23 December

For the nights before Christmas the people in my office suggested I should stop being so serious and do something fun. Specifically they suggested I should wear a silly hat. I have a series of hats that many people thing are fairly silly, but I'm not going to wear them here and I'm certainly not going to wear a party hat - and that's what I told them.

Then they suggested that I should do something at least a little Christmas-like, so I said, I would make some cocktails. So I'm going to doing that tomorrow.

For now some points about cocktails to add to your memory palace of trivia, and a little bit of politics.

First of all cocktails came out of United States during the years of prohibition. The point being to make drinks that didn't look like booze at all but that actually contained quite a lot off booze. Prohibition of alcohol in the USA was, of course, a massive failure which criminalised ordinary people doing everyday things and made the mistake of attempting to legislate for 'morality' and against human vice. Prohibition also created huge opportunities for organised crime, which of course were exploited ruthlessly.

Prohibition was such a massive success that bone-headed politicians responding to hypocritical moral panics around the globe by legislating in a similar way and creating new opportunities for gangsters to get rich on the back of human weakness - or the human desire for fun, depending on how you look at it.

The lesson of all this is that where human 'vices' are concerned regulation is best and prohibition just doesn't work.

The other thing about cocktails is they are big business, the margins are massive and the capacity to rip people off is huge. So consider these point:

  • Cocktails have high profit margins - gross profit is between 80% and 90% depending on the price. That's comparable to the profit margins on spirits and a lot higher than beer. 
  • Beers and spirits are strictly regulated - the alcohol percentage is stated and the measures are controlled - cocktails are not and can be mixed with less alcohol making them even more profitable.
  • Cocktails are the original 'alchopop' easy to drink and moreish.

 So from this, my friends, I draw a couple of conclusions:

  • Don't put up with watery cocktails - if it's rubbish send it back.
  • Drink responsibly and don't spend more than you can afford.

John's special Euro cocktail for Christmas 2017