Family lore has it that during Prohibition, my maternal grandfather got his physician to write him an "as-needed for the heart" prescription for corn whiskey, a script Grandpa apparently either regularly filled himself or from a neighbor's still in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia until he could resume legal liquor purchases at stores.
He died of heart disease anyway, but not for another three decades.
Researchers have devoted many volumes over the past 30 years to examining what positive or negative effects drinking might have on the heart. The general wisdom has settled that having a drink or two every so often, even one a day, may be mildly beneficial to the circulation, but not so helpful that it's advisable to take up drinking for medical reasons if you don't already drink.
But a recent study published by researchers at Boston University Medical Center suggests that alcohol use, even at levels deemed "hazardous," still reduces the risk for coronary heart disease. Hazardous was based on international definitions of more than 14 drinks a week for men, seven a week for women. A drink was defined using 1 1/2 ounces of whiskey or other hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer, wine cooler and similar beverages.