Win a copy of new Wodehouse release, ‘Highballs for Breakfast’

Highballs Jacket.jpgThere are moments when one needs a drink. Are there moments, indeed, when one doesn’t?’

Barmy in Wonderland (1952)

I’m excited to offer Plumtopia readers the chance to win a copy of the new PG Wodehouse release, Highballs for Breakfast, courtesy of Penguin Random House. To enter, simply reply by comment to this post telling us what drink would you be known by at the Anglers’ Rest.

Mr Mulliner, one of PG Wodehouse’s beloved narrators, recounted around forty stories from the bar-parlour of the Anglers’ Rest, where inmates are referred to by their drink, rather than by name.

From the moment the Draught Stout entered the bar-parlour of the Anglers’ Rest, it had been obvious that he was not his usual cheery self. His face was drawn and twisted, and he sat with bowed head in a distant corner by the window, contributing nothing to the conversation which, with Mr Mulliner as its centre, was in progress around the fire. From time to time he heaved a hollow sigh.

A sympathetic Lemonade and Angostura, putting down his glass, went across and laid a kindly hand on the sufferer’s shoulder.

‘What is it old man?’ He asked. ‘Lost a friend?’

‘Worse,’ said the Draught Stout. ‘A mystery novel. Got half way through it on the journey down here, and left it in the train.’

Strychnine in the Soup (1932)

This is a wonderful device, because a person’s choice of drink can be revealing. A Tankard Of Stout, suggests a solid, hearty soul, who can be relied upon for conversation. An Absinthe On The Rocks suggests a character on the precipice –of making an ass of themselves at the very least. And what might we make of the aforementioned Lemonade and Angostura? Wodehouse may not have gone in for deep character analysis, but even his most lightly drawn character can provide food (or in this case drink) for thought.

My own preference, for any psychologists taking notes, depends on the occasion and the establishment. If pressed, my extensive personal research in the hostelries of Great Britain leads me to nominate a Pint of Porter as my moniker.

What drink would you be known by at the Anglers’ Rest?
Reply by comment to this piece by 15 December 2016 for a chance to win a copy of Highballs for Breakfast, kindly provided by publishers Penguin Random House. The lucky winner will be chosen by the usual Plumtopia panel (self and cat) after a thoroughish tasting process at Plumtopia HQ.

If you can’t wait, Highballs for Breakfast is already available in bookstores and online from Amazon. I’ve got my copy and I’m looking forward to sharing my review with you shortly.




140 thoughts on “Win a copy of new Wodehouse release, ‘Highballs for Breakfast’

  1. LCantoni

    Well, I thought “Pint of Porter” for myself the minute I started reading, but I see that it’s taken. I cede that moniker to the Hon. Honoria, and take in its place Oatmeal Stout.

  2. I also have had my libatious moniker usurped, because as anyone knows A Pint of Plain Is Your Only Man, but if I were to be pressed into strict veracity (and I bought my own) I would in fact be The Cheapest White on the List. Slainte.

      1. You can call me whatever you like, Honoria 🙂 I have also been known to answer to ‘Oi!’, ‘Weirdo’, ‘Faceache’ and ‘Oh, ****, Here Comes the Bastard Now.’

      2. Excellent, then I shall use them all interchangeably. I was, for a brief time, know to friends as Bernard — and introduced myself as such. It disturbed people so I had to stop it.

      3. If I had to stop doing things just because people are disturbed by them, I’d never get anything done. Cavillers may say that I never get anything done anyway, but this is entirely extraneous to my point.

  3. JRabe

    In the winter, I’d be “Ruby Port” (which sounds like a dance-hall girl) but come warmer weather, I’d switch over to my latin alter-ego “Mojito” (and bane of bartenders I hear, due to the time it takes to make one).

    1. Great drinks — I love port! I used to have a summer drink and a winter drink, but I save my old summer drink (white wine) for special occasions now. It is far too easy to lose track of one’s quaffing.

      1. mariajette

        I’m writing from the FUTURE! Dearest Honoria, I seem to have finally, i.e. after many bumbling attempts over several years, managed to receive notice of a blog post, in today’s historical instance, your review of Paul Kent’s new book. VICTOIRE!!!!!

        But as for the mystery vocab above, “Rocks” is a professional slicers shorthand for “on the rocks,” aka with ice; and “Bonded” refers to a complex set of regulations of American whiskey, the most crucial of which (to me, as a smallish person with a sadly limited capacity for high-proof tipples) is that it’s much higher proof, usually at least 100. That means it’s 50% alcohol. For reference, the excellent Plymouth Original Strength gin is 41.2% ABV (alcohol by volume), which makes it a mellow 82.4 proof. Their “Navy Strength” gin is 57% ABV– 114 proof in the USA.

