Iris Murdoch
Philip Larkin
and White Wine

[Iris Murdoch's] preferred tipple, in pubs or as an aperitif, was white wine. She firmly practiced her doctrine that one should never allow one's palate to grow accustomed to good wine; one should drink cheap wine and plenty of it. Only at a late stage of the evening did she move on to the whisky, and by then she'd be repeating herself, and wanting, as like as not, to rehearse either the Irish question or the origins of the doctrine of the Trinity.
...Parsimony no doubt has many psychological causes, but I think that those who drink really considerable quantities, as Iris Murdoch did and as Philip Larkin did, try to reconcile it with their consciences by buying the cheapest they can. Larkin and I got in a car and drove to about five different off-licenses for Claymore [whiskey] at a price he found acceptable. We had thereby wasted several pounds of petrol. In the event, there was no such bottle to be found, and he settled for some gut-wrenching, instant-hangover-producing blend of cheap Scotch.

--- Iris Murdoch: As I Knew Her
A. N. Wilson
© 2003, Hutchinson
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