Doctors say gin is good for your health. Or was that whisky?

All doctors know that alcohol in moderate doses fortifies ones health. A glass of red wine here, a gin and tonic there and you’ll lead a healthier - and longer - life than if you hadn’t drank at all. But what do doctors tell those of us that may indulge a bit too much from time to time and can’t seem to stop even when it’s probably best? Is there one elixir that’s better than others? According to two stories of yesteryear, it could be gin in martini form or straight-up scotch.  

Take the case of Ian Fleming, the author of everyone’s favourite martini-swilling spy, James Bond. Fleming had an extreme fondness for gin, sometimes knocking back a bottle per day. At the young age of 38 he began complaining of chest pains. His doctor suggested he switch from gin to bourbon because the American spirit would be marginally better for his health (Fleming’s 70-cigarette-a-day habit didn’t help his health either).   

In a reverse case, Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart, a dedicated drinker of all liquors yet with a preference for scotch, became more of a martini man upon his doctor’s diagnosis and treatment of throat cancer. Remaining a steady martini drinker throughout his treatment and eventual death one year after his diagnosis, Bogart’s ultimate quip about his lifelong love affair with alcohol was, “I never should have switched from scotch to martinis.” Maybe Fleming’s doctor knew best.

So which is it? Whisky (or whiskey in Fleming’s case) or gin? Which will keep you ticking when it seems that you’re licked? We’re pretty sure that modern medicine will unanimously decide “neither”. So, assuming that sincere medical evidence will not surface, does anyone have any additional anecdotes about the remedial aspects of alcohol? Please share!

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