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August 20, 2022

Last night I went out with some colleagues and drank both a sidecar and a pickleback. This morning, my brain was a shriveled cucumber floating in a dead sea of brine. I picked a fight with my boyfriend over coffee. I can’t stop demolishing tiny bags of salt and vinegar chips. I am on struggle street, backspacing three sentences of this ridiculous blog post for every one that remains. Being irritable and 31, my booze tolerance has fizzled out. Two drinks is never fun enough to justify the consequences. One is boring. But I have a solution for you (for us): one and a half drinks.

Picture this: You’re at a bar on a school night. You’ve downed a glass of your favorite Riesling and you’re all chatty and charming. The stress of the workday is steadily melting. The dark, vibey space has you feeling like a cozy little bear cub in hibernation. Then, the bartender approaches with the inevitable question: Do you want another glass? The truth is, you want another few sips. A cheeky little top-up. A wee splash. What you want is a half-glass of wine, because one and a half drinks is the correct amount.

Ending your night after one, teetering on the precipice between having a great time and falling asleep, is like eating French fries without ketchup. Or dipping just a toe in the water at the beach. Or dreaming about your early retirement only to wake up deeply employed and also running late to a morning meeting (I’m not projecting). On nights that I choose to drink, one glass of alcohol is often a disappointment. I may as well have saved my liver the trouble and had a kombucha. Drink two full standard drinks, though, and there’ll be hell to pay in the morning.

Unfortunately , the half-drink is up against some obstacles. For one, humans prefer symmetry. A pair of shoes. The geometric wonder of a beehive. Two mosaiced butterfly wings. And culturally, nothing good is evoked by a half measure: I’ll just have half a grapefruit, please. She was fired because she half-assed her job. Can you meet me halfway? Half is a compromise. Not to mention, half-drinks are not listed as an option on any bar menu I’ve seen, so acquiring one is going to require a smidgen of bravery on your part.

I admit, it’s hard to go against social norms, especially if you’re somewhere cool, and ask for something that probably isn’t on the menu or the dusty chalkboard above the bar. But a half drink in place of another full glass is a worthy cause. I don’t want low-ABV alternatives. I don’t want meek, alcohol-free beer. I want the full, bitey strength of a negroni, a chilled red, an espresso martini (gasp)—but simply half as much of it.

Consider this a plea, bars and restaurants, to pioneer the half menu: the wines, the cocktails, the frozen sangrias. I promise there is a whole untapped market of us halfie-hunters out there. It is the ideal amount for watching the sun set and imagining you might frisbee your laptop off the balcony before moving to Italy. For fondling the stem of a condensing wine glass while breathlessly losing your shit over some banal office gossip. For housing fistfulls of salted peanuts like there’s no tomorrow.

Only of course there is a tomorrow. Once it arrives, you’ll roll over in bed. Tentatively open an eye. Chug a stiff glass of cold water. And be very grateful your second drink was only a halfer.

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