Drink - What kind of drinker are you?

Our relationship with alcohol is complicated. It's both one of life's great pleasures - and one of its great curses. Next week, 24-hour licences are introduced. Will they too be one of life's great pleasures - or just a curse? Either way, charge your glasses and toast our special Booze Review
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online



Jilly Cooper, Writer, 68

How much do you drink?

Two, three, maybe four glasses of wine every evening. But last night I only had one.

What's your favourite drink?

I love white wine. I normally drink Pinot Grigio but if I were rich I'd indulge in Pouilly Fumé or Sancerre every night. Champagne is also the best thing in the world. But I get terribly depressed when I run out.

How often do you get drunk?

There is nothing better than getting slightly pissed with one's friends and family. When my children visit we always have such fun getting a bit happy. I love getting drunk with the children.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

I have always adored drinking. The first time I got drunk I was 17 at a party in Oxford. Someone produced some Pimm's. It was the most delicious thing I'd ever tasted. I had about eight and passed out. A team of undergraduates had to carry me home.

Are you concerned about the health implications?

If you stay off the drink it does make your skin look amazing. The red road maps on your face just disappear. Wonderful.

How would you define your relationship with alcohol?

I find parties absolute hell without alcohol. I'm actually quite shy and a drink does make things easier.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

I think it is insanity. This country, bless its heart, is completely out of control. The young are drinking themselves into a stupor. And to introduce something like this just before Christmas, what were they thinking? Poor police.

Nitin Sawhney, Musician, 41

How much do you drink?

I'm not a big drinker. I don't drink a lot and I generally wouldn't drink more than three times a month. When I'm out with friends I don't always feel the need to have alcohol. There's never any pressure to drink.

What's your favourite drink?

Depending on how I feel, I might just have a soft drink or a glass of water. Other times I might have a vodka to chill out or relax in a certain social situation. Or maybe a glass of wine over dinner.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

I haven't always been like this. When I was a student, I drank quite a lot. But now I have become a lot more moderate.

Are you concerned about the health implications?

I do a lot of training and martial arts and exercise, and I don't like the feeling drink gives you the following morning. You can lose a lot of energy from drinking.

How would you define your relationship with alcohol?

Pretty relaxed.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

I think relaxing the drinking laws is a good thing. Prohibition has never worked anywhere in the world. It will probably cut down on a lot of binge drinking. At the end of the day, it's about people being sensible and about educating people about the dangers.

Jancis Robinson, Wine expert, 55

How much do you drink?

I drink about half a bottle a day, but virtually all of it with food. I'm very worried by the current British trend towards drinking more and more without any solid matter to sop up the alcohol. This is an unhealthy way to drink!

What's your favourite drink?

I write with the remnants of four vintages of Château Haut-Brion flowing through my veins. Probably my best ever wine was the last glass from a particular magnum of Château Cheval Blanc 1947, savoured in Burgundy in 1994.

How often do you get drunk?

You'd have to ask other people. I asked my husband. He said not often enough.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

It has definitely declined as I have aged.

How would you define your relationship with alcohol?

Dependence - certainly financial, probably intellectual, possibly physical.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

It's daft. Our attitude to drunkenness has evolved rapidly and dangerously in the last 20 years, so that today's twentysomethings see nothing shameful about consciously getting and unconsciously being drunk.

Unfortunately, we as a nation can't handle and don't deserve the concept of 24-hour drinking.

James Nesbitt, Actor, 40

How much do you drink?

I drink quite a lot of wine. I'd say four to five bottles a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I drink daily. After doing the play I always go across to the bar to have a glass of wine.

What's your favourite drink?

I like very good Bordeaux and Pouillac. I also like nice New World whites - I drink a lot of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

The suffering has changed - it takes a lot longer to recover then it used to, which makes me drink less.

How would you define your relationship with alcohol?

It used to be carnage, but now I like to see myself as a more sophisticated drinker, ie I spend more money to get drunk now.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

At my age I get too tired to go through the night - it's very hard to get up in the morning with a hangover with kids. Believe me, I've tried. But the odd night, all-hours drinking might come in handy. We'll only be able to tell if it's a good thing after a period of time.

