THE festive season is all about getting queasily shitfaced on drinks you would rightly turn your nose up at if it wasn’t Christmas. Like these:
The heating of red wine should be confined to a chilly Alpine setting where the benefits are obvious, not a well-insulated middle-class home with the heating on full blast. At least it tastes quite nice, if you manage to sift far enough through the cinnamon sticks, orange peel, cloves and star anise clogging the glass to find the actual liquid.
If offered a milky, creamy, sweet drink made with egg yolks and dusted with nutmeg in summer you’d have no hesitation in refusing, but at Christmas you’ll be labelled a Grinch if you attempt to politely say no. Why is your mum trying to force feed you what is essentially alcoholic custard? She doesn’t know, and can only offer the illogical reason: ‘Because it’s Christmas!’
What is it with coffee shop chains trying to force giant, expensively pimped beverages on you as soon as December rolls around? Ah yes, it’s called capitalism. All you wanted was a small Americano and you’ve left with a grande mint-and-orange mocha, dusted with so much cinnamon you can’t sip it without choking on the dusty dryness. Should have had tea instead, they can’t f**k with that.
Flavoured gin is the gift de choix to give to someone you either don’t know or don’t really care about. That’s why your sister-in-law has gifted you a bottle of gooseberry gin and is expecting you to be thrilled about it. You gamely crack it open, and in half an hour you’ll either be smashed from the insanely high alcohol content or in a diabetic coma from the sugar.
It seems weird that home-brewing is legal, given the potential lethality of your dad cooking up his own wine in a spare recycling bin, yet the government persist in allowing it. Whether you’re sampling Marmite IPA or some mysterious moonshine that could definitely make you go blind, be sure to never reflexively utter the words ‘Ooh, it’s quite nice’, or he’ll give you a two-litre bottle to take home.
A Baileys is a nice treat, but, given that nobody remembers it exists outside of December, you’re still drinking the same bottle that your mum bought from Asda in 2010. Is it possible for it to curdle? Are those lumpy bits meant to be in it? Just knock it back and chase it down with a glass of red wine. There are some things it’s best not to think about too much.