The Drinker’s Delphi

The Devil Drink

I have received, with thanks, all of your many interesting questions.

Do you like pina coladas?
Crazybrave Zoe

The Piña Colada: part of every nutritious breakfast. They make every work morning seem like a holiday in the sun. Yes, I do like them. What I do not like are jokes taken…

Getting caught in the rain?
Ampersand Duck

…that one step too far. Shame shame shame.

I’m currently writing a baroque jazz funk opera about The Glorious Revolution and I’m struggling to find a word that rhymes with ‘Orange’ – especially when sung by a counter tenor who’s always on the turps.
Can you suggest anything here?
Stymied of St Kilda

Well Stymied, don’t rhyme anything with “Orange”. It can’t be done without a faux-Frenchie accent, as you perfectly well know. How about Jacobites/Succession fights/Bill of Rights/men in tights?

As to keeping your countertenors dry: how about you stage William’s invasion by Parliamentary mothership—heh, see what I did there—and have him descend on a wire to the stage, amongst strobe lights, into the middle of a grateful United Kingdom of massed bass-thwackers and cage-dancers? That way you can use the strings to prop him up.

Okay Beelzebooze, bring on the Facts…
1) What is the most reliable saucy beverage? (y’know, nudge nudge… hip lubricant)
2) What is the best hangover-curing beverage?

Picture this: as the landscape rolls by outside the train window, Eva Marie Saint reaches across the dining car table for Cary Grant’s cigarette, taking it from his fingers into her mouth, and lightly holding the back of his hand as he ignites it with a book-match. Now picture Tone Loc’s dog doing the wild thing on his leg after a drop of Funky Cold Medina. Which is the more appealing?

That’s right. There’s no such thing as a surefire leg-opening Love Potion #9, my frustrated friend, there’s only getting your drunk on in pairs with the maximum of closeness, personal touching, and enforced intimacy. Think a picnic, a litre bottle of pilsner and small glasses that need constant refilling (“here, hold this”). Think home-made pizza eaten without cutlery and a bottle or two of proseco. Think bringing back two piña coladas on a tray to your lover in bed, with the Tuesday newspaper, your work phone off the hook, and the kids at the Star City car park. Hell, think of that snuck bottle of Spumante you had at the back of the bus when you were thirteen, passed around half a dozen pimply hormonal mouths. Oh yeah.

As for hangover-curing beverages, try a piña colada hair-of-the-dog, vegemite toast, hot unsugared bitter black coffee and flu tablets. Or…

Are you into cocaine?

I’m into a lot of interesting things, my child, including ludicrous questions asked (I suspect) for no other reason than to elicit an argument. I’m my own advocate, and I shan’t shy away. Shall I debate you on the finer points of the anti-cocaine arguments, weighing the rights and wrongs of financially supporting the narcotraficantes throughout Latin America and organised crime everywhere, or would you prefer an historical romp with the well-paid AIF through the wartime coke-dens of Cairo, as evidence of the fun-dust’s cemented place in our society? Both are true. She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie, cocaine.

One good earworm deserves another.

I attended a performance of Keating! The Musical at the theatre last night, and had a couple of sherbets before the show.
While waiting in the queue for the ladies’ loo just before the show began, a neatly groomed middle aged man approached me and volunteered to escort me into the gentlemen’s convenience. I accepted, and he led me in, waited for me, showed me to a basin, pointed out the handtowels, and held the door open for me to exit.
Some of the men in there (and there were many) appeared bewildered or affronted. But I’d had too much wine to wait until interval. Did I do the right thing?
Crazybrave Zoe, who forgot she already asked a question before

You did the right thing, Zoe, and your second question shows rather more creativity than your first. Well done.

The theatre does seem to have changed since I last went, or are musicals of the chatterati more salubrious? Were a middle-aged gent to escort a woman into the men’s conveniences, I don’t think I’d be alone in reading a clear proposition. Come into my parlour, said the theatre critic to the ingenue, and put down that toilet seat lid. One mustn’t get leftover cocaine on one’s theatre-duds.

If you happen to run out of Noilly Prat, is it still OK to have olives in your gin not-quite-a-martini? I rather like olives, and I don’t see why the absence of mixer should deny me the pleasure.
Fyodor M. Bazarov, a man of wealth and taste

The short answer: of course it is. The drinker’s art is an imaginative one.

A longer answer: Why not drink gin with an olive and call it an unvermouthed martini?

Alternatively, if you’ve run out of vermouth, and you must have a cocktail with more than one ingredient, have your man pour a drink of gin with a small splash of sake or dry sherry. It won’t be a martini by any stretch, but it will go nicely with a side-plate of olives before one goes down for dinner. Of course the critical thing about the martini, or the mutant Pan-Pacific or Americo-Andalusian concoction you’re now drinking, isn’t the contents but the volume, potency and temperature. Brine from a jar of olives is not alcoholic, and has no place in even a quasi-martini. Keep your shaker in the fridge, fresh ice in the freezer, and your jar of delicatessen olives next to the bottles—note the plural—of gin. Generosity should make up for any other deficiency.

If symptoms persist, fire your valet.

One question, Devil Drink.
White sambucca: WHY?!?!?

Whaddareya some kinda racist huh Harry? For shame.

The Devil Drink answers your curiosities, satisfies your disagreements, and lays down the law on drinkers’ etiquette. Your questions for next week may be asked in comments below or anonymously to

7 thoughts on “The Drinker’s Delphi

  1. Fussy, much! I just wanted to leave a nice hostess-y comment so no-one would feel as crook as a kid with a gutful of $1.99 passion pop too shy to ask the school spunk to dance at the Year 9 disco.

    Anyway, Tanqueray 10 – is it twice as good as ordinary Tanqueray?

  2. Cheers, Sates!


    “Brine from a jar of olives is not alcoholic, and has no place in even a quasi-martini.”

    Not according to my favourite barlady in the world, at the Lennox Lounge in Harlem. Tanqueray, about a teaspoon of lemon juice and a dessert-spoon of brine, 2 olives. I’d ordered a dirty, she asked if I’d “like to taste her special one” – and really, I’m not the sort to refuse that kind of double-entendre without a very good reason.

  3. How devilish are spirits on the rocks versus those that are straight?

    Can i get away with calling a slug of Mt Gay straight a bi-sexual?

    What would you call a slug of vodka, three drops of bitters and a squeeze of lime?

  4. I actually have a real question this week. Yay me, etc. I am not allowed to have much to drink so when I can get one it assumes a possibly disproportionately large importance. So, the other night at the local tarted-up pub I ordered a meal which the menu said was a ‘salad of spicy Asian greens’ and a glass of reisling to drink with it. When the food came the salad was cut-up iceberg lettuce, ie Asian greens my arse. So I sent it back, of course, and ordered something else, which when it came was edible at least and if the cook had spat in it I could see no signs of same.

    But my new dinner did not match the wine I chose to go with the old one. In these circumstances would I have been justified in returning the glass of wine and asking for another?

  5. 1) What is the most reliable saucy beverage? (y’know, nudge nudge… hip lubricant)

    Past experience – long ago suggests Stone’s Green Ginger Wine and / or a bottle of Corio Whisky poured into a large bottle of coke.

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