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Best Thing About December: Afternoon Drinking

I'm so happy it's December 1. Well, I mean, it's true that the year has raced by faster than ever, and I puzzle over where exactly it went. And it's true that we're getting into that hectic crush where end-of-the-year projects collide with holiday shopping only to be buried by an avalanche of social obligations. But we're also in the month that allows us a coping mechanism for the madness: the afternoon drink. Naturally, I'm writing this with a martini in hand (one of my favorite afternoon cocktails -- 2 parts Plymouth, 1 part Noilly-Pratt, lemon twist, stirred). I hope you're reading this with same.

I'm not sure why it seems like the afternoon drink is more possible--more appropriate, less frowned upon--in December as opposed to other months. It's not simply a matter of holiday cheer. No, it feels more like the release of throwing caution to the wind, of the healthy shrugging off of consequences, of proclaiming to one's self, "f- it, what's really going to happen to me if I have one drink?"

And thus, we're drinking Champagne with our salad at lunch. We're popping out of the office at 2 to move the car and, why not, slurp down a dozen oysters with a glass of Chablis. We're leaving work early for a perfect 4 PM pint of Guinness, and maybe just go ahead and pour that little shot of Jameson to go with it. No harm, no foul. And the consequences? Good things! A little rosy glow on your cheeks, a warm internal sense that crowds on Muni or in stores are copacetic, and a confidence that you'll sleep soundly and long.

People like to use the winter months to drink brown spirits, but I also love the white ones. The clarity of gin perfectly resonates with that crispness in the air and radiance in the sky that we find near the winter solstice. Champagne never looks better than in the slanted light of December noons. And, hey, citrus is just coming into season. Limes have never looked plumper. Margarita anyone? Fresh Meyer lemon drops make the bustle at the ferry building so much more pleasant.

You get the point. It's December. It's the last month of difficult year. Enjoy your afternoons.