My taste for wine has diminished. For most people, this is nothing to think about, much less to note in any kind of journal. Maybe, if you keep a journal, the spine cracks a bit as you open and run your hand across the page with a weathered pen: “stopped drinking wine for the most part. Much happier with a tumbler of brown liquor.” But unless you’re Anthony Bourdain, probably not.
I don’t wonder why about it. Sue’s health issues have necessitated cutting out alcohol entirely and her sister, with whom we spend a good deal of time, also has abstained for her own health reasons and, I think, in solidarity. So that leaves me as our daughter is not yet of age and drinking wine alone, I have found, is not a great deal of fun. When I obtained my sommelier certificate in 2004, I always tasted and drank wine in the company of others, sharing notes, talking about and enjoying glasses. But that doesn’t happen anymore.
Last night, I cooked a simple dinner of spaghetti squash and made my own vodka sauce. There was a bottle of Stolpman La Croce opened and it was on its last legs and I didn’t want to dump it all down the drain. I poured myself a glass, but the perfunctory nature of it and the fact that it tasted quite good, wasn’t enough, I suppose. I drank it without any relish.
On occasion, I will pour myself a bourbon or an Irish whiskey. Sometimes, I’ll make a Negroni and for whatever reason, I don’t mind drinking that alone. I have, of late, been thinking about my sense of world-view and I wonder if, because these drinks are often considered “spirits” or “hard liquor,” there is a natural tendency to believe that drinking one in solitary company is more acceptable. Am I yielding merely to the acceptable set of what alcohol is supposed to be? Has wine lost its lure because I learned it is not supposed to be consumed alone? Is drinking alone truly a danger?
Perhaps that is the issue with alcohol–for some, it becomes necessity, a part of how they see themselves and their lives. Maybe that’s alcoholism? Not the somehow deep craving for a drink that will numb any pain–but the world-view of seeing one’s self as a drinker, someone who drinks because that’s what they do? I have always been able to take it or leave it, even in the height of pursuing writing about wine as a semi-career. I get the sense, though, that not everyone can be so aloof.
My suspicion is that wine has always been a social occasion to me, not a solitary pleasure. I find the joy of eating and drinking in company absolutely appealing–whereas I find drinking without company rather abhorrent.
That said, a glass of bourbon while I’m grading papers or reading or, perhaps just petting the dog on the patio by firelight, alone—is such an alluring and welcome thing that I would have trouble understanding anyone who didn’t want that.
So much for shifting my worldview.