Walker Percy, Bourbon, and the Holy Ghost | First Things

Ruminations on the spiritual power of bourbon, from Walker Percy, nonetheless: Walker Percy, Bourbon, and the Holy Ghost | First Things.

To return to more earthly spirits, bourbon is for Percy a way to be for a moment in the evening. Why might one take an evening cocktail? Baser reasons are: an addiction to alcohol, or the desire to appear sophisticated. Better reasons, according to Percy, are the aesthetic experience of the drink itself—the appearance, the aroma, the taste, the cheering effect of (moderate) ethanol on the brain. Another reason is that a drink incarnates the evening; it marks the shift from the active workday to a reflective time at home. One simply must choose a way to be at a five o’clock on a Wednesday evening. Instead surrendering to TV, Percy recommended making a proper southern julep. I prefer my bourbon as an old-fashioned, a drink that reflects the colors of an autumn day. “Love God and do what you will,” Saint Augustine advised. This presumes that you have allowed God’s grace to order you to love properly, and you have taken proper note of your own God-given gifts and dispositions. Then, praise God, and be.

Walker’s original essay can be read here.


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