Yesterday: another day of lockdown, another day of not touching The Stash.
Well done, me.
The Stash is the household alcohol supply – specifically my half of it. We’re not permitted to buy alcohol here during the lockdown, so it’s a case of making what you have, last.
My wife and I generally drink different stuff, so we can effectively divide the adult drinks into hers (gin, white wine, cider) and mine (brandy, red wine, beer). And we’re lucky in that I saw the lockdown coming and stocked up a bit before it hit us. We’re still ok for drinks at the moment, but it is a one-way street, because there’s going to be nothing new coming in for really quite some time.
I’ve realised that I have taken something of a scientific approach: subconsciously analysing my drinking habits, while (equally subconsciously) grading the drinks I have left. Some sort of informal scale has been drawn up mentally, and I refer to it often.
An aside: it’s interesting (to me, at least) that one starts drinking the decent brandy first, leaving the rough stuff til desperation strikes, while the “everyday” wine takes a hammering long before you contemplate the nice stuff hidden at the back of the cupboard under the stairs.
My first worry is beer though. I like beer and there’s not too much left. And so, by the laws of scarcity, every single one becomes more valuable: something special, not to be wasted. Add that to their already inflated value on the subconscious grading scale, and you can see that they need to be looked after.
Problem is that the first one each evening goes down like the proverbial homesick mole. Whoosh.
There’s a South African expression:
‘n boer maak ‘n plan
Literally, “a farmer makes a plan”: something about the indefatigable nature of the Afrikaans farmer, sure, but with an element of “necessity is the mother of invention” as well.
My invention is to replace my first beer with a cheap brandy and coke. Yes, the cheap brandy (I’m using Olaf Bergh, named after the noise you make after drinking three of them) is part of The Stash, but it’s a very minor part – way down the list from the heady heights of Castle Milk Stout. And it’s backed up by more cheap(ish) brandy in the form of two unopened bottles of Klipdrift Premium still safely sequestered.
It’s not great, but since it goes down like a fat kid on a see-saw anyway, there’s not too much afterburn. Immediate thirst quenched.
Not only does this mean that I don’t wastefully use up a first beer, it also means that I can’t have a second beer either – simply because I haven’t had a first. And thus The Stash remains in (relatively) good repair. Brandy and coke certainly wouldn’t be my first choice of beverage in any other situation, but if I were in fact a boer, it might well be, and that little bit of synchronicity makes me happy.
Tonight is pub quiz night and so I will require some actual beer, but that initial hit will once again be from Olaf, the previously unsung superhero of the lockdown.
Please join me in raising a glass to him this evening. What you fill it with is up to you.