Christopher Hitchens' Rules of Drinking

Categories: News
christopher-hitchens-drinking.jpg
Catherine Karnow
"Writing is what's important to me, and anything that helps me do that -- or enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation -- is worth it to me," Christopher Hitchens said in a 2010 interview with Charlie Rose.  

Hitchens, master essayist and famed iconoclast, died yesterday from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 62.   

He made no secret of his love affair with alcohol, unapologetic in his profession that it gave him inspiration. But while the bottle was a constant companion, he was no drunk. Last year, Outside the Beltway uncovered the late writer's rules of drinking from his memoir, Hitch-22.

On his drinking schedule:

I work at home, where there is indeed a bar-room, and can suit myself. But I don't. At about half past midday, a decent slug of Mr. Walker's amber restorative, cut with Perrier water (an ideal delivery system) and no ice. At luncheon, perhaps half a bottle of red wine: not always more but never less. Then back to the desk, and ready to repeat the treatment at the evening meal. No "after dinner drinks" -- ​most especially nothing sweet and never, ever any brandy. "Nightcaps" depend on how well the day went, but always the mixture as before. No mixing: no messing around with a gin here and a vodka there.

His advice on drinking:   

Of course, watching the clock for the start time is probably a bad sign, but here are some simple pieces of advice for the young. Don't drink on an empty stomach: The main point of the refreshment is the enhancement of food. Don't drink if you have the blues: It's a junk cure. Drink when you are in a good mood. Cheap booze is a false economy. It's not true that you shouldn't drink alone: These can be the happiest glasses you ever drain. Hangovers are another bad sign, and you should not expect to be believed if you take refuge in saying you can't properly remember last night. (If you really don't remember, that's an even worse sign.) Avoid all narcotics: These make you more boring rather than less and are not designed -- ​as are the grape and the grain -- ​to enliven company. Be careful about upgrading too far to single-malt Scotch: When you are voyaging in rough countries, it won't be easily available. Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop.

Rest in peace, Christopher. At half past midday, we'll raise a glass of Mr. Walker in your honor.

Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook!

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
9 comments
Resultant
Resultant

Like every thinker (and reactor) whose opinions are worth considering, Hitchens changed direction more than once.  He disappointed some of us with his stance on the "war in Iraq" (as it was dubbed and decontextualized with purposeful vagueness), and alienated others with his Blair-informed hatred of Clinton. But he was also an inspiring defender of atheism and a man of unwavering political conscience during his many years with the Nation.  And apart from one's feelings about him as a man, it is clear that he wrote even better than he spoke.

jodi
jodi

I believe the last sentence here is as follows: 

"It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don't know quite why this is true but it just is. Don't ever be responsible for it."

I am not sure why you chose to leave this part out, Woo. I think this is as important, if not possibly more so, than the most or all of the rest of the quote.

Ergo
Ergo

Ms. Woo raises a toast after swallowing Hitch BS hook, line and sinker.

1. Hitchens was a well known drunk.And anyone who says it's great to drink alone in the middle of the day is almost certainly a drunk.

2. More importantly, Hitchens does not deserve a toast.He was a vile racist bigot, advocating and celebrating slaughter of Arabs/Muslims to his last day.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Drinking and writing?  I am going to try that right now.

Rest easy Hitch. 

George Fenneman
George Fenneman

Let me get a screen dump of this. I figure that after about two months, it'll be "Christoper Who?" No Dylan Thomas he but, reputedly, a decent guy -- like most people, I keep reminding myself, if you give them a chance.

Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson

1. How it must pain you that he has done more in his life completely drunk than you will ever do sober.

2. "Celebrating slaughter of Arab/Muslims"? The only reason he supported the war in Iraq was because he demanded the liberation of the Iraqi people from a cruel dictatorship. Please explain how that makes him a "vile racist bigot".

Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson

It appears that after four months his books continue to be best-sellers, his work still prominent in political and academic discussion and debates. Let me get a screen dump of how wrong you were.

imakill
imakill

@Kevin Johnson A year later, and George is still so completely wrong.

ForTheQuinn
ForTheQuinn

@imakill Agreed. Raised a glass in his honor today (a day late) in honor of the anniversary and you can bet I'll do it again next year.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...