What's your poison?

close's picture

well, it says "anything goes" and since people do seem to enjoy one or the other non-quite-type-related-thread on this board, i was wondering, what liquid goes best with designing typefaces. it's a personal choice, of course, which might make this thread as interesting as "What's your desk, studio etc look like?". at least i hope so.
for me it's basically fresh ground italian coffee (Saquella) and natural french mineral water (Vittel) during the day. but if i'm still in front of the screen after the sun has left the building, i tend to grab something "more enlightening". in my case that would be either beer from eastern europe (Budweiser or Pilsner Urquell) or red wine from spain or preferably from northern italy, depending on the weather and mood. btw, i'm german and live and work in hamburg, so my poison is not as sophisticated as it might look to people on "the other side of the pond".

hrant's picture

Tea from a ceramic mug.
Water from a plastic bottle.


John Hudson's picture

Years ago, at my first ATypI conference, Dave Farey explained to me the correlation between the italic slant angle and the number of glasses of wine consumed by the designer.

During the day, I usually have a glass of water handy (next to the bag of double salt licorice -- they sort of cancel each other out in the system), but in the evening a glass of wine is not uncommon (usually a shiraz or shiraz blend, usually Australian), and if I'm still working at a later hour I have a scotch (usually Lagavulin, always single malt, never less than 12 years old - because some snobbery is good snobbery). I tend not to drink coffee while I'm actually working: if I need to stay up all night to meet a deadline, I find chocolate covered espresso beans to be more effective. But coffee is very important in other ways, so once or twice a day I leave my desk and walk to this place.

fontosaurus's picture

Depends. I like a good beer while I'm working -- a Flying Dog Pale Ale or a Sam Adams Summer Ale. Not enough to get drunk, just enough to work up a light buzz and get the brain loosened up.

When avoiding alcohol, I drink water or Mt. Dew.

kakaze's picture

Well, I don't design typefaces yet, but when I do it will probably be the same drink I use when I do anything at computer, generally... Coke or Vanilla Coke, or Apple Juice.

me likey vanilla coke :drool:

matteson's picture

During the day, at the office: copious amounts of Hinckley Springs water and equal amounts of some wretched institutional coffee or other.

At night, at home (or with the laptop out and about) it's generally booze, punctuated by periodic intakes of water. Scotch rocks is the perennial favorite. Arbeg, Laphroaig, or Lagavulin (in order of preference) are the favorites. Usually it ends up being something like Dewar's or Ballantine's however. Unlike the esteemed Mr. Hudson, I prefer the 10 year Laphroaig to the 15.

Beer comes in a close second. Old Style (the mainstay of Chicago) tops the list. Singha takes silver, with anything Polish (Tyskie, Dojlidy, Okocim) going home with bronze.

And since I hear it's better for the ticker, I'll throw an odd bottle of wine in here and there. Typically Chileans (Gato Negro or Concha y Toro). I finally gave up my grad school obsession with 3-liter screw-top jugs of Livingston Cellars ;-)

hrant's picture

> Okocim

I had some expired Okocim once, and it was still pretty good.
Do they still use that hilarious slogan? "It's OK Beer".


close's picture

> I finally gave up my grad school obsession with 3-liter screw-top jugs of Livingston Cellars ;-)

good for you!

and chilean wines, superb choice indeed! i used to have a case of Montes Alpha Merlot in handy, but the rat raised the price per bottle up more than 200%. i wonder what bit him. it wasn't Rothchild :-)
i'm certainly not a booze-man, but i do very much enjoy one or two glasses of norwegian Linie Aquavit after a good meal. won't go near my car after that though :-)

btw, i'm glad so many of you joined in on this so quickly!

matteson's picture

>"It's OK Beer".

