11 JUNE 1988, Page 42

Beryl Bainbridge

I LIKE the sound of gin and It, and the colour of pink gin, but I also believe that warning about it being mother's ruin. Vodka is nice for secret drinkers because it looks like a glass of water. I can't stand beer (too stout-making) or rum (too fruity and the hangover is punishing) and I've always thought that only cissies drink wine.

I once judged the Whitbread prize and took the fee in cost-price booze, calling upon lovely Tristram Powell to advise me on suitable wines. I had dozens of bottles of Lynch-Barges which the children (over 18) drank in two weeks flat as they said it tasted better than Ribena.

Which leaves me with my two favourite drinks, stewed tea and whisky. They can be drunk separately if you wish, but I often prefer the two together. On high days and holidays it goes very well with a bar of plain chocolate.

I make it a rule always to drink on an empty stomach. A little drop after supper is a waste of time. A bigger drop before is the best thing, as one is soon in no fit state to make any supper. This makes whisky a very economical tipple, which is surely a consideration.