Whisky Magazine Issue 4
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Alcohol is not only good for you, says Dr Thomas Stutaford; it also used to be available on Britain's National Health Service
My father, who taught me much about life and medicine, wasn't a drinking man, as the term would be understood in the remoter parts of the Fens or marshes of East Anglia. From an early age I and my brothers always joined him in drinking beer at lunch time. As a night-cap, a very liberal measure of whisky was, he thought, a better hypnotic than any produced by the pharmaceutical companies. He recommended that his patients, if they could afford it, should take a glass of sherry or Champagne mid-morning, or if less well off, a glass of Guinness.
It is well over 50 years since my father, long since dead, first invited me to join him in his study for his late evening whisky. I can still remember the occasion as if it was last week. I was about 15 or 16 at the time, at an age where today the thought of having a glass of whisky would appall a British social worker and probably produce the police in the United States. The whisky, which we drank neat, had that old-fashioned taste to it which I thought had disappeared until I tasted it again last year. In Skye it is still possible to buy Poit Dhubh distilled in the old, traditional way. As soon as I smelled it, I was transported back to my adolescence.
My father was right; there is no better means of putting the day's worries into perspective than a glass of whisky at night. It is not only a mild soporific but also an excellent tranquilliser, enabling domestic and professional worries to be forgotten before going to bed. It fits wel...