Last time I was in Poland, I still saw that. But that was five years ago. At the market I go to in Chicago, the advertising is minimal - most of the beer's sitting in cardboard boxes. Frankly I prefer Okocim's Porter - Dojlidy beats their lager hands down. Okocim Mocne is quite a drink too - and packs quite a punch. The other Polish brew I like, my favorite in fact but which I can't find anywhere in Chicago, is Kosher. And oddly un-Polish spelling.

close's picture

hi cooky monster,

i don't think you're boring anybody. after all, this is not supposed to be a " hi, my name is ... and i'm an alcoholic"-thread. my first food every morning is a blend of oranges, pineapple and any other fruit that's not "up a tree by the count of three", mixed together in a blender, 'cause eating it all just takes too long.

steve_p's picture

Morning & afternoon: As much coffee as I can be bothered to make, water if I'm too lazy to make coffee.
Lunchtime: Lager (I used to drink proper beer, don't know how I turned into a lager drinker)
Evenings: I'm really making an effort not to spend my entire life working, but if I have to work, it has to be Thunderbird...

matteson's picture

Is Thunderbird in the UK the same thing it is in the States? I.e., the cheapest wine beverage you can possibly find, found mostly in the hands of the homeless? Night Train, Mad Dog 20/20...

>this is not supposed to be a "hi, my name is ... and i'm an alcoholic"

Incidentally, I do make a banana/orange-juice shake with Spirulina and Lecithin before I bike to work every morning. I'm still mostly a drunk though ;-)

Grant Hutchinson's picture

> me likey vanilla coke :drool:

I have a friend who swears that Vanilla Coke tastes like the smell of burning Barbie

Aaron Sittig's picture

I'm curious if I'm the only one here with a habit of stuffing myself with excitants and
relaxants at once. My drinks of choice when drawing type are coffee (drip, black as sin,
no sugar, no cream) and a beer (newcastle, alaska amber, anchor steam, &c). The trick
is to drink them both at the same time, so as to balance the effects of each, and the
outcome is an openness to ideas, courtesy of the beer, and a motivation to get lots
done, thanks to the caffiene.

matteson's picture

>excitants and relaxants at once.

Ah, a like mind. That was my dietary strategy for about two years. When I wasn't drinking screw-top wine anyway. It does work wonders - the beer counteracts the jitters from overly strong coffee and the coffee kept me from the lure of sleep due to the beer. Unfortunately my beer wasn't so rich in taste. I had just moved from Tennessee, so I was still drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Yummy.

>Other than that, I'm a slave to V8.

Somehow, when I was working at a printing plant in Knoxville, I started drinking Spicy V8. Never have been able to stop.

kakaze's picture

"I have a friend who swears that Vanilla Coke tastes like the smell of burning Barbie

hrant's picture

Beer also has a little-known benefit: it counteracts the formation of gallstones caused by the combination of tea & chocolate. That justifies three of my "sins" right there.


Hildebrant's picture

I myself admit a somewhat unhealthy addition to -- as I like to refer to it -- "The 8".


Grant Hutchinson's picture

> I have a psychologist who swears that your friend
> should probably think about getting therapy.

Indeed. May I present my friend's site?

peterbruhn's picture

In the mornings I start of with peppermint tea, sometimes a cappuccino.

A companion that's always by my side all through the day is a big bottle of Raml

hrant's picture

> Earl Grey in the morning

Yves, I wouldn't want to impose on anybody's tea protocols, but you might consider trying a more "honest" black tea (like a hearty Assam or subtle Keemun) in the AM, reserving those wonderful "rich" teas for the PM.


antiuser's picture

I too swear by the Earl Grey in the morning.
During the day I'll always have a bottle of some kind of fruit juice with me. My tastes always vary when it comes to that - right now my favourite is mango, but a few weeks ago it was pineapple.
Of course, as any self-respecting Italian, I love red wine, but I don't (usually) drink it when I'm on the computer. Scotch is my choice of computer-friendly alcohol.

kakaze's picture

"Indeed. May I present my friend's site?"

Um...it's certainly different.

jfp's picture

(I don't drink coffee, beer, don't like them.)
Earl Grey on the morning.

During the day, generally I don't drink anything, until its really a hot day. I wait from 9 to 13 to drink water during my lunch in my house, in the other side of my small garden. Same for afternoon, I wait the dinner.

Perhaps? my "poisons" are: For lunch, I generally eat fresh tomatoes with basil and a good olive Oil and pepper: close to everyday during the week, along the year. Dark chocolate is always take at the end of any lunch or dinner.

