Hot–toddies can indeed be an agreeable consequence to a mild illness. I have been known, when younger, to go out of my way to catch a cold so I had an excuse to finish a bottle of rather good whisky—I am occasionally fond of single malt, particularly an Islay.

image: mayo

I also got to know Russian vodka when I visited the Soviet Union (as was) about twelve years ago now, although was not able to follow up my introduction because I could not get much more than the occasional Stolichnya over here then. I also gained my first introduction to Czech beer then, and have to admit that their bottled beer is still one hell of a lot better than anything produced in a bottle in the UK—but that’s because they add all kinds of crap to British beer to give it a shelf life of nine months.

I generally agree with your comments about American beer, but I have to rush to defend some of the micro–breweries on the west coast, particularly in Seattle. There are some excellent brews there. I do wonder, though, about the habit of carpeting the floor with empty peanut shells. What do you mean by bitters—I assume not amber—do you mean something flavoured with Angostura?

I am rather fond of a good wine. For a white, I enjoy something fruity and dry, such as a good Chardonnay—and, for reds, especially with a curry, there’s nothing to beat a Claret or a good Bordeaux. Yes, my tastes in wine are exceedingly traditional. The current fashions over here are for South African, and, less so, Australian, which is petering out a bit. I’ve got about twenty bottles (mostly French) in the kitchen, slowly being drunk, as the mood determines.

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