is really two different books and two different ratings. Everyday Drinking is a collection of three Amis books on drink that are nicely collected with a great introduction by Christopher Hitchens. For the collection, I would lean towards 4 stars.The middle book of the collection is titled Everyday Drinking and is a collection of newspaper columns that Amis wrote in the early 1980s. There are good moments in this but much of it is dated. It is not so funny as the first book in the collection.

  • Michael Boykin
    2019-02-23 14:35

    A very practical and informative book about making and consuming drinks. You'll come across a whole host of drinks you've never heard of, read some amazing stories related to the aftereffects of alcohol, and find yourself laughing quite a bit more than you probably would expect. I'm certain I'll find myself reading this book at least one more time.

  • Don Gillette
    2019-02-22 09:34

    Pretty funny. The edition I read had 3 books in it; the first was Everyday Drinking, the second was a guide on mixing drinks, and the third was sort of a quiz to see how much you know about alcohol. This is the first Kingsley Amis I've read, but I'm going to start The Green Man soon because I enjoyed his style.

  • Shawn Jones
    2019-03-07 17:31

    Certainly witty and banal, but also repetitive. A definite read if you are fan of Amis just to get more of his take on things, but pretty devoid of any merit other than a few interesting cocktail recipes and amusing anecdotes about drinking

  • Aaron
    2019-03-22 17:32

    Some nicely witty writing, but much of the alcohol market has changed since Amis wrote these articles and it causes his opinions to often be unusable or out of date.

  • Mika Auramo
    2019-02-21 09:26

    Kingsley Amisin teokset On Drink (1972) ja Every Day Drinking (1983) on suomennoksessa pantu yksiin kansiin. Kirja on antoisa viinanjuonnin kulttuurihistoriaan perehtyville viskisiepoille ja viininmaistelijoille. Valitettavasti monelta osin tökerö suomennos (ks. lopussa) pilaa lukukokemuksen.Kirjailija oli siis itsekin varsin viinaanmenevä ja nautti alkoholin suomista riemuista yli nelisenkymmentä vuotta. Esikoisteoksessaan Onnellinen Jim oli juopotteleva opettaja. Booker-palkinto irtosi romaanista Vanhat pirut. Alkoholi ei suinkaan ollut teoksissa pääosassa niin kuin lukemassani esseistisessä ja vahvan parodian ja ironian sävyttämässä alkoholin nautinnon iloista kertovassa kirjassa.Vahva ja kursailematon kokemus pitkästä juopottelusta tuntuu läpi koko teoksen. Alkuun annetaan juomaohjeita, mitä kotibaarin perusvalikoimaan kuuluu, miten rakennetaan Dry Martini oikein ja kuinka Irish Coffee saadaan onnistumaan – unohtamatta sitä ainoaa oikeaa Bloody Mary -reseptiä. Parempi on pysyä koko ajan kännissä, ja siihen kirjoittajan mielestä on kehitetty Venäjällä vodka. Siihen voi käyttää mitä tahansa viljaa, perunaa ja muuta tärkkelyspitoista.Kulttuurihistorialliseen valistukseen kuuluvat muutamat oleelliset asiat: Ginihän oli hollantilaisten keksintö, jonka britit omivat. Skottiviskit korvasivat englantilaisen yläluokan brandyn litkimisen, kun viinirirutto pilasi ranskalaiset viljelmät. Siitä alkoi tuotekategorian maailmanvalloitus. Muuan George Washington oli amerikkalainen viskinvalmistaja ennen politiikkaan ryhtymistä. Grappa ja monet muut vastaavat tehdään rypäleiden kuorista ja siemenistä eli viininvalmistusjätteistä eli mäskistä.Loppupuolella, siis ilmeisesti tähän laitokseen sisältyvässä toisessa kirjassa, tarjotaan ohjeita ironiseen sävyyn iltamien isännille ja emännille, miten saada juomat riittämään ja miten itara kestitsijä selviää puoliväkisin halvasta juoma- ja ruokalistasta. Dokaajan on lisäksi syytä muistaa, että kaikki ruoka on lihottavaa, siksi nestepaaston tulisi koostua lähes yksinomaan juomista. Vettä on luonnollisesti vältettävä ja voimakasta humalaa samaten. Kirjan mukaan siksi olisikin hyvä pysyä humalassa, ja krapulahan lähtee, sillä millä se on tullutkin.Muutamia ohjeita ja vinkkejä:Päätä mitata viinin nauttimistasi määrässä. En varsinaisesti neuvo sinua lisäämään kolmea pulloa vuosikertapunaviiniä päivittäiseen kulutukseesi, mutta voimakkaassa humalassakin viinillä on vähemmän lyhyt- ja pitkäaikaisia vaikutuksia terveyteesi kuin väkevillä juomilla. Mikäli et ole rajattoman rikas, missä tapauksessa et varmaankaan lukisi tätä, kokeile kaikkialta löytyviä huokeahintaisia ranskalaisia, espanjalaisia, portugalilaisia ja italialaisia viinejä.Päätät, koska tyhmempikin osaa kertoa milloin viini on kylmää ja melkein jokainen hölmö nykyään tietää ettei punaviinin kuulu olla kylmää, eikä juuri kukaan erota hyvää viinilasillista huonosta, laittaa pullot kattilalliseen lämmintä vettä.Kuplivassa juomassa oleva alkoholi vaikuttaa nopeammin kuin alkoholi juomassa joka ei poreile. Siksi, tai osin siksi, samppanja on niin suosittua häissä ja muissa juhlissa.