I don't think it matters how many hours [pubs are open]. Binge drinking is such a big part of our culture now. It goes deeper than drinking. It's the whole socio-economic set-up in our country. If I need a drink at four in the morning, I'm all for it.

Alain de Botton, Writer and philosopher, 35

How much do you drink?

I have about one drink a month, and that's just so people think I'm normal. I often pretend to drink, because if I don't people assume I'm a Mormon or a recovering alcoholic or a control freak. I actually just don't like the taste and I don't need alcohol to relax.

What's your favourite drink?

I would honestly prefer a glass of fresh orange juice to any form of alcohol and it's generally very embarrassing to admit this.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

My first drink would have been some wine or beer when I was at school, where there was this great pressure to drink - but even then I didn't enjoy it.

Are you concerned about the health implications?

It's very hard for me to do any work the day after drinking. It clouds my head.

How would you define your relationship with alcohol?

I have a strangely indifferent relationship with alcohol. Many people feel upset, disturbed or even hostile when I don't drink. I think their biggest fear is that I'll judge them when they're drunk.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

Relaxing the drinking laws makes it a very easy pleasure. Like many things in modern life that are viewed as fun, it can be so nice that you'll want to indulge all the time - and now you'll be able to.

Alan McGee, Founder of Creation Records, 45

How much do you drink?

I haven't had a drop of alcohol in six months.

What's your favourite drink?

My only vice now is Diet Coke. I'm addicted to it. My wife says it's really bad for me and I should stop drinking it. But I've been addicted to everything else under the sun at some stage in my life and I don't think a bit of Diet Coke is going to do me much harm. It's not as bad as cocaine.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

I've stopped and started drinking all my life. From the age of 14 until 1994 I was getting pissed all the time. I realised I had to stop when I was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel's a day. I started again in 2001. But six months ago I decided it was time to stop for good. I'm in my forties and I can't go around being off my tits for ever.

Are you concerned about the health implications?

Since I stopped, I've lost two stone and I feel great.

How would you define your relationship with alcohol?

I just don't go near it anymore.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

I may have given up drinking but I'm pretty libertarian when it comes to others. I don't give a shit what nick someone is in as long as they do their job properly. Obviously, if you're pissed up it's easier to step on stage than to go into an office.

Amy Jenkins, Screenwriter, 39

How much do you drink?

I drink maybe one small bottle of beer every two weeks. I drink very occasionally when I'm out with friends and sometimes have the odd glass of wine over dinner.

What's your favourite tipple?

I love those Mexican beers, like Sol and Corona, because they're really light and taste a bit like soft drinks.

How often to you get drunk?

The last time I got really drunk was probably about 10 years ago.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

I drank a lot more when I was younger. I used to drink anything that was going: vodka,

champagne, wine, cocktails. I stopped drinking like that about 10 years ago, mainly because alcohol gives me awful hangovers.

Are you concerned about the health implications?

I have a very sensitive system and there are lots of foods I can't eat, so people who drink more than me probably don't have such awful hangovers.

How would you define your relationship with alcohol?

Disinterested.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

Not really. But I think it's a good idea. I don't think we can stop people binge drinking by limiting the hours. You have to give them the responsibility.

Myleene Klass, Musician and TV presenter, 27

How much do you drink?

I don't. I gave up drinking five years ago after my cocktail was spiked in a London nightclub. I don't like the taste of alcohol or its effects any more.

What's your favourite tipple?

I used to love girly drinks that didn't taste like alcohol. Malibu, Kahlua and milk, vodka cocktails, anything sweet. Now I'm happy to have an orange juice or a Diet Coke when I'm out with friends.

Have your drinking habits changed over the years?

When I was younger I used to drink, but I was never a really big drinker.

How difficult is it to remain teetotal?

Some people are very mistrustful of the fact that I don't drink. There is a big social pressure to drink. You have to be very strong.

Are you concerned about the health implications?

When I look at people my age there doesn't seem to be a huge awareness.

Will you be taking advantage of the relaxation of licensing laws?

I don't see how it could be an attractive prospect to be able to drink at seven in the morning. The law should focus on changing the culture of drinking.

Comments