One of my favorite TV shows these days is ‘Mad Men.” Not only is it pretty damn good at weaving a story, but it brings back into social consciousness the classic ‘wet lunch,” where a properly mixed cocktail or two coincides, instead of clashes, with a business lunch.

I stand by the idea of having a drink or two with lunch. The gradual transition of the ‘drinking hour” from lunch to 5 p.m. is a shame to me. So many deliciously light cocktails have gone out of phase in favor of the heavy alcoholic drinks used in the later hours (to catch up for lost time, I assume).

But what are some classic lunchtime drinks that would fit well in today’s society? I turn to ‘Mad Men,” again, for inspiration into this bold foray in noontime drinking.

It is easy to start out this expedition into verboten drinking with a beer. Beer has been a drink for every hour throughout the ages, so I suppose it would be a wise and gentle start to our reintroduction of the high-noon quaff. If I have a beer with lunch, it will be something light and drinkable.

Many macro beers fit well into this, like a Bud, but there are some other more appropriate beers that can be found off the beaten track. A good pilsener, like the Czech pils Pilsner Urquell would be a good choice. Easy drinking and slightly bitter, it would be a nice light start to the day. Don’t feel like going bitter? Then take a leaf from the German page and stick with a hefeweizen, a German wheat beer. Light in body and hop content, it is a pleasant bread-like pint with hints of banana and clove. Om nom nom!

You could also go for a glass of wine, but I wouldn’t drink a super-heavy red that early, as that combination with anything but a salad would put me into a food coma. Stick with a white, that way you won’t fall asleep during that after-lunch meeting. No one likes it when you drool on your coworkers. Well … some people might but that’s not really my column.
If spirits are more your thing, you can’t go wrong with a martini lunch. Gin is a pretty citrusy spirit, so it would go well with fish. Or you could just say ‘screw that” and have martinis. That always works.

A Bloody Mary is always appropriate although it could signal to your fellow workers that you’re already either a) nursing a hangover or b) nursing a buzz. If you’re brave, go for it. The tomato juice and celery makes it sort of healthy too. It’s like having an alcoholic soup and salad combo for lunch.

If you’re a whiskey lover, a good old-fashioned Old Fashioned will appease the Whiskey Gods. Try to find a place that doesn’t just use that disgusting ‘Old Fashioned mix.” Go to a bar that actually makes cocktails, not pours them pre-made from a bottle. It makes a difference, trust me. You could also sport a Manhattan if you’re feeling particularly ‘pinkies-up” or a mint julep if it’s a hot day. For vodka, a vodka tonic or a simple screwdriver are sure winners.

If you’re feeling adventurous, upgrade that orange juice to grapefruit juice and turn it into a Greyhound. Finally, if you’re in the mood for something creamy (and you’re not lactose intolerant), I’d order a White Russian, one of my favorite uses for vodka. How can you argue with the drink ‘The Dude” abides with? You can’t. Don’t even try.

So there you have it: a brief summary of some decent drinks to whet your whistle during the lunchtime lull. I will say that you shouldn’t have too many because if you drive drunk I will change $50 in quarters, put them in a sock and beat you with it. The Pint Half Full does not abide by drunk driving.

As always, e-mail’s at the bottom. Feel free to contact me with recommendations, comments, etc.

Spolverino is a member of the class of 2010.
Scott’s e-mail address is scott.spolverino@rochester.edu.
He is the author of inwithbacchus.com



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