Hot whiskey? Brandy? They're not really drinks, are they?
Barrel chested: a brandy-carrying St Bernard. photograph: mde/sspl/getty
Clare Daly, the Independent TD, has confessed to having had a hot whiskey before driving. It almost sounded like it wasn’t an alcoholic drink
Clare Daly drank “a hot whiskey for a cold” shortly before being breathalysed earlier this week. Such medicinal drinking feels as if it should be a reasonable exception to our drink-driving laws. (But it’s not). Here are some other situations that may constitute “grey areas”.
Hot drinks in generalIt’s a simple rule of thumb that if a drink has a bit of steam coming off it then it’s fit for an automobile cup holder. Tea and coffee are always acceptable on the move; other hot drinks could also get a free pass on medicinal grounds: hot whiskeys, hot ports, warm beer, a boiling jug of Baileys, a bubbling dry martini, a sizzling can of Special Brew.
Chocolate liqueursDrinks are liquids, not solids, so the drink-driving laws can hardly apply to chocolate liqueurs. Surely those bursts of chocoholic joy can be eaten with impunity by bus drivers, taxi men, schoolchildren and toddlers alike. I snack gluttonously throughout the day from a backpack filled with these cocoa-based drunkeners. Then I jump behind the wheel of my jalopy, safe in the knowledge that the law can’t touch me. This also works for whiskey ice lollies.
WaterThis is a pretty safe bet, right? Lovely, pure, clear water. What could be wrong with water? Here, drink a pint of it. Lovely, wasn’t it? And now you can drive a car. Wrong! It was gin I gave you. (See how tricky this whole area is?)
Any drink in south KerryIt is legal now to drink-drive, gamble and shoot trespassers on the back roads of south Kerry thanks to Danny Healy-Rae and his plucky band of Kerry separatists. (I read this in the Huffington Post.) Move there and booze-cruise to your diseased heart’s content.
PoitínAlthough it’s illegal to brew, there’s nothing wrong with having a bottle of poitín in your car to rub on your arthritic joints. But what if you plan to rub the poitín on your arthritic joints from the inside? That’s fine too, I imagine. Drink away.
AmbrosiaThis was a honey-based drink favoured by the Greek gods, so why are these mere mortal police officers meddling with you? You’re drinking ambrosia! You must be some sort of god. I mean, why else would you be wearing nothing but a sheet and sandals and trying to have your way with a swan?
WaterIt’s not a trick this time. Honest. Here’s a refreshing pitcher of water. Yum! Lovely, isn’t it? And now you can drive a car. Wrong! It was red wine!
Altar wineIt’s not illegal to quaff goblets of delicious altar wine, as for it to be so would be to oppress Catholics. And if you’re about to be breathalysed after drinking ordinary, non-Jesusy Aldi wine, get a passing priest to consecrate your torso and the alcohol transubstantiates and doesn’t show up on the breathalyser (science!). Is this blasphemous? I have no idea. I’m skulled on altar wine.
BrandyBrandy is acceptable if you keep it in a little wooden barrel strapped to the neck of a stately St Bernard and suck from it using a long straw. “He saved my life, offisher,” you can slur, before recounting a heroic tale of derring-do involving your canine chum and some nefarious mountain eagles. His name is Bumpers, by the way. Bumpers will also perform CPR and phone an ambulance when you wrap your car around a lamp post.