Top of the Morning

Much stigma abounds concerning the hour of the day when one chooses to enjoy a little booze.  There is the after-5 school of thought that apparently frowns upon drinking until the evening is nigh upon us.  If drinking is something you only do during dinner then perhaps that makes sense.  If drinking is something you only do during dinner you probably are not reading this.  Roll the clock back a bit more and you have the drink-at-lunch crowd.  Perhaps because of the association with professionals and their martini lunches, drinking at lunch can carry the air of a slightly decadent, grudgingly respected part of “doing business.”  As for the much maligned morning hour; drinking is traditionally reserved for the staid mimosa or gin fizz, to be imbibed in moderation and as part of a regimented Sunday brunch.

Thus we see the societal correlation between drinking and working.  You’re allowed to drink after work, during lunch (if you look professional), or on Sunday.  Admittedly, I don’t get a lot of work done after the third or fourth drink but I find that this is a reflection of the individual and not the hour of the day.  And if you don’t have any work to do, why arbitrarily bind the day in work-place shackles?

Many people go in for a Bloody Mary around 10:30 or 11:00 AM.  Maybe the tomato juice gives it the patina of healthy fare.  I hate tomato juice.  The alternative route is beer, which drinks really well around 11:00, 12:00, and for the rest of the day, actually.  Toronado, along with many other establishments open their doors by 11:30.  The IPA and double IPA festivals at Bistro kick off at 11:00 AM (best time to get there if you want to beat the hordes).  Needless to say, you don’t need to be alfresco by the pool to have an excuse to enjoy some quality beer before the lunch hour.  Not that you ever need an excuse.

But what of the stronger spirits and an earlier hour? Sipping something at 7:00 AM because you’ve been sipping stuff since last night doesn’t count.  You have simply dragged the previous evening into the next day, which is cool and all, but you don’t get any morning style points.  I can’t say that I or those around me go in for a lot of hard spirits early in the day, but that is usually a strategic decision, preferring the start the day with a protracted land war as opposed to the nuclear option.  But there are times when it is simply meant to be.  Say you find yourself on a farm in Wisconsin in the winter, one of many guests of an affable host.  You might be likely to arise around seven or eight, something about farms and sleeping in just don’t seem to mix.  And what if your host and you should start the morning off bemoaning the low quality of the gin and tonics consumed at a club the night before?  Your host may turn out to have a recipe of his own, may appreciate your analysis of drinks, and decide to show you how one properly puts together a solid gin and tonic. And should he choose to concoct said cocktail in a large, frosted plastic cup (think Shakey’s pizza of yore), you’d be remiss not to step up to the plate, or cup as it were.  And you might learn that a goodly sum of gin and tonic well crafted clears the fog and gets you prepared for a hearty breakfast. Alas, not all of us can’t spend every morning on a farm in Wisconsin.

Truth be told, perhaps it is a palate issue that drives most persons away from hard liquor in the morning into the safe harbor of sweeter cocktails and subtle Irish coffees or pleasantly bitter beers. The American palate leans toward the sweet or doughy in the morning and so perhaps the drinking flows in that vein. But what of uncharted seas?  Is there the right morning dram out there for the discerning, early hour whisky drinker? Certainly on some mornings any dram might do… But utilitarian reasons aside, is there a whisky that goes really well with breakfast victuals?  What whiskey pairs well with bacon? (Loaded questions, everything goes well with bacon.) By Nate.

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