When it was confirmed that Barack Obama had defeated Mitt Romney, I breathed a sigh of relief. Not because of the politics – those are views I keep to myself, at least in print – but because I couldn’t bear the thought of such a comprehensive abstainer in the White House.
Mr Romney is a Mormon. And Mormons, following the doctrines and covenants revealed by God to Joseph Smith on February 27 1833, at Kirtland, Ohio, refrain from imbibing not just alcohol, but tea and coffee as well.
In finding fault with those proscriptions, I am not criticising either the Mormon religion or Mr Romney. I am merely affirming my devout belief that all three of those beverages are good and virtuous, and sometimes necessary. I side with the psalmist who said that “wine… maketh glad the heart of man”. I’d even side with Frank Sinatra, who said he felt sorry for teetotallers because when they get up in the morning, “that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day”.
If I were the leader of the free world, I’d want something to help me face the 24/7 onslaught of momentous decisions. Filter coffee from the Monmouth Coffee Company to get me going. Builder’s tea in the afternoon. And in the evening, a therapeutic glass of sherry.
Sherry is the perfect wine for people who don’t want to drink a lot: it’s strong (15-20 per cent), and flavourful enough that just a 75ml glass is all you need to stimulate the taste buds and un-knit a knitted brow. We don’t drink nearly enough of it in this country, even though sherries represent some of the best value in wine.
And so, for President Ehrlich before dinner: Barbadillo Solear (Waitrose, Tesco, Adnams and numerous independents, around £5/37.5cl or £10/75cl), with the driest sherry style and a perfectly executed, long, racy finish. For after dinner, Tesco Finest Amontillado (£7.49/50cl), rich in nutty, dried-fruit flavours despite its dryness. Or Rare Pedro Ximenez from M&S, £7.49/37.5cl — a raisiny-rich syrup that truly will make glad the heart.
Just the one glass, please. Hail to the chief.