  • A
    2019-02-21 14:36

    I wouldn't use this book as toilet paper if I had volcanically explosive habanero curry diarrhea and this was the last absorbent substance left on earth.This is the worst book I have ever read. Of course, "book" is a strong word to use in describing it because the last 150pp. of its 350pp. consist of a quiz. That's right, a multiple-choice test. Are you fucking KIDDING me? Now, when there's a book that I end up loathing but also unfortunately have purchased for myself, I put it in a special "refuse" shelf/pile in my bedroom that I cart off to Housing Works or The Strand every year or so. I hated this book so much that I couldn't stomach having it in the same borough as me, so I didn't bother with the refuse pile and instead just dumped it in the trash outside the Metropolitan Museum the second I finished reading the last word. I live in Brooklyn. I needed to put an entire toxic waste dump of a river and the most expensive zip code in America between me and this book in order to go on living. Amis is a fucking idiot, and knows jack shit about booze. A teetotaling virgin nun with no tastebuds who's allergic to alcohol would know more about drinking than this fuckwit. And let's not even get started about the "editing" by King Douche #1, Christopher Hitchens. When you have to spend the first 10pp. of your editor's intro explaining why the book constantly, CONSTANTLY repeats inane, inaccurate, and misogynist BS over and over again, you know you're in for a shitbrick of a literary ride. I just can't imagine that even the fairly spirit-ignorant folks of the 70s and 80s (when these books/newspaper columns originally came out) would get anything useful out of this except the concept that Britain is a fucking shitty place to live with horrible food and tons of people with terrible taste and manners who have insufferable dinner parties all night. I mean, this numbnuts goes on and on and on (multiple times) about how awful "ethnic" booze is, specifically harping on how inedible mezcal and sake are (PS, he reminds you that sake must only be drunk warm; wtf? He also says you must boil your red wine before serving. Double WTF?). He then immediately goes into a cocktail recipe that he says is his favorite creation and shows his superior taste: it has no name, but this drink consists of vodka, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and Bovril (meat extract). Yep, liquid meat. I would imagine having to chug that shartjuice down would still be more pleasant than having to suffer through this miserable excuse for a book.

  • James M.
    2019-03-17 12:36

    I became acquainted with Kingsley Amis while reading an article by Dick Cavett in the NY Times. Mr. Amis is an avowed drinker ("Is there too much Scotch? Never, while I’m alive") and, after reading his book, I believe that this would qualify as a binge. This book is actually a compilation of three books, but, for me, its joy is in his advice on acoholic beverages, his personal accounts of imbibing and his trashing of certain drinks. Amis deals with the detrimenttal effects of alcohol. He divides the hangover into the “physical” and “metaphysical” – “the psychological, moral, emotional and spiritual aspects…that ineffable compound of depression, sadness, anxiety, self hatred, sense of failure and fear for failure…” and includes hangover listening: “Give wide berth to anyone like Mozart.” Tchaikovsky, Sibelius or Brahms is recommended. He also tells how to avoid a hangover: “Before retiring, by all means drink a lot of water or milk and, if you must, take aspirins or stomach powders. But, of course, if you’re in a condition to remember to do this or be bothered to, you don’t really need to.”In his relentless desire to research his subject, Amis includes the time he drank a half liter of 140 proof Polish Plain Spirit with two friends "and only spoke twice, first to say, ‘Cut out that laughing – it can’t have gotten to you yet,’ and not all that much later to say, ‘I think I’ll go to bed now.’" He pursues his subject into the wine making areas of France and Germany, where "all you need is a couple of spare livers.”But, by far, the most fun is Amis' ability to make light of the entire spectrum of beverages. On champagne : "Champagne is only half a drink. The rest is a name on a label, an inflated price tag, a bit of tradition and a good deal of showing off." He believes that the Pina Colada is “just the thing for a little 95-IQ female.” And for those who prefer their lager with lime, Amis calls it, “an exit application from the human race if ever there was one.”Everyday Drinking is also a "how to" book, with a variety of recipes for those who are interested. All in all, Everyday Drinking is delightful.

