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Issue 14 – Christmas 2022

Arts and Letters

The Wages of Gin

The Philosophy of Gin
Jane Peyton
The British Library, pp. 112, $16.95


Nobody likes his first martini. I don’t think I was too keen on my second either. But at some point things clicked, and now I rarely drink anything else. I imagine most people’s experiences with spirits are similar. They take getting used to. 

This of course raises the question of why we bother trying to get used to them. There’s the old joke about the guy who’s asked why he keeps hitting himself with a hammer: “Because it feels so good when I stop.” But there’s more to repeated martini trials than that. It’s not the satisfaction of enduring something unpleasant that draws us in. Rather, even with the first sample, there’s something agreeable lurking behind the sting—something we sense that we might perceive more clearly if only we persevere, by disciplining the palate.

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Edward Feser

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