Every now and then a class or a workshop pops up that I just have to take. Last month’s Drinking Primer at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival was one of those.
Half out of sheer curiosity and half with the thought that I can use this class for an article, I signed up.
Before I even got to the room, I heard about the legend that Eric Crane, the class’s instructor:
“Be careful- he’ll make you spit your drink out you’ll be laughing so hard!”
“OMG he’s a fucking riot.”
No one said anything about his instructing abilities. Really, there wasn’t any reason to. Any person whose job it is to drink for a living yet has the liver of a non-drinker according to their doctor (it’s true, we saw the picture), is the perfect teacher. Here are Crane’s tips:
- Drink water all day. “Walking around is exercising,” Crane told us. So, drink water like you’re working out so you stay hydrated.
- Find a drinking buddy- preferably before you start drinking. Make it someone you trust and who you’ll listen to when they tell you to stop. Crane also recommends your buddy be, “someone who doesn’t know how to get arrested… Will take your phone away… Has a working credit card.”
- Always practice drinking. When you practice, you’ll know your limit better and know what types of alcohol effect you in what ways.
- “You don’t have to eat and drink everything in site.” It’s okay to be choosy. Going to a party? BYOBTD (bring your own beverage to drink).
- Okay, you don’t have to eat and drink everything in site but do eat. Eating will not only keep your energy up to help you keep drinking all day long, it will also help your body digest the alcohol you’re consuming.
- Learn how to properly spit. It’s okay to not drink all of a drink. Sample some, sip from others, swish it around in your mouth. If you don’t like the taste, don’t swallow- spit.
- “If a daiquiri costs $20, you’re probably making a great decision,” says Crane. Stay out of the 30 flavor frozen wonderland tourist traps and head to local haunts. Not only will the quality of the drink be better, you’ll be better able to tell what you’re consuming. Crane wants you to remember, “a $3 piña colada equals a $1,000,000 hangover.”
- Stick mostly with aperitifs if you want to survive a full day of drinking. High quality biano vermouth, wines with high acidity, dry sherries, light sparkling wines, ciders, and light beers are your best bets.
- Don’t be afraid of sparkling water. It aids in digestion and will keep everything you’re ingesting moving along; just don’t chug it.
- Remember what you’re drinking. Use apps like Delectable, BJCP, When Wine, BarNotes, EasyMeme to document your tasting travels. Not only will it help you remember the next day, it can help you keep track of how much you’re taking in that day.
And, perhaps most importantly, Crane told us, despite what Kenny Chesney tell us, “you can drink tequila without going crazy.”