Doctors and Whiskey

A friend was having a first-time checkup by a doctor. Running through the routine questions, the doc asked her if she drank alcohol. She replied that she did, but just socially, maybe two or three times a week and mostly wine. The doctor paused, smiled and said, “The rule of thumb is that you’re OK if you don’t drink more than your doctor.” She was judged to be OK.

We have an unusual juxtaposition of feature topics this month: our annual Best Doctors list plus a pictorial about some specialty cocktails recommended by local bartenders.

Considering the two topics made me wonder if there are any medicinal benefits to cocktails. Red wine, we have been told, can be good for the heart, but how about the distilled grains?

Of all the mixers, I decided to check out whiskey because it’s so much a part of the city’s history, tracing back to when it would be shipped down by barge from Kentucky. It is also the official elixir for the native specialty, the Sazerac.

To my surprise there’s a website headed “10 Health Benefits of Whiskey.” Among those benefits are: fighting cancer, weight loss, reducing stroke risk and improving brain health. (No mention was made of winning at the Olympics.)

Those benefits are impressive, and while I hope they’re true, I cannot endorse them. There are too many advertising concepts that are for sale on the internet. Also, health benefits may be affected with every other ingredient put in the cocktail. Nevertheless, it’s good to know that there may be some positives to booze. One bonus that I can attest to comes with ordering an Old Fashioned in which there’s always a slice of orange. Right there is a bounce of Vitamin C. Make it with whiskey, and you’re feeling better already.

Meanwhile, do what the doctor says. And if you want to lift a toast to your health, dilute it a bit and have it on the rocks.



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