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Handle The Proof: What To Drink On A Day Like Today

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Great. The full force of Texas winter is upon us...for a day...in October.

Another month and Europeans will start seeing mulled wine stands open. Decades ago these probably held a big, steaming pot of red wine spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and other seasonings. Nowadays, of course, you find commercial-sized stainless coffee pots.

Not the same charm, but it's still good stuff: gluhwein in Germany, glogg in Scandinavian countries, svarak (pronounced sfarzhak) in the Czech Republic...

Other hot drinks come to mind, such as toddies, Irish coffee and hot buttered rum. But we're not really to that point yet. In fact, researchers suggest that most people no longer think in seasonal terms when it comes to drinking.

A British report published in August, for example, claims men in the 18-44 age category call for cold drinks, no matter whether it is summer, fall or the depths of winter. You're unlikely to find hot drinks in the midst of a Texas summer, of course. But pubs in Dallas pour dark beers, such as Guinness, and good single malts all year long.

It seems as if only the brown spirits--more specifically bourbon, scotch and other whiskeys--receive a popularity boost from cooler weather. People drink more Champagne now through the end of December, but that has more to do with our perception of sparkling wine as a holiday or special occasion drink. Port also attracts a little more attention on rainy falls days. Really, however, this is the sort of weather that causes people like me to reach for the whiskey bottle.

Did that last night as I watched Mizzou (until the point where I realized they were letting the game slip away--at which point I changed channels, though I kept on with the Dalmore 12 year).

There is one cold cocktail I find suitable for this kind of weather, though: the rusty nail.

Naturally the rusty nail is based on whiskey--in two forms, really. Drambuie, the second ingredient following a good belt of scotch, is a malt whiskey imbued with honey and herbs. Pour over ice, add a twist of lemon and it will still warm your mind, even on a day like today.

Spending on alcohol does, however, jump dramatically in the autumn months according to some studies--a fact many attribute to the party season, rather than a sudden craving for toddies.

Fall is the season for brown spirits--more specifically bourbon, scotch and other whiskeys.

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