Drink Like A Dictator Night!

Ten whiskeys. Five dictators. Three US Presidents. Two African Despots. Multiple Koreans called Kim.

It’s back, after almost a decade on the 2nd of May in Budapest! It’s the long-awaited return of Drink Like A Dictator Night!

For one night only, you too can learn how to drink like a dictator. Discover the Scotches that fuelled Saddam and the Bourbons that built democracy.

During this light-hearted, heavy-drinking evening of political satire and commentary, you’ll discover which whiskey is the choice of most totalitarian leaders, which dictator created his own whiskey to promote the idea that he was king of a far-off nation, who accompanied their dram with some hippo sushi, and what became of the single malt forgotten by Boris Yeltsin.

Advance booking required. See FB event page here: https://lnkd.in/eM-NcmRC

#budapest #whisky #whiskey #bourbon #dictatorship

Do You Drink like a Dictator?

In addition to being dreadful human beings, one of the most notable facts about dictators is that they have very poor taste in whiskey. By contrast, democratic leaders tend to have excellent taste in whiskey. In fact, this might be the single best test for checking if your political leader is in fact a dictator or not.

If you want to find out more about how to apply the Clarke Whiskey Test to your political leader, or if you simply would like to know what mediocre whiskey you should drink while you attempt to seize totalitarian power, you should definitely attend my forthcoming ‘Drink Like A Dictator’ whiskey tasting in Budapest next month.

This is based on the (in)famous tasting I hosted for the Irish Whiskey Society in Dublin some nine years ago, now expanded and updated to account for the explosion of dictatorships in recent years.

For one night only, in Budapest on the 2nd of May, you too can learn to drink like a dictator (and perhaps also like a leading hero of democracy if you prefer.)

Venue and Booking:
InGame Gamer Bar
Klauzál utca 26-28, Erzsébetváros, Hungary
Tel: +36 70 612 7673
Booking information: khbdugo@gmail.com

A journalist and academic, Dr Jim Clarke was one of the originating co-founders of the Irish Whiskey Society, and he wrote the tasting notes for all of their earliest bottlings. He has also written about whiskey for publications including Malt Advocate and the Irish Whiskey Magazine, and debated the Scotch Malt Whisky Society on the origins of whiskey on national radio (he won – whiskey is originally Irish).

He was trained in sensory perception by Diageo and spent three and a half years serving on the Guinness Taste Panel at St James’ Gate in Dublin. He has also worked as a whiskey sommelier in a number of Dublin pubs. He has hosted whiskey tastings for over fourteen years in Ireland and Britain, presenting tastings of Irish whiskey, Islay scotch, American bourbon and Canadian whiskey.

In 2014, he hosted one of the Irish Whiskey Society’s most infamous tastings, ‘How to Drink like a Dictator’, which became so notorious it has never been repeated – until now.

Waiting for Wakenight

I’m not really a Joycean scholar (though I did once publish on Joyce, Anthony Burgess and counterpoint here) so it’s taken me this long to come across the suggestion (attributed by Finn Fordham to an unnamed critic, presumably Danis Rose) that in addition to a Bloomsday, there may be a Wakenight also.

According to the unnamed critic, the Wake takes place (in the same way Bloomsday does – in a fictional alternative history which lives on the page and in our minds) on the night of the 28th of March 1938.

It’s not an especially memorable date in actual history. A couple of weeks after the Anschluss, Hitler gave a speech in Berlin. For a further sense of the era, Westminster was debating both the cinematographs bill and a civil aviation bill.

This means, of course, that I was born on the 33rd such Wakenight, in the morning, just as the river Anna Livia Plurabelle ebbs into the sea, her father, and dies (only to be reborn again on page one of the book.)

I’m not sure how we’d celebrate Wakenight. I’m not sure Joyce entirely foresaw people strolling in Dublin each June dressed in boater hats and munching gorgonzola sandwiches either. So I guess it’s up to us to choose our own modern and secular rituals for our own post-religious deities.


My modest suggestion, in keeping with the source ballad, is that we all drink whiskey until we collapse as if dead. Who’s in?

Speaking of the ballad, let’s have a quick round of it now, courtesy of the inimitable Mark Wale: