This week is one of the best times of year in New York City.  The air is finally brisk, there's a dusting of snow, work is light, the holidays are coming, and the carolers are knocking on your apartment door.  Okay, maybe no carolers.  And then there's the social calendar — yes, all the holiday parties.  I've got a packed dance card from here until I go back to Michigan, which means one thing: trying not to drink too much.

For me, alcohol is a bigger issue than eating a bunch of sweets.  I'm generally off sweets, and if I do have a little something, it usually doesn't stick with me.  I'll fast a little, and I don't keep sweets in the house, so my core routine is good.  Drinking too much alcohol, on the hand, can destroy my sleep, give me a serious hangover, and kill the entire next day.  And the times when I've gotten sick over the past three or four years almost always involve unseemly amounts of alcohol.  That is way more damaging to the life I want to lead than an occasional bit of sugar.

What's the old saying?  It only takes one drink to get me drunk…the problem is, I can't remember whether it's the 14th or 15th.  It's not that I have a drinking problem.  (They always say that.)  I'm just a social guy.  Which means for the next two and half weeks, from now until New Year's, I will almost certainly be averaging 3+ drinks a night.

So for me, this year, I'm following a few guidelines:

  • Drink early (that means I can coast on just a couple of drinks to increase sociability)
  • Stop early (that means at least a couple hours before bedtime)
  • Avoid sugary mixers
  • Stick to one type of drink (mixing and matching is a bad idea)
  • Have a glass of water in between drinks
  • Oh yeah, and drink less (almost forgot that one)

And gentlemen, this means being confident enough in your posture to not constantly be nursing a beer.  (You'd be amazed at how many bros feel awkward at parties without a drink in their hand.  It's like a security blanket.)

Anyhow, I'm off to dinner at Takashi for some offal (courtesy of French TV), and then going to drop by Tim Ferriss' release party for The Four Hour Body.

Wish me luck.

15 Responses to “Alcohol and the holidays”

  1. Having read this I believed it was very informative.

    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this content together.

    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Oh man, do I ever feel you. I’m a social person whose friends are almost without exception either bartenders/servers or filmmakers/artsy-types. The inability to keep up with the boys PBR for PBR has been much harder to take than the lack of bread or sugar.

  3. Ed says:

     Hi John,

    What’s going on with the French TV business? I live in France; if you’re going to be on French TV I’d be interested to know which programme and when…

  4. Ira says:

    I always keep it as natural as I can by sticking to the earliest agricultural intoxicants: beer and wine. Just like I try to avoid refined food products; why should I settle for less with my alcohol. Actually, I’m quite well respected among my friends and acquaintances as a wine connoisseour, and I enjoy the sophisticated, romantic air that goes along with sipping a glass of wine. And you can promote locovorism and supporting local farms by asking for local wines,as well as local breweries.


    • Victoria says:

      No love for, at least what some argue to be, the earliest alcoholic beverage?  Mead can be delicious, and no agriculture or viticulture required!



  5. Gene says:

     "And the times when I’ve gotten sick over the past three or four years almost always involve unseemly amounts of alcohol."  Same here.  Been sick two times in ten years. Both involved drinking all night plus low body temp (bar-hopping in 15 degree winter weather and splitting a bottle of rum while in a swimming pool for 5 hours).  Amazing.

    • John says:

      I can’t figure out whether it’s primarily the sleep loss (a sober all-nighter could probably get me sick) or the alcohol (immuno-suppresant). Clearly both, but some daytime drinking and a good nights sleep has makes me think much of it for me is the sleep loss.

      Dry air kills me too.

  6. Roland says:

     I really miss the eggnog

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just got my copy at Barnes and Noble too! Can’t wait to read it!

  8. Tuck says:

    BTW, your commenting system eats all the paragraph breaks and munges every thing together.


    This should be a new paragraph, for instance.

  9. Nobie says:

    Just picked up the book. I can’t wait to get through my 150 pages.  

  10. Nobie says:

     Also, On the topic of drinking….Leangains has some good discussion on damage control.

  11. Tuck says:

    Beer before liquor, never sicker

    Liquor before beer, free and clear


    Life’s tough in NYC.

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