Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis

Kingsley Amis, Christopher Hitchens (intro.)

Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis

Kingsley Amis was one of the great masters of comic prose, and no subject was dearer to him than the art and practice of imbibing. This new volume brings together the best of his three out-of-print works on the subject: Kingsley Amis in Drink, Everyday Drinking and How's Your Glass? In one handsome package, the book covers a full shelf of the master's riotous and erudite thoughts on the drinking arts: Along with a series of well-tested recipes (including a cocktail called the Lucky Jim) are Amis's musings on The Hangover, The Boozing Man's Diet, The Mean Sod's Guide, and (presumably as a matter of speculation) How Not to Get Drunk - all leavened with fun quizzes on the making and drinking of alcohol all over the world. Mixing practical know-how and hilarious opinionation, this is a delightful cocktail of wry humour and distilled knowledge, served by one of our great gimlet wits. 3.9 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Food & Drink
Format Hardback
Pages 320
RRP £9.99
Date of Publication November 2008
ISBN 978-0747599784
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

Kingsley Amis was one of the great masters of comic prose, and no subject was dearer to him than the art and practice of imbibing. This new volume brings together the best of his three out-of-print works on the subject: Kingsley Amis in Drink, Everyday Drinking and How's Your Glass? In one handsome package, the book covers a full shelf of the master's riotous and erudite thoughts on the drinking arts: Along with a series of well-tested recipes (including a cocktail called the Lucky Jim) are Amis's musings on The Hangover, The Boozing Man's Diet, The Mean Sod's Guide, and (presumably as a matter of speculation) How Not to Get Drunk - all leavened with fun quizzes on the making and drinking of alcohol all over the world. Mixing practical know-how and hilarious opinionation, this is a delightful cocktail of wry humour and distilled knowledge, served by one of our great gimlet wits.

John Crace's Digested Read (The Guardian)

Reviews

The Financial Times

Christopher Bray

You'll have heard that Kingsley Amis liked a drop. What you might not have heard is that "the King" was very learned about the stuff, too - as Christopher Hitchens tells us in his elegant introduction to this collection of Amis's three books on booze... Everyday Drinking is a hilarious read - and it even has an index so you can look up what exactly goes into a Pisco Sour.

15/11/2008

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The New York Times

Dwight Garner

These books are so delicious they impart a kind of contact high; they make you feel as if you’ve just had the first sip of the planet’s coldest, driest martini. Amis was an unorthodox guide to the drinking arts. “Not much of a wine man,” he nonetheless drank it and wrote about it often and well. He preferred spirits and beer, and complained about wine snobs and the “pro-wine pressure on everybody.” Among his essays is one titled “The Wine-Resenter’s Short Handy Guide.”...As anyone who has read Zachary Leader’s 2007 biography of Amis knows, alcohol did unspool his mind a bit at the end. But you finish this book, and Mr. Leader’s, believing that it added more to his life than it took away.

04/06/2008

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The Observer

Roger Scruton

Each chapter is packed with observations that, in their utter disregard for political correctness, social inclusiveness and phoney compassion, are as punchy and uplifting as the vile cocktails they describe... if you are seeking a requiem for the pub culture and all that it meant, then this is the book for you. It will not console you for the loss, but it will teach you how to be rude about it, with that inimitable rudeness that Kingsley perfected and which was the breast-plate across a warm, vulnerable and thoroughly decent heart.

23/11/2008

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The Independent on Sunday

Steve Jelbert

The third [volume], the drinking quiz How's Your Glass?, is now of limited historical interest, but Amis's tips on stiffing dinner party guests still sparkle, while his "drinking man's diet" is anything but faddy. The cover quote on vodka is worth the asking price by itself. Though Amis (pictured below) actively celebrates intoxication, there's wisdom here too. "Champagne is only half a drink," he says, "The rest is a name on a label." This peek into a distant era when bittall and the rather Stalinist-sounding Wine Development Board could be mentioned without elucidation, is ideal Boxing Day fare.

30/11/2008

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The Los Angeles Times

Susan Salter Reynolds

The essays from "On Drink" are the funniest and most philosophical -- Amis on "Mean Sods" (cheap hosts), hangovers, "How Not to Get Drunk," etc. In his essay on "The Hangover," which Christopher Hitchens refers to as a "piece of selfless research," Amis fills a void by offering a cure for the spiritual manifestations of the hangover, a "unique route to self-knowledge and self-realization." The essay includes a section on "Hangover Reading," in which the author recommends the final scene of "Paradise Lost" and Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich."

24/08/2008

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The New York Times

Dominique Browning

You can feel, in “Every Day Drinking,” the strain of having to discover yet another entertaining cocktail to write about, or the creaky windup for yet another whack at the wine list. The editor of the current book would have been well advised to include, in his helpful glossary of drinking terms, the verb “to distill.” There’s nothing concentrated or refined about this volume... The main virtue of having collected these books is an excuse for the introduction, a graceful, affectionate essay, “The Muse of Booze,” by kindred spirit Christopher Hitchens.

01/06/2008

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The Sunday Times

Joanna Simon

At its best, it is a pithy, amusing insight into the chattering classes' drinking habits in an era when spirits and cocktails held sway. Elsewhere, it is Amis at his most arch and repetitive. But in the current financial climate, his Mean Sod's Guide (how to serve guests as little booze as cheaply as possible) might come in useful.

30/11/2008

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