        Given my avoirdupois, I prefer the gentler yet still perfectly poisonous lower proofs in every instance! That includes wines, if I may digress– a California zinfandel with the sky-high ABV of 15.9% may have its fans, but that means a single glass for little me. I like my wines in the 11-14% range– perfectly effective, yet less lethal!

      2. Aha. The rocks seemed straighforward, but now that bonded chappie makes a little more sense.
        I don’t go in for spirits either. My favourite tipple is a glass of South Australian Shiraz, but two glasses of the stuff sends me nodding into the dreamless.

  4. As a Queenslander, only one suffices: rum and milk. Why not simply Bundy and Coke? Well, that used to annoy Victorians, so it was good — but like Bernard this had to stop once the Mexicans cottoned on. And now, dash it all, you can buy it in cans.

  5. Bob Evans

    My most likely persona would certainly be another Draught Stout, (and you may interpret that in any way you see fit), so for these purposes I would be more than happy to be known as a Generous Talisker.


      1. Bob Evans

        Talisker is a glorious Single Malt Whiskey from a gut lurchingly beautiful distillery on Skye; generous, of course, because it would be rude not to.

  6. Murray Hedgcock

    I’ve bought my copy of Highballs for Breakfast, to see if it said anything about my lot – teetotallers. And there we are – dismissed in six pages, under the unfriendly chapter heading of “Puritans and Bores”. Compiler Richard T. Kelly proposes that PGW suggests “someone who abstains entirely simply cannot be serious”. I appeal to HP – whom I had the great pleasure of meeting lately: “Am I serious?” I claim to be such, even as a teetotal, non-smoking, non-gambling Australian journalist. Odd that I should be addicted to PGW, who wrote so much about those activities.

    1. As far as both the Anglers’ Rest and this competition is concerned, nobody would look askance if someone were to order a lime and soda (my own non-alcoholic beverage of choice) or similar.
      I think you have some cause to feel aggrieved, Murray. Certainly, Wodehouse created some memorably foul examples of the puritanical temperance advocate. Having lived through prohibition, he would have had a decent supply of real-life examples to work from, adding them to his diverse cast of ridiculous extremists.
      Wodehouse’s puritans were often pitted against his most degenerate drinkers. In ‘Puritans and Bores’ Richard Kelly gives the example of Mervyn Potter’s fiancé, who insists that Mervyn give up drink. Anyone reading Barmy in Wonderland can see that she has a point. Mervyn is habitually plastered. He gets truculent and creates disturbances. Wodehouse gets good comedy value from these scenes, but he makes it clear that Mervyn is a menace who gives poor Barmy hell. The reader’s sympathies in this occasion are with Barmy and Potter’s fiancé.
      Another character with a drink problem is Cousin ‘Eggy’ in Laughing Gas. Again, Wodehouse gets good comedy mileage from this. Eggy thinks he is having alcohol induced hallucinations and is persuaded to give up the booze by a temperance group called the Temple of the New Dawn. But the female responsible for saving Eggy is far from a puritanical bore. She is a delightful girl called Mabel, and they get engaged. There is no suggestion that Mabel is a bore, or that Eggy is anything but better off.
      Wodehouse’s puritans are less sympathetic than his drinkers because it’s both fun and reasonable to portray extremists (of any kind) as ridiculous. But between a puritan and a teetotaller there is a wide and substantial difference. Gussie Fink-Nottle (Plum’s most famous example of the latter) may have restricted himself to orange juice, but I don’t recall him ever forcing the subject on his friends.

  7. One would think that I, the complete Anglophile would say G&T or whisky. But no, my favorite, and pretty much only, drink is the Cosmopolitan – pineapple vodka, organic cranberry juice, and the juice of half a lemon.

    1. Good for you — and your liver. There is nothing amiss about ordering a non-alcoholic drink in a pub. I’ve done it many times and it doesn’t raise an eyebrow. You can still raise a glass and enjoy the company. Cheers!

    1. It is difficult to fault your choice — no better drink has been invented. And I am personally very appreciative of it As I’m hoping to try all of the suggested drinks in judging, my eyes are now starting to bulge as I’ve seen the list of entries grow.

  8. George P. Smith

    Everybody knows me for my Iena Ridens, an ever changing mixture of bourbon, gin, red vermouth, Benedectine and a little gunpowder.
    digestion guaranteed!

      1. George P. Smith

        Actually the cocktail (but not the exact recipe, just some ingredients) is mentioned in the fundamental book “Mondo Exotica – sounds, visions and obsessions of the cocktail generation” by Francesco Adinolfi. Hope you can find it in English and read it with immense pleasure, sipping a Iena Ridens your way!

