The woman at the fancy liquor store around the corner recently dealt my drinking habits a deadly blow. Apparently, wine starts going bad the moment you open it, and by day two it is really not worth drinking. Even with one of those fancy stopper things.
My nightly drink is very important to me. I like to drink it while watching tv, or in the bathtub, or while lying on the floor (my head gently propped up against the couch). This is not social drinking, which for me is problematic because I get excited and want MORE MORE MORE. This is the quiet, justifiable (I mean, even pregnant ladies can do this now)*, daily drinking habit.
And I do it alone, so if I start a bottle, I am the one who is finishing it.**
Red wine was a very satisfying early-fall nightly drink, but now that I know I am just drinking vinegar on day 2,3, and 4 of the bottle (remember, I am alone on this), I feel like I should invest more wisely.
So I am going a different direction for my early-fall nightly drink: a Scotch, neat.
Now, the problem with Scotch is that it requires long term investment. A good bottle of scotch costs $40 whereas the short term investment in a $10 bottle of wine is easier to swing. But a good Scotch habit can be cultivated through two strategies. 1) Start asking for fancy liquor from your in-laws, siblings, and other people who never know what they are supposed to give you for Christmas and birthdays. 2) Do as a 10 year old does, and start a Scotch piggy bank. For a month, every time I bought a bottle of wine I put a matching amount in a small envelope next to my drinking paraphernalia when I got home. Then at the end of the month I really could convince my brain that the two options were equivalent, plus I had the money all saved up for this special purpose. Now, what will you buy? As someone who has had the benefit of being gifted some nice bottles already, I suggest Talisker or Glenmorangie. Don’t go all crazy and buy Laphroaig the first time.
I realize that not everyone wants a meager inch of liquid in their nightly cup, so if you can’t drink a scotch neat, here is a bourbon cocktail that does not have lots of sugar in it and does not require getting your fingers mucky:
1 ounce bourbon (by this I mean a satisfying amount poured into your cup. I mean, we are not “mixologists” here)
1 ounce seltzer
1 drop bitters (Angostura are fine if you don’t live in the land of bitters like I do)
This is essentially an old-fashioned without the sugar cube. I can’t mix sugar in my nightly cocktail because sugar + liquor makes me feel like poop the next day. I like Old Grand-Dad Bourbon (it is usually around $30).
*Apparently a drink a day won’t turn your baby into a mutant according to the new exciting book Expecting Better by Emily Oster.
** My partner drinks beer.
Dana Logan is a graduate student and nanny in Brooklyn.