food & drink

A dream come true?

Regular drinkers of wine, or for that matter any alcoholic drink, cannot avoid wondering occasionally what it is doing to their health. There is an absence of large-scale field studies, and even members of the UK government committee that decided on how many daily units could be consumed safely admit they had no scientific evidence to go on. It appears largely a matter of luck, and although we all know people who have stopped drinking for medical reasons, few of us know many victims of cirrhosis of the liver.

History has shown us many great figures that apparently did not care, starting with Winston Churchill. His normal day consisted of two bottles of champagne, multiple dry martinis, free-flowing wine with all meals, and his ever-present whisky and water. When he died Pol Roger brought out a Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, in honour of the 42,000 bottles he is reckoned to have got through during his life.

French, now Russian, actor Gerard Depardieu, is still alive – you may say surprisingly. He admits to starting with champagne around ten, moving on to pastis – about half a bottle – prior to lunch. A couple of bottles of wine with that, and more champagne and pastis at about five o’clock. Then vodka or whisky before and after a dinner with French wine. Depardieu reckons it all equates to, say, 14 bottles of wine daily.

Those who are still undecided about the possible dangers, there is now Bellion vodka, made in the USA using Indian technology, NTX. It is claimed to be the first alcoholic drink that reduces the toxicity of alcohol in the blood by 93%. It also avoids damage to DNA. Currently only available in a few states, the producers told me that promotion is hampered by the fact that US law rules out the possibility of making any health claims for the drink. If it really is the answer to every drinker’s dream, then this is a pity, as the same technology can allegedly be applied to wine, whisky, etc.