  • Glen Engel-Cox
    2019-03-09 10:10

    I joked with a family member who asked what I was going to read next that I hoped this was going to be a "how to" book. While it could conceivably be followed in some instances, Everyday Drinking is actually a collection of three smaller books that themselves were collections of the newspaper writings on alcohol by Kingsley Amis, more famous as the author of such novels as Lucky Jim and The Green Man, although it is pretty apparent from this book that he was more than familiar with the artistic merits of a couple of cocktails before and, especially, after the work day. This was a good addition to my growing library on bacchanalia, as it fulfills my rigorous requirements of (a) being more than just a recipe book (I have enough of those now, plus there's always the Internet Cocktail Database) and (b) having a strong, personal, opinionated voice. Amis has the latter in spades, as he ranges between saying that drinking is always a subjective enterprise to lambasting the heathens who would mix something with a single-malt scotch (even Drambuie, as in the Rusty Nail, which is better suited to mixing with a blend, in both his and my entirely not-so-humble opinions).Amis is clear that he's a beer man with a taste for gin, and that while he has some expert and experience with other liquor and wine, that's not where his heart lies. He does pretty well at covering the gamut, still, and as an intermediate wine drinker, I still found plenty to learn from him. These columns are somewhat dated, having been written mainly the in the late 70s and early 80s, as far as I can tell, but given that everything that once was old in cocktails is now new again, that's not so much of a problem. Finally, I was happy to obtain from this at least one new drink that I've quickly grown to enjoy quite a lot: the "Pink Gin," which is simply gin with a couple of dashes of Angostura (or other) bitters (I suggest serving it on the rocks if you don't keep the gin in the freezer as I do). It's a wonderful drink for those for whom adding ever the sight of the vermouth bottle to a martini reduces its dry nature; the bitters actually increases the dry quotient. Marvelous!

  • Jack Wolfe
    2019-02-19 09:20

    Drinking is one of the best things a person can do with life, and it's important that we have books that celebrate alcohol. (Especially as our culture turns against it in favor of... what? Video games? I'm getting pretty sick of reading Facebook articles about alcohol reinforcing the patriarchy / giving you cancer / being incompatible with "adult" life. Dude: alcohol FACILITATES / CATALYZES / ENCOURAGES adult life. I'm not talking about frat shit / beer pong / etc (though that stuff can be pretty fun too). I'm talking about social gatherings where the point is TALKING to people. I'm talking about getting together and using alcohol to open yourself to other people and getting other other people to open themselves to you. I'm talking about community! There is no substance or activity that I know of that encourages communion quite like alcohol. Yes, it kills you. Yes, it makes you do stupid things. But what's the point of a long, stupid-thing-eluded life if it lacks joy, laughter, human connection, etc? I will grant you that happy lives CAN be lived without alcohol... But in our world of complication and strife and poor pay and rapidly diminishing free time, it helps to be able to cut a corner or two with drinking... Especially when drinking TASTES GOOD!) But I count "Everyday Drinking" as a disappointment. As a guide to the art of making drinks and throwing parties, it's dated and not very comprehensive. (Sure, if you follow the recipes in the book, you'll be able to say to your friends, "This is how Kingsley Amis made his martinis." To which your friend will reply, "Who?" After which you will say, "You know, Martin's dad." Prompting another "Who?" Which will in turn lead to a, "Martin Amis, the writer." To which your friend will say, "I don't read. Why would I when I have Pokemon Go?") As an extended essay about the joys of alcohol, it's rather provincial and grouchy. I did like Amis's bit on hangovers and hangover reading. The book isn't a total loss... It's got probably thirty pages of witty, boozy gold. It's just got a lot of stuff (like the quiz at the end) that I doubt will be very interesting to contemporary American readers.