But, sometimes, I take a glass of "Danao," a Danone drink based of a mixture of fruits and milk in the afternoon.

Wine is served here only when we receive friends/family.

porky's picture

If I am designing or writing I try not to imbibe any mind altering substances, even chocolate is out. So its water (fizzy or still), various "British" or fruit teas, or bizarre non-cow milkshakes (So Good or Provamel).

Its a different matter otherwise though. Wheat/White beers are always good (and if Yves wants to send over some bottles of Dentegems then he can have my hand in marriage), as is new world white wines, and my personal favourite, Bombay Sapphire gin, ice, tonic, and a slice of lemon.

My dirty secret is diet coke. I'm trying to cut that out though.

vincent_connare's picture

Use to be Pyramid Ale Apricot now unfortunately a can of Fosters with Salt and Vinegar Pringles or a Chianti with orignal Pringles and Jaffa cakes. And real ale drinks yes I too have turned from a proper pint man to a lager lover.. I don't know why either. But Lager and Lime tastes like window cleaner.

Now a coca-cola after a 7-up.. at work English instant coffee, at home French Roast or espresso.

Tiffany... no more Pepsi Max???? I never saw you with out a can of that in your hand.

Budwieser? I think you must mean Budvar...not that rice thing.. http://www.budvar.cz/flash/index_en.html

steve_p's picture

>>I must say I succesfully and completely eradicated any
beverages from The Coca Cola Company from my
drinking habits.

Was that for ethical reasons, or chemical ones?
Just curious.

steve_p's picture

>>...and Jaffa cakes

Wehey...Jaffa Cakes are indispensible to good design.
If you're really stuck for inspiration, eat a jaffa cake, then eat another one upside down (its the jaffa cake that has to be upside down, not you) - don't know why it works, but it does.

>...instant coffee
Does this mean I'm not the only person in the world who prefers instant coffee to 'real' coffee?

porky's picture

Ethical considerations indeed. The problem is there are so MANY of them. But as we're on the subject of coca cola, here is a typical example...


gln's picture

>I too swear by the Earl Grey in the morning.

Twinings Earl Grey most of the day.

I am also partial to Japanese green tea Ujinotsuyu-Genmaicha. A very aromatic Japanese green tea combined with roasted rice.

hawk's picture

coffee, water, coca cola, tea (only lemon verbena).

No wine, beer etc - while i'm working. however, i love wine!!! (well. my grandfather was a winery man)

David Hamuel

nike's picture

for me its every morning a liter of japanese geen tea (gyokuro).

in the afternoon I have to confess - coke.

vincent_connare's picture

>Does this mean I'm not the only person in the world who prefers instant coffee to 'real' coffee?

English instant coffee is actually pretty good, American instant coffee is disgusting...Same brands different taste. Must be all the nice flavour in the London water.

steve_p's picture

coke - drink of the deathsquads

matteson's picture

>English instant coffee is actually pretty good,

So is Thai instant, in fact. Even the canned iced coffee over there beats most of the American stuff.

close's picture

> Budwieser? I think you must mean Budvar...

yes indeed, the original czech premium lager, the one and only. definately not the american. you know what they say about that, it's like making love in a canoe ...

i only drink beer during the summer though, and only when it's at least 25

hrant's picture

So is this crowd too young or populist for port? If I must have
something alcoholic during some late-night fonting, it's port all the way.

1) Budvar rules.
2) Tiffany, is Pepsi-Max like Jolt Cola?


meredithalix's picture

Vincent, I'm fond of Pyramid Apricot Ale, too -- though I think of it as a girly-beer. (Girly-beers are the only kind I like.) I don't drink it while working, though.

It's strong good coffee in the morning, Brita water all afternoon, and if I'm working into the evening, a decent Merlot.

If I'm working all night, I'll go out & get either chocolate-covered coffee beans, or Diet Dr. Pepper, which I always heard had more caffeine than most other sodas. Turns out its caffeine content is about average, but now I associate it with staying up all night, so it still works.

vincent_connare's picture

root beer?? anyone? ?? when we were playing the English baseball playoffs at the American base in East Anglia, they had American drinks and stuff in 12oz cans (not 33CL cans) and Root Beer was the favourite... There isn't Root Beer o'va'hia. Put WA Seattle Mariners plates in my car window just to fit in..

