Each week, we post short interviews with interesting people about their thoughts and feelings on women and drinking. There is such a wide array of perspectives about this topic, and we are excited to gain insight into as many as possible and to share them with you.
Colleen Mullaney is the author of many lifestyle books, including It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere, The Stylish Girl’s Guide to Fabulous Cocktails, and Punch.
Drinking Diaries: How old were you when you had your first drink and what was it?
Colleen Mullaney: I was about 8 and I had a sip of my grandmother’s sherry.
How did/does your family treat drinking?
My parents used to drink pitchers of Manhattans with the neighbors on the weekends (I had a sip and thought they tasted like gasoline) and there was always a lot of drinking going on at family gatherings. They drank spirits–vodka and Scotch–very 60’s.
Now they don’t drink anymore. My dad will maybe have a Scotch during the holidays. My mom stopped drinking years ago.
How do you approach alcohol in your every day life?
When I’m writing a cocktail book I’m experimenting with cocktails, or testing them, and I’m out shopping for new spirits, wines, or liqueurs for my recipes, but the testing in done in small batches.
But in my normal everyday life, I love wine, so it’s always around. I love to cook, and so I’ll use it for cooking as well. But I don’t drink every day, usually end of the week and weekends. I really try to lead a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, and cocktails every day doesn’t fit.
My go-to cocktail would be a really good margarita in the summer, or a fun cocktail, like the one I made this weekend when we had friends over. It had vodka, St. Germain, pomegranate juice, and was topped off with Prosecco. They were tasty!
If you have kids, how is the subject of drinking handled? Do you drink in front of them? With them?
I have three children who know what I do (although many of my books/articles/videos are not about cocktails!). They know that having some friends over means opening up some wine or mixing cocktails for the adults, and whipping up a pitcher of Shirley Temples for them. I never think of handling the subject. I hope I’m showing them by example.
Have you ever had a phase in your life when you drank more or less?
When I was single and living in the city, I would go out and drink wine with work friends, and have no problem getting up and working the next day. Now, forget it, I don’t have half the energy I had back then! There’s too much I need to focus on: my family, my kids, my work. I have to be on my toes!
What’s your drink of choice? Why?
My favorite drink is white wine. It’s easy, smooth, enjoyable, and is just strong enough. I used to only drink chardonnay, but I’m branching out to other whites and reds.
Can you tell us about the best time you ever had drinking?
I don’t have one specific time but many, and they are always with friends.
What do you like most about drinking?
Its social tendencies.
Why do, or don’t you, choose to drink?
Because I enjoy it.
How has alcoholism affected your life?
It’s put warning flags up for me. I know what is good for me and what is not.
If you could be any drink, what would it be? Why?
A margarita on the rocks with salt and lots of fresh lime (Patron, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, splash of pineapple juice), because I would be on a beach somewhere with great island music playing in the background.