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    Brexit: what your drink says about your politics

    6 February 2019

    If you’re an EU quitter you’ll be on the bitter; if you’re partial to champagne then you voted remain. I have no evidence whatsoever to back this up but it sounds convincing, right?

    Brexit has created a political deadlock so tedious, so tortuous and so tumultuous, it’s enough to turn anyone to drink. So divided are we, though, that people look everywhere for tell-tale signs that give away political leanings. Everything from your choice of shoes to whether you prefer cats to dogs is a means to deciphering where your loyalties lie. And personally, I suspect that the nation’s drinking habits are a better reflection of voting tendencies than almost anything else.

    Take wine, for instance. It’s a tricky but illuminating field. Tariff-free eurogrog, as you’d expect, is very ‘metropolitan elite,’ which is sad for me, your friendly neighbourhood Brexiteer, who is quite partial to a bottle of Barolo. Luckily, it and several of Italy’s best wines come from the north, the land that gave the world the Lega Nord and Macron-baiter-in-chief, Matteo ‘Big Matt’ Salvini. So whilst not, perhaps, full-on Brexit, these wines are definitely options for the average Eurosceptic. As is, conveniently, Prosecco.

    On top of that, English wine is proving to be a revelation (Flint, a vineyard down the road from me in Norfolk, is multi-award winning, and stocked by Berry Bros.). And, if that wasn’t enough, the wonders of Brexit mean we will now be able to strike free-trade deals with Australia, South Africa and everywhere inbetween for their wine. Magnificent. Well, at least until you remember who’ll be leading the negotiations.

    Port, meanwhile, is a staunchly pro-Brexit drink. No matter that it is Portuguese; we started drinking it and buying up the naming rights in the early 1700’s to navigate around the great vino drought caused by war with France. So, like, Gibraltar, it’s Iberian, but also very British.

    Madeira, though, is remain. This largely boils down to the fact that it was the drink of choice for both George Washington and John Adams, and though they hated tyranny and not being democratically represented, they hated the British more. Tokaj, incidentally, is for people who really want to remain in case their business is affected, but dislike Jean-Claude Juncker and are prone to the occasional outburst about immigrants. Vodka drinkers have no political agenda; they spend all day on internet forums spreading mischief.

    Wheat beer is Remain. Hoegaarden and Leffe are Flemish, after all, and you can’t get more European than that. Remainers also get to drink Peroni, a vast array of Czech and German beer, and, of course, Guinness, whilst Brexiteers are left with the craft beer phenomenon: a flood of brown liquid so thick you have to chew it, usually called Speckled Ocelot or Amber Warning or something else equally odd.

    In the battle of the liquers, Frangelico is obviously Remain, whilst Benedictine is Leave: mixed together they make a pretty punchy number called Catholic Guilt. And when it comes to cocktails, we enter a myriad of different perspectives, all the way from the pro-EU army, freedom-of-movement-in-return-for-90%-taxes-and-your-first-born-child Europhilia that is the Espresso Martini, to the hardest of hard Brexits, the Coffee Flip (which is just port and a raw egg).

    Then we have the Apperol Spritz (for Remainers whose sole concern is access to their holiday home on the Mediterranean) the Old Fashioned (Brexiteers for whom the name is also their mantra) and the Negroni, which is for people who no longer care what happens, just as long as the price of booze in London drops faster than the pound. Somewhere in the middle of this is the humble G&T, busy wringing its hands, not quite sure where to go, what to do, or frankly, why people keep asking it to vote. This is the centre ground: easy to please on the Brexit front just so long as the supermarkets don’t run out of tonic or hummus.

    Whiskey, in case you were wondering, is reserved for a certain set of people who tend to be very angry at someone, and equally angry about leaving something. They aren’t sure who, or what. They just know they’re angry, and can’t admit to drinking Tennents.