11 Points

Why You Should Drink Whiskey at 11 A.M. Every Day
written by Sam Greenspan

As one of the foremost purveyors of the number 11 on the Internet (yes, that counts as a real thing), I keep my eyes open for all items eleven-related. Then I ignore most of them. But not this one! For July 11th, I thought I'd write about something in the Eleven Multiverse. (Which is also a real thing.)



The modern coffee break did not start out as a coffee break, at least not in the U.S. Its origins go back to Europe, where the idea of breaks (and vacations) have always had far more traction than they do over here.

The typical British workday used to start at 8:00 A.M., and lunch was at 1:00 P.M. The workers were legally entitled to a 20-minute break in the middle of that six-hour stretch, and since 11:00 A.M. was the halfway point, it became the popular time to take one. The break was known as "Elevenses," which rolls right off the tongue. (It makes the British pronunciation of "aluminum" seem downright efficient.)

They'd drink tea during the break, and, even though it was the 1800s and 1900s, they'd probably watch Benny Hill and listen to Robbie Williams. Elevenses was popular enough that it was featured in Winnie the Pooh and The Lord of the Rings. And if bears and hobbits are taking mid-morning breaks, you know it's gone mainstream.

Then, in the 1800s, Elevenses made their way to the U.S. But we're not a tea-drinking country. In fact, the timing coincided with a different but growing drinking trend: Pounding whiskey around the clock.

America had recently gone all-in on corn, which led to a boom in corn-based whiskey. In the early 1800s, the average American drank five times more whiskey than we do today (approximately five gallons a year, or the equivalent of more than one shot per day; today it's one gallon a year).

So when Elevenses touched down here, people quickly recognized that it was a whiskportunity, and they'd take a break from work -- to drink whiskey. Their bosses were even supposed to supply it for them.

But over time, morning whiskey became less popular and morning coffee became more popular, and by the early 20th century, Elevenses was a coffee break. Also, no one called it Elevenses any more, the time was flexible it wasn't necessarily at 11:00 A.M., and it was distanced enough from the whiskey tradition that, like, 15 different companies now claim they invented the coffee break.

But, at its roots, it all comes down to whiskey. So when you and I decide to Irish up our coffees this morning (or already do it every morning), it's not "a sign of a problem," it's "an homage to American history." To the proud, fleeting tradition of Elevenses.


This post was originally published on Monday, July 11, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Misc.

Facebookery?
11 Random Observations From the Jack Daniel's Distillery Tour

11 Most Popular Brands of Beer and Liquor in the World

11 Drunkest Presidents in US History

The Best Picture I Saw This Week (5-29 to 6-4-2015)

The Best Picture I Saw This Week (2-6 to 2-12-2015)

Archive of all Misc posts
There Are Now 17 Different iPads on Sale -- Which One Should I Get?
There Are Now 17 Different iPads on Sale -- Which One Should I Get?
Published Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Web & Tech
The 11 Worst-Tasting Beers in America (According to Statistics, and According to Me)
The 11 Worst-Tasting Beers in America (According to Statistics, and According to Me)
Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Food & Drink
America's Anti-Oxford Comma Dogma Just Won Some Workers a Court Case
America's Anti-Oxford Comma Dogma Just Won Some Workers a Court Case
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 08:00:00 AM under the category Books
11 Books With Lesser-Known (and Generally Disappointing) Sequels
11 Books With Lesser-Known (and Generally Disappointing) Sequels
Published Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Books
11 Pictures of Absolutely Disastrous Mix-Ups
11 Pictures of Absolutely Disastrous Mix-Ups
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Misc
A Boyfriend Got Caught Cheating in Burger King's Instagram Comments?
A Boyfriend Got Caught Cheating in Burger King's Instagram Comments?
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Dating & Sex
Full Archive
Follow
11 Points

Mailing list


Twitter


Facebook


YouTube


Pinterest


RSS