Well, that was an interesting episode. I think Don was drunk for at least 90% of it. I did mention he’s becoming an alcoholic, right? But before we get to that, let’s back up to the Clio Advertising Awards. In a town like our own, pretty much everyone is familiar with the Clios. Awards help the business, right?
I noticed one winner in particular. Actually, what I noticed was progressive drunkenness on the part of Roger and Don, but other than that, the Byrrh winner stood out for me. What in the world, I wondered, is Byrrh?
It’s not what I thought. I figured it was perhaps some early, non-alcoholic Beer. Nope. It’s an aperitif, still produced in France by Pernod. Byrrh is actually a wine-based aperitif, similar to Lillet, but blended with quinine. According to Pernod, “the basic grapes, mainly the Carignan and Grenache varieties from the hillsides of Roussillon, are transformed into mistelles (partly fermented grape juice), which are then blended with selected dry red Roussillon wines.” It’s the history of Byrrh that intrigues me though. Coincidentally, Byrrh was created in 1866 by Simon and Pallade Violet, who were drapers. Drapers, at the time, was a phrase used to describe men who sold cloth or clothing. It’s a great name for a guy who started out selling fur coats.
Which brings me to our resident drunks. I found it interesting that in their first business meeting, Don took Roger out drinking at 10 am. It all started right there. Of course, Roger got snowed by Don, drinking so much he doesn’t know (to this day) whether he actually hired the guy or not.
Let’s look at Don’s progressive drinking in this episode. He starts out early, offering a drink to Peggy. The aborted Life cereal meeting includes a few festive cocktails, then they drink a lot of both cocktails and wine at the Clios. After that much, I’d be ready to go home and relax, but Don goes and gives a presentation. No one disagrees? How can they not see this is a bad idea? Of course, celebratory drinks were poured at the Life meeting, followed by the Clio after-party. That, my friends, is a lot of drinking. And these guys weren’t drinking light beer, but were downing the cocktails.
Then there is Don’s lost weekend. It’s one thing to celebrate – another to somehow slip from Friday night to Sunday afternoon without a single memory of what happened. I believe that consuming alcohol to rid yourself of a hangover is Phase 4 of alcoholism. Seriously, hair of the dog, while a time-honored folk remedy, is also an incriminating habit. The fact that Don poured himself a glass of Canadian Club when he got out of the shower on Sunday after his lost weekend, well …
Personally, I’ve never tried hair of the dog. If I’m hungover, which thankfully isn’t a common experience anymore, the absolute last thing I want is more alcohol. Drinking too much on one night will keep me off of alcohol for about a week’s time. Not Don Draper.
Below I’ve included a video from AMC featuring Matt Weiner and Jon Hamm discussing Don’s descent into alcoholism (beginning and end of the video). There’s a sponsor ad preceding the video.
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