Christopher Hitchens is stirred, not shaken, by the drinking arts

Hitchens in The Weekly Standard:

Screenhunter_10“How’s your drink?” was, apparently, the cordial question asked of his guests by Frank Sinatra, who didn’t like to think of anyone going short. “How’s your glass?” was the equivalent question (and, later, book title) in the case of Kingsley Amis, whose domestic strategy later boiled down to telling his more favored friends that if they didn’t have a full drink in their hands, it was their own bloody fault for not refilling without waiting to be asked.

That book was actually a quiz book, in which you could be asked “From what does Scotch receive its color?” or “What happens to a vintage port before and after bottling?” The answers were helpfully included at the end, often with a cheery wealth of extra detail, so the volume doubled as a guide and general adviser as well. But Amis also wrote two other drinkers-companion efforts, entitled Every Day Drinking and On Drink. (Interest declared: All these will soon be reissued in a handy single volume by Bloomsbury, with an introduction by your humble servant.)

Eric Felten doesn’t write as well as Kingsley Amis, which is no disgrace (he is a jazz musician, an occupation for which Amis had a high regard) but he does have a feel for literature as it relates to booze, and he has been out there on our behalf and done an awful lot of homework. His book, which is a distillation, if I may put it like that, of his celebrated Wall Street Journal column of the same name, is by far the wittiest and the most comprehensive study of the subject since the author of Lucky Jim laid down his pen.

More here.