Category: Drinking

Champagne Socialists or Hooray Henrys?

Grimy Miner, Going Postal

I my previous post (see here) I highlighted the concerns regarding the drinking culture at Durham University and how the Labour MP for Durham City, Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, voted with the student element in the referendum, indeed, in conversations that I had with her on her blog (now deleted by her) she said that she voted that way because of the student vote in Durham, and how important it was to heed their voices.

When it was pointed out to her that the student vote was transient and that her resident constituency had voted massively in favour of Leave she severed contact.

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Sex and drugs and upper firsts

I live a few miles out of Durham City, in a former pit village. For those who don’t know Durham it is a World Heritage site

Grimy Miner, Going Postal

and home to Durham University, one of the prestigious 5 Universities in Britain (Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Imperial College London being the others).

Durham University is (temporary) home to some seventeen and a half thousand students (last available figures 2014). There exists an uneasy truce twixt Town and Gown but our MP, Ms Roberta Blackman-Woods, and Durham County Council, seems to hold them in higher regard than their more permanent constituents. I communicated with Ms R B-W regarding her stance on Brexit and she eventually stated that she voted to remain because “the student vote was to remain”. When it was pointed out that this 17,000+ voter base was transient, and that they could not ALL be remainers and that her total constituency had, in fact, voted to leave she closed communication with me and deleted the correspondence on her blog.

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*Special* Christmas Nibbles for those occasions where you simply wish they wouldn’t come


OK everyone, it’s that time of year when you see *friends* and those *family* members you do not really like very much come round yours.  To keep face, and pretend you don’t hate them at least, you must offer them something to eat and drink.  I see from the articles we have so far for the ‘ Advent Calendar of Cuisine’, that they cover some delicious meals and drinks.  In these difficult circumstances, you do not want to be wasting good food and drink on these people.  The solution therefore is to provide some special *drink* and *food*

Regarding drinks, many of us will have won a raffle prize or two where it is a bottle of sparking urine or similar.  Keep these, and tell your guests they are in for an international treat.  Explain that as you are on a strict diet, you cannot partake of this yourself.

So here is a couple of  *nibbles* that you can prepare, in some cases weeks in advance, some can be frozen or kept in the fridge and they should last until Christmas has finally finished, which we will know about, as the shops will be stocking Easter Eggs, except they will now be called *Holiday Chocolate Eggs* to avoid offending people who are not of a Christian religion, but will of course offend all those who are of a Christian religion.  I digress:


Pttm, Going Postal

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Cider – Milling the stuff

I currently have a project role at Heineken, based at the Cider Mill in Hereford.  It really is a great company, with terrific people.  Even though I, like many others, are contractors, they treat us as part of the team, with all the benefits of being a Heineken employee.  As a Test Manager, I know bugger all about brewing beer, or milling cider.  (Cider is milled, not brewed).

I am going to write this article over the course of milling our cider, so day one was 22nd  November.

Anyway, our project being new to the Cider Mill site in Hereford, was invited to spend a few days, over a few weeks, to mill and vinify some cider, the old fashioned way.  The first day was bloody hard work.

The recipe starts with “take 1,500kg of apples”

Pttm, Going Postal

Here we start with around 500kg each of Dabinett, Yarlington and Brown Snout varieties, from orchards around the area.

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Twelve Drinks of Christmas

Most of a working career in the drinks industry has helped me learn a little about good wines, beer and spirits, largely because of the endless patience of others who really know about these things, and because I have been singly blessed with opportunities to see things and taste drinks that only a tiny few do. I’m unusual because my career had encompassed brewing, spirits, cider and wine in high quality companies, whereas the vast majority of people within these sectors rarely see more than a couple.

So, I was asked to write an article about what I would recommend drinking over Christmas. A dangerous request because I am unrepentantly biased, and seldom drink products from outside the circles in which I have worked. I also have access to drinks that few will ever be fortunate to see, let alone taste, albeit there are some still inaccessible to me. This isn’t a boast, it’s just the way things are, particularly at the very top of the wine industry with some wines being made in the terms of a few cases per year.

But, anyway, I have chosen twelve drinks (oops- a few more, let’s say a brewer’s dozen). An entirely subjective choice, things encompassing all budgets and being fairly accessible, some more so than others. No snobbery or exclusiveness is involved. Most can be sourced from a brewery close to my heart, but not all. Neither have I recommended minority taste drinks nor things I do not drink, such as whisky, about which I claim no knowledge. I defer to more learned councils on here about such things. But all I will be drinking over the festive period, and as we all do, will be ensuring that I open the wallet just a little more than for other occasions in the year.

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