Is it O.K. to Drink at Breakfast?

Woman Drinking at BreakfastDrinking at breakfast seems a bit desperate, does it not? But plenty of people do it. It seems to come down to the drinks of choice, the food being paired with them, and the company you keep. One man’s desperation is another man’s great way to start the day.

The question of alcoholic drinks for breakfast has some validity when you consider the historical context. For example, Lessley Anderson at Chow explains the English were drinking beer for breakfast hundreds of years ago, when the water was nothing to get excited about. In fact, poor water quality has been the impetus for lots of alcohol consumption in times past.

When did the English tradition stop?

No one really knows when the English tradition of breakfast beer stopped, if it has indeed stopped at all. But Anderson speculates it was somewhere during the 1800s. That sounds reasonable. Water purification was just coming into its own and English tea and coffee were growing in popularity.

As for 21st-century America, we can’t blame water quality for our drinking habits. We can, however, blame the hangover from the night before. Come now, you know what we’re talking about. Lots of people believe that a morning round is the appropriate remedy for the night before.

One of the classic hangover drinks is known as the Corpse Reviver No. 2. This gin and absinthe tonic is enough to roll your eyes and make your temples stand at attention, at least according to Slate Magazine’s Troy Patterson. It’s an old breakfast cocktail from the 1930s that will allegedly cure any hangover.

Is it okay to drink at breakfast if you don’t have a hangover?

In American culture it’s generally considered gauche to drink prior to mid-morning. So if you’re an early riser, say 6:30 a.m. for example, drinking at breakfast is akin to drinking alone. If your significant other is still sleeping you really are drinking alone and, as we know, that’s one of the first signs of trouble. Wake her up.

That being said, if you’re an artist who gets up no sooner than noon, drinking for breakfast actually becomes drinking for lunch. What’s wrong with that? There are plenty of suits down at the neighborhood bar tossing back a couple over the lunch hour. The only difference between you and them is the fact that you’ve made better use of the first six hours of the day.

However, there is one way to drink at breakfast without crossing the line, and that is to add flavored liqueurs to your current breakfast beverage of either tea or coffee. Think of it as a Kahlua meets Starbucks sort of thing.

What types of liqueurs go well with coffee?

We mentioned Kahlua because it is, in fact, a coffee-chocolate-flavored liqueur that could actually stand on its own as a morning breakfast beverage. But again, the idea here is to mix it with your coffee so that no one knows you’re imbibing. As far as they know, you’re enjoying a nice cappuccino.

Amaretto is another good choice if you like the taste of almonds. Breakfast-drinking experts warn that amaretto gets lost if your coffee is too strong, so you should be careful about that. Perhaps a little less coffee and a little more amaretto would do the trick.

For our Irish readers―as though you really need a reason to drink at breakfast―there’s always the world-famous Irish cream. And in fact, Irish coffee is already a well-known drink served all over the world. What a great way to start the day; with coffee and whiskey!

Is it okay if drinking is my breakfast?

If a round or two of alcohol is the only thing you’re consuming for breakfast, perhaps you need to reevaluate. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; we probably all agree on that. Yet a 12-ounce beer or your favorite cocktail hardly constitutes a meal.

“But wait,” you might be thinking. “My bloody Mary includes vegetable juice! That constitutes a healthy something, according to the U.S. FDA.”

Daily allowances and tomato juice notwithstanding, drinking on an empty stomach is not good for you. According to Potsdam University research, drinking on an empty stomach leads to more-rapid intoxication. The last thing you need is to stumble into the office with only a few ounces of liquor in your system. You’ll never get that promotion that you’ve been gaming for.

Is it okay if I’m on vacation?

Okay, yes. We’ll give you permission to drink for breakfast if you’re on vacation. But only if you’re spending your time on some island Paradise like Mauritius or Seychelles. If you’re spending a week with your family on a staycation, you’re back to being that desperate, lonely individual drinking alone at 6:30 in the morning.

Just to make sure you don’t run afoul of any cultural alcoholic etiquette, it’s best to just avoid drinking at least until 10:00 a.m. At that time you’re ready for brunch. And, as anybody knows, if you’re sophisticated enough to attend brunch then you’re certainly sophisticated enough to consume alcoholic beverage with your croissants and marmalade.