John Hudson's picture

One day I intend to design a Victorian decorative typeface under the alternating influence of absinthe and laudanum.

.00's picture

I started work in NYC in the late 70's when the three martini lunch was in vogue. It still is the pause that refreshes.

hrant's picture

> absinthe and laudanum

Ah, our Baudelaire has come forth! ;-)

BTW, you've reminded of something strange that happened to me about 10 years ago. I was on my Amiga 500 (running Fog 3.1 under MacOS emulation) in my little appartment in Barcelona, designing a geometric Armenian font (hey, I was young) deep into the night, when, under the influence of nothing but sleepiness, I started drifting in and out of sleep, but never stopping to push the beziers. Finally I had to stop, and barely managed to crawl into bed, but not before I hit Save and shut down. The next morning I went back to the font, and saw a really strange Jeh indeed... It was partly garbled, but somehow it still must've made sense, in some ethereal dimension.


vincent_connare's picture

my girlfriend has an un opened bottle of absinthe in the rack... it's been there awhile.. I think I'm afraid to try it but maybe she'll turn into Kylie as the Absinthe fairy.. But I don't think the green stuff will help my design, I might come up with another comic sans again..

kakaze's picture

YOu guys know that modern absinthe isn't true absinthe right? Have to drink it with a hit of LSD if you want to feel what the old time absinthe drinkers did, heh. Damn government regulations.


"I must say I succesfully and completely eradicated any
beverages from The Coca Cola Company from my
drinking habits. You should try it too, feels good."

Blasphemer! Get thee away! How darest thou insult the almighty Coke god! Blasphemer! Blasphemer!


John Hudson's picture

I have a source for the real thing, although I've only tried it once. It really isn't a strong hallucinogen, as many people believe, unless you were to drink a lot of it (I had about two fingers, straight, and didn't see anything unusual except a man sitting next to me playing a ukelele, but he turned out to be real). The impressive thing about absinthe is the apparently perfect balance of the depressives in the alcohol with the stimulants in the wormwood.

You can make your own laudanum very easily if you have the poppies. A lot of perfectly respectable people in Victorian England made their own.

I should point out that I'm not a drug user, and never drink with the intention of getting drunk. Just in case anyone was wondering.

hrant's picture

But do you drink with the intention of not getting drunk? That would suck.


close's picture

i don't like being drunk and i hate hang-overs. it's all about enjoyment and taste, hrant!

gerald_giampa's picture

I don't drink.

But in my previous incarnation "I never used sobriety as a crutch."

I saw nothing wrong with drinking . .

"A litre of wine
before the crew at nine.
That's what great typographers are made of."

Don't believe that if you quit drinking you will save a lot of money. You won't.

You know how they say. "Oh he is a completely different person when he is sober." You bet, I was nice drunk and a you know what now! At least that's what some think.

I never drove a car "legally sober" until I was 45 years of age. Not a single infraction, never charged with drinking and driving. I drive better drunk than most sober. I should not be allowed to drive "unless I am under the influence of alcohol".

So what do I drink now? Piss and vinegar!

Gerald Giampa

Hildebrant's picture

Scotch usually something 12+ year, most single malts, although there are exceptions.

That and vodka on he rocks, a good vodka, vox, kettle one, goose, or the best --- Tall blonde.

steve_p's picture

>>Is Thunderbird in the UK the same thing it is in the States? I.e., the cheapest wine beverage you can possibly find

Not exactly the cheapest, but if you do that equation between size of bottle, % alc. by vol., and price, you always end up with Thunderbird.
I'm not as broke now as I once was but old habits die hard.

John Hudson's picture

A pub in the university district of Bristol used to offer a 'get drunk quickly and cheaply' special: a pint mug, half beer and half cheap, low quality port. Certainly disgusting, but probably effective.

Mind you, in the same fair city I made the mistake of having half a pint -- just half a pint! -- of exhibition scrumpy at lunch time and had to go home and sleep the rest of the afternoon.

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