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Books for Christmas, Thirsty Reader—and Xmas Too!

New this year, Thirsty Reader: no lectures! No rants about the decline of reading! Instead, just a short detour to the land of electronic readers—Nooks and Kindles.  I’m recommending them for their splendid convenience ¶ My first Kindle weighed just 8 ounces; my latest [with a lighted screen], 15 ounces: that makes them excellent travel […]

Stalking the Talk: The Worst Wine Words

Desperation—of writers for stuff to write about and of editors for stuff to publish—is a leading cause of How to Talk About Wine articles. This, Thirsty Reader, is not that article. This is How Not to Talk About Wine. ¶ It derives from the annual-or-not Poured With Pleasure Shivaree, a wingding for inmates of Liberty […]

Loathercon 2014: Bad Gifts for the Drinking Class

LoatherCon, our annual festival of cringe-making gifts for the drinking class, convened once again at Parade’s End, corner of Lois Lane and Della Street, for the customary mockery and merriment. And for lagniappe we even came up with some good gifts. ¶ For example, making ice balls no longer requires Williams-Sonoma’s $1100 appliance now that […]

What’s It All About, Vodka?

Vodka, the clear and present danger, lives in interesting times, as the ancient Chinese said.* Or are said to have said. Some tony modern barmen dismiss it as lowly industrial knockout juice, and thus beneath their notice. Mixmaster Tony Abou-Ganim isn’t buying it, and he combines facts, lore and recipes in Vodka Distilled to turn […]

A Holiday Garland

To one and all although time be fleeting, To you each bring I this Christmas greeting: Of drinkers books I proffer a bevy, Some light as air are, yet others heavy. These holiday burdens that freight my shelves Lie heaped by eager squads of vinous elves. Come, ease you my bookcase’s weary groan By transferring […]

They Can’t Drink, They Won’t Drink: The Holiday Quandary

Come we now to festive times, amici: Thanksgiving is behind us and Hanukkah too, but Kwanzaa and Christmas lie in wait, as do office parties, New Year’s Eve and various ad hoc jollifications. Waiting with them is the old problem of what to do for non-drinkers. Their tribe increases, what with the too-young, the too-old,designated […]

Farewell, Summer!

The summer’s gone, and Heaven’s to Betsy, all the roses falling. That’s the way of it here in Gotham, where burning Sappho loved and sung. Oft before the gloaming comes on I’ll retreat to the Locanda del Pavimento, a.k.a. sidewalk, there to sit in the open air and sip thoughtfully at some life-sustaining beverage [just […]

Summer Books: A Drink-and-Read Selection

Thirsty Reader responded to my Christmas book post with a line from Auntie Mame: ‘Books are awfully decorative, don’t you think? Mame’s blithe spirit conjured my favorite moment from another film, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, in which Mr. Right gives a book to Ms. Wrong, a gorgeous model he delusionally thinks has a […]

Vodka, Grappa and the Italian Bloody Mary

  Back in the 1960s the Nonino clan began making a silk purse out of the sow’s ear called grappa. It’s Bloody Mary time in Gotham. Here at Wits’ End [corner of Nathan Lane and Wistful Vista] we like to celebrate at Chez Stadium, a.k.a. the roof. Thence we gaze upon the urban ebb and […]

How to Write About Wine for the Slicks: A Beginner’s Guide

Thirsty Reader often asks ‘How can I become a wine writer for the slick magazines? Or the blogs, websites and e-zines? What certifications, arcane courses, secret passwords and weighty degrees do I need to enter the sacred grove? How many years spend in monk-like poring over holy scrolls?’ Fool, he! To think that I would […]