      2. George P. Smith

        Speaking of personal cocktail recipes, my very own is called “Cap Martin” (it’s obviously a pun), both a tribute to the famous Còte d’Azur location and a modified version of Martini Cocktail in the classic version (2/10 and 8/10 and absolutely not in-and-out) with three Caper fruits (not blossoms!) replacing green olives.
        please try it and let me know! Cheers!

  9. Corky Pirbright

    Chère amie, as a Wodehouse character I would definitely be a Glass of Champagne (even though in real life I’m almost always a Sparkling Water).


  10. Good grief, Honoria, what have you unleashed? Mr Mulliner’s quiet nook post-Evensong in the summer would be overrun: the man wouldn’t be able to hear himself speak. And what about the lovely Miss Postlethwaite . . .? Run off her feet, couldn’t get a word in. Man needs a calmer-downer, something to cool the fevered brow. Maybe Murray Hedgerow has it right. Double sars please.

  11. Murray Hedgcock

    Just back from a UroDynamics appointment (great name) when the nurse instructed me to drink water, water and lots more water. I may be a teetotaller, a puritan, a wowser – but I find water a most depressing drink. I suppose I must look on it as my personal version of a Jeeves dynamite special.

  12. Jyothi

    I don’t like alcoholic drinks too much but if someone insisted … White wine sangria, sparkling for preference! Slurpy sweetish mocktails with fruits are more to my taste.

  13. Jai Siva

    My moniker would then be Rum Punch !!! That was my first drink – though I now prefer a much milder alcoholic beverage – usually a beer like a Kingfisher!!

  14. An Absinthe on the Rocks. This is due to my reading of Marie Corelli’s novel WORMWOOD, where, if she is to be believed, drinking the stuff will turn you into a fiend in human shape overnight who spreads ruin and mayhem all round, and is constantly followed by a green-eyed leopard. Plum too has something side-splitting about Absinthe somewhere (in happier times I could have quoted chapter and verse) where a confirmed alcoholic declares he has given up on intoxicating drinks, and has taken to something he calls harmless. On being asked what, he replies, “Absinthe!”

    1. What ho, Prodosh! Thank you for this marvellous comment. The passage to which you allude is, I believe, one of Gally Threepwood’s stories about his old chum Plug Basham giving up alcohol (in Heavy Weather). He finds it difficult at first until he discovers Absinthe!

  15. Harking back to my student days when we invented an unlikely combination of “Guinness & Grapefruit”, on the basis that Guinness outside the Emerald Isle was not worthy of the name so why not startle the average bar person with this order? Seriously try it and you will be surprised.

  16. Pingback: Highballs for breakfast: The very best of P.G. Wodehouse on the joys of a good stiff drink « Plumtopia

  17. I would definitely be a Whiskey and S (or more properly a Whisky and S), except on a fine afternoon when I am metamorphosed into a Tanqueray with Lemon and a Shot of the Siphon which is what I am pouring over as I write this. Thanks for the review by the way! I have no illusions about winning but it’s fun to converse with some other admirers of old Plum.

    1. What ho, George. I’m so glad you stopped, drink in hand, and took a moment to enter. Everyone is ‘in with a chance ‘ . I’m trying to taste as many entries as possible, and yours sounds thoroughly delightful. Cheers!

  18. If I was a fictional character in Wodehouse’s world, I would probably choose to be some type of cider-based drink, based on the fact that I come from Zummerzet (ooh arr!) and am also a huge fan of the Wurzels. However, if I were being my true self, then my moniker would have to be a Nice Cup of Chai, because chai is my absolute favourite type of tea and I am not that fussed on alcohol (sorry Plum!).

    1. I don’t think Plum would mind, and A Nice Cup of Chai would not be out of place in the modern Zummerset pubs near me. If you are ever home for a visit, let me know and I’ll meet you for a cuppa.

  19. Mustard Pott

    I’d be a black & tan, but instead of Guinness (4%) make me with Even More Jesus, a 12% Imperial stout from Copenhagen;s Evil Twin Brewery. You’ll be ready for the 2nd coming.

  20. Paul K.

    A Coke and Bitters entered the bar-parlour of the Anglers’ Rest wearing the look of someone who, if not actually dyspeptic, was far from being peptic. It was evident to all who glanced up to take him in—and many did not, for they were ardent devotees of the preventive adage ‘a watched tankard never boils’—that he had only recently departed the company of other owls just as tight, and that Mrs. Coke and Bitters, if she exists, was at home right now drinking an irked cup of morning tea, chewing a peevish pencil, and placing a rather annoyed emu in the upper righthand corner.

  21. Pingback: Highballs for Breakfast: Milady is a Winner! « miladysboudoir

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