How to: Drink whisky

By Oscar Quine

Don't know your rye from your Scotch? Just ask Dave Broom, author of comprehensive suppers' guide 'Whisky: The Manual' (Octopus, £14.99), where to start:

"Whisky is not just an old man's drink. Neither should it be a dreadfully serious one, or a terrifying one. To maximise your enjoyment, approach it with an open mind."

"Any time whisky's been popular in the past 500 years it's been drunk mixed – that's how most people around the world enjoy it. We're the nation with this hang-up that thou shalt not add anything. Whisky's a strong drink, it needs to be diluted, and comes alive when it is. If it's smoky, try it with soda. If it's a blend, try it with ginger ale or ginger beer."

"It's a complex drink, the most complex spirit of all, but remember it has been made to be enjoyed. Simply, it is just a drink which is there to give pleasure, not inflict pain."

Rotating column: literary pub names

By Samuel Muston

Has the pub-naming business been taken over by English Lit grads? Where once we had red lions and white harts, today it's become de rigueur to name a boozer after an author.

In quick succession, London has gained a WB Yeats, a Hunter S and a Hemingway pub.

Presumably the owners think it lends their boozers a patina of sophistication which will draw in the beaujolais-drinkers.

But are these grand old men of letters really such beacons of refinement? Consider the evidence: Yeats wrote a drinking song, Hunter S Thompson was the foremost proponent of narcotics in the 20th century and Hemingway was the type of drunk you'd cross the road to avoid. In short, they all behaved in a way that would get them barred from their modern namesakes.

Our suggestion? The Amis Arms (for Kingsley, not Martin)

Instant ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Q. My husband's latest resolution is to cook more, but he's terrible at it. How can I regain control of the kitchen?

A. Pepper his cooking time with unsolicited advice, season meals with criticisms posed as questions (eg, "How much salt did you put in this, darling?"). Then leave to simmer gently.


Micro extract: Gene genie

"It wasn't so long ago that no one – not even the richest person in the world – could get a peak into their genome. The science wasn't there. Today, the cost of genome sequencing is less than the cost of a high-quality TV."

From 'Inheritance: how our Genes change our lives and our lives change our genes' by Sharon Moalem (£18.99 Sceptre, 10 April)

Four play: Rosenberg appearances*

1. 'The Bell Jar' (first line)

2. 'Angels in America' (ghost played by Meryl Streep)

3. 'Mad Men's1 ("Ethel Rosenberg pink")

4. 'Daniel' (whole film plot)

*Ethel and Julius Rosenberg convicted for spying, today in 1951