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Drinking Cognac
Attributed to: Waugh, Evelyn
Source: Brideshead Revisited (1945)
Contributed by: Anon

The Waugh brothers, Evelyn and Alec, enjoyed wines and spirits with Alec going on to write several books about wine and spirits. Evelynís son Auberon continued in this tradition with a wine column in the English, Spectator. There are some wonderful passages in Evelynís, Brideshead Revisited. Here, Charles Ryder is being entertained in Paris by Rex Mulcaster.

The cognac was not to Rexís taste. It was clear and pale and it came to us in a bottle free from grime and Napoleonic cyphers. It was only a year or two older than Rex and lately bottled. They gave it to us in very thin tulip-shaped glasses of modest size.

"Brandy's one of the things I do know about," said Rex. "This is a bad colour. What's more, I can't taste it in this thimble."

They brought him a balloon the size of his head. He made them warm it over the spirit lamp. Then he rolled the splendid spirit around, buried his face in the fumes and pronounced it the sort of stuff he put soda in at home.

So, shamefacedly, they wheeled out of its hiding-place the vast and mouldy bottle kept for people of Rexís sort.

"That's the stuff," he said, tilting the treacly concoction till it left dark rings round the sides of his glass. "They've always got some tucked away, but they won't bring it out unless you make a fuss. Have some."

" I'm quite happy with this."

"Well, it's a crime to drink it if you don't really appreciate it."í


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