As this pandemic has evolved, so too has my relationship with alcohol.
When it started, as I wrote right here, I entered into the idea of locking down with a sort of resilience. Beer wasn’t going to matter for a little while, I suggested then; this was a time to think about circling the wagons and hunkering down with family. As it turns out of course, during the pandemic beer really, really did matter. Boy, did it matter.
As with most folks, I found myself upping my intake and, as I wrote when I made my eventual return to this blog, I discovered that it has actually become easier, more enjoyable, and more acceptable to drink great local beer frequently during these weird times. A column I’ve written for a soon-to-be-released winter issue of The Growler explores similar themes.
But I find my consumption habits changing again. As all of us across Ontario (and Canada) watch COVID case numbers break records day after day and hospital ICUs begin to fill up once more, we are almost certainly on the precipice of “wave two” and with it the various rules and regulations related to another lockdown are sure to follow.
It is exhausting.
No matter what your employment status, no matter if you are single, married, procreating, childless, in favour of sending kids to school, doing online learning, supporting small business, running a small business, sitting at a desk, sitting in a van. Whatever.
We are all fucking exhausted.
And so, while I’m still indulging in locally-made beer and enjoying the ability to order it to my door (I’m waiting at my door with bated breath for a shipment from Matron as I write this), I have found that I’ve resorted to a more no-nonsense and to-the-point tipple these days. I won’t say the time for beer is fully behind us forever (because I’ll never say that), but increasingly it seems clear to me that this is the time for Just Fucking Bourbon.
Beer is obviously fantastic and during the summer a lot of us enjoyed something akin to the “rebirth of the cocktail” as we used extra downtime and the need to socialize outdoors to re-acquaint ourselves with the spritz, the negroni, the martini, manhattans, et al. But those times are coming to a close.
As I stand at the dark and uncertain edge of a long winter, when, at the end of the day, the question as to what to drink to wind down pops into my head, the answer from the voice inside my head is now usually “Just Fucking Bourbon.” (The voice in my head, by the way, also sounds a lot these days like a tired Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, Tommy Lee Jones’ character in No Country for Old Men).
Because Just Fucking Bourbon isn’t messing around.
I don’t need to consider Diet" 80 target="_blank">food pairings, refrigeration, proper glassware. It’s sitting right there in that decanter in my living room. It, like me, is ready to end this day. It’s Just Fucking Bourbon.
Sure, these days I work at a desk in our guest room in comfortable clothes and I mostly only leave the house to walk the dog, escort garbage cans on their way to or from the curb, or pick up something we overlooked on our weekend click-and-pick grocery order, but a nice belt of Just Fucking Bourbon at the end of the day still feels like the metaphorical loosening of the tie.
Post dinner clean-up, walking around the house closing the blinds, picking up errant Lego, moving the unread weekly newspaper again, I find that the glass of Just Fucking Bourbon in my hand makes things clear: We are most certainly winding this shit down tonight, sir. We’ll give it another go tomorrow, but right now, there’s Just Fucking Bourbon.
In the Groundhog Day world of 2020, Just Fucking Bourbon is a reset before we wake up to “I Got You, Babe” on the clock radio again tomorrow. At the end of a long day, filled with whatever tedium you’ve endured, what better reward than Just Fucking Bourbon? And as distraction from the typhoon of fuckery on the news, in your social media feeds, and in your inbox, who couldn’t use the comforting refuge of Just Fucking Bourbon?
Yes. At a time when there’s not a ton of good things to indulge in right now, there is at least Just Fucking Bourbon.