  • Jukka Särkijärvi
    2019-03-06 09:31

    Everyday Drinking is actually a compilation of three works – On Drink, Every Day Drinking and How's Your Glass?. The first is a short book on, well, drink, the second a collection of columns he wrote for a paper, and the third a quiz book. The introduction to this compilation is written by the inimitable Christopher Hitchens, which itself qualifies as a selling point.On these pages, Kingsley Amis opines on beer, booze and wine, on drinking habits and everything else related. His style is erudite and entertaining, but he writes from the perspective of an Englishman in the 60s and 70s, and in some parts the material is noticeably and painfully dated. Additionally, as the introduction notes, it occasionally repeats itself. Indeed, Every Day Drinking is particularly bad in this respect. Newspaper columns in general are a form of text that lends itself especially badly to compilations. They are short pieces best read at a week's distance from one another, not one after the other in quick succession.The most interesting and gracefully aged material in the book are the General Principles spread around On Drink, such as G.P.7: "Never despise a drink because it is easy to make and/or uses commercial mixes. Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naïve—or worse."Amis also offers up a chapter on a rare topic – the hangover. Many have written about drinking, but analytical treatises of the hangover are few and far between. Mind you, I do not recognize my own mornings after from his text. Hangovers, like everything else relating to drink, are ultimately subjective things. The matter requires more research.Well-read, well-written, but badly aged, Everyday Drinking is an amusing diversion to those of us who not only like our drink but like to understand it as well.

  • Tripp
    2019-03-21 16:25

    No doubt due to the vaguely illicit nature, there are far more good books about eating than there are about drinking. So I was quite happy to stumble upon Kingsley Amis's Everyday Drinking at the library. It's not everyday that we get musings on drinking by major literary figures. It reads like a serious, if still funny, version of Modern Drunkard. This is the sort of book you flip through and immediately fall upon a gem, like his description of the metaphysical hangover, which I quote below:When that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (the two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future begins to steal over you, start telling yourself that what you have is a hangover. You are not sickening for anything, you have not suffered a minor brain lesion, you are not all that bad at your job, your family and friends are not leagued in a conspiracy of barely maintained silence about what a shit you are, you have not come to see life as it really is, and there is no use crying over spilled milk.It's about 200 pages of that. It's not all, or mostly drunkenness though, it is about the enjoyment of drinking, a pleasure many are loath to fully embrace. It (and I should mention this volume is a compilation of three prior volumes) is written as a guide for the uninformed. Amis advises us to favor quantity over quality arguing that people prefer two decent drinks to one exemplary one (a point with which I completely concur.) He also notes that the wine trade has erected a vocabulary and set of rules that make people nervous about what they are drinking. He argues, you should find things you can afford and that you like and to drink those.I probably need to buy a copy of this one, it is just too much fun to pick it up and read a page at random.

  • Mark
    2019-03-22 14:20

    Kingsley Amis cut a controversial figure, certainly later in life, when the copious quantities of booze he imbibed in the course of that life got to him. They were people who loved him, and many who did not. On the basis of this volume, a collection of three flimsy books on drinks and drinking he wrote during his fifties and sixties, count me in with the many.He had the reputation of being a “connoisseur”, and a wit. Why, I haven’t the foggiest. To me, he sounds like a bluffing Know-Nothing, and proud of it.He disdains beer (“If forced to drink beer say, “A glass of any old lager, please. I’m sure all this business about top fermentation and CO2 is quite fascinating, but life’s too short.”)He freely admits he neither knows nor cares much about wine, but this doesn’t stop him from pontificating about it. Wine is hard on the digestion, he informs us, much more so than the gin and scotch he loves. Equally nonsensically, he declares that the better the wine is, the worse the hangover will be. And no, it’s not because you drink more of the good stuff, it’s because the tastier the wine, the more congeners it contains, and these congeners cause the hangover – like any serious drunk, he cannot accept the fact that it’s the alcohol that does it.He mentions two wines he likes: Frascati (a bland, mass produced Italian white) and Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe (“not too recent, a '76 or '77” he specifies - while '76 was a reasonable-to-poor vintage in that region, and '77 one of the worst of the century, '78 and '79 were two of the best ever). And what about his famous wit? If, like him, you find it hilarious to bluff and hector people into submission, and to be a hypocritical cheapskate (he goes on at length about how you can get away with serving a minimum of booze to your guests, but is very annoyed when other people are stingy), then this book is for you.