Can a Cocktail Make You More Creative?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

My boyfriend Sam and I have a constant disagreement about what time of day is an okay time to pour a glass of wine or mix a cocktail. This is largely because we both work for ourselves from home and we often end up working in the evenings which makes the typical 5 p.m. happy hour not that great of an idea, I suppose. But what if a drink could actually help with creativity and productivity? 

I know Sam’s rolling his eyes right now because he thinks this to be an impossibility and he’s pretty firm about not having a sip of alcohol until most of his work is done for the day. I should mention that both Sam and I are in creative fields: he’s a designer, I’m a writer. You’d think that creative work could be helped with an evening glass of wine. But according to Sam: no way. 

I’m different. I will have a glass of wine while working at the computer. Unless I’m finessing my Quickbooks or doing more detail-oriented bookkeeping tasks, I find it actually helps me get into a different kind of writing groove. As we mentioned earlier this week, Slate actually wrote about this very thing, researching whether or not artists who drank often mixed their imbibing with their creative efforts. 

And what did they find? Apparently many great artists would side with Sam. Slate writer Mason Currey notes that “Even the alcoholics recognized that drinking made their creative output a little too effortless.” The painter Francis Bacon or the writer Earnest Hemingway would often drink large quantities while out with friends in the evening, but would rarely mix that with work (both did rise quite early in the morning, regardless of the previous late night, and get right to work). Similarly, F. Scott Fitzgerald blocked out some of the day to be an alcohol-free work period, recognizing that he wasn’t nearly as productive when mixing the two. 

It obviously depends a great deal on the kind of work you do, but for people in creative fields, I was surprised that most of the mentions tended to side with Sam’s theory on only having a cocktail much, much later in the evening and only once the computer is closed. 

Where do you stand? Do you feel like one drink makes you more creative and able to work just as well, or do you feel hindered and not as productive? 

(Image: Faith Durand)