Divers retrieve hundreds of bottles of booze from a World War I shipwreck

In 1917, Swedish steamer ship Kyros was traveling from France to Russia when a German U-boat sunk it in the Baltic Sea. The shipwreck was discovered in 1999 but it wasn't until the last month that a team of divers from Ocean X and iXplorer have hauled up the sunken treasure: 600 bottles of De Haartman & Co. cognac and 300 bottles of Benedictine (now Bacardi) liqueur meant for Tsar Nicholas II. From Smithsonian:

(Expedition leader Peter) Lindberg and his colleagues have sent samples of both the cognac and the Benedictine to a laboratory to gauge whether the alcohol is still fit for consumption. They are optimistic regarding the outcome of these tests, according to Metcalfe, as the Baltic’s freezing waters are actually ideal for storing spirits. Although some of the bottles contain sediment, many remain sealed. Several cognac bottles even have intact tin seals...

As Lindberg tells CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore and David Williams, he and the rest of the team detected a slight scent of sweetened herbs coming from the Benedictine bottles...

Earlier this year, two bottles of 17th-century wine discovered by Ocean X went up for auction at Christie’s. And in 2011, a 200-year-old bottle of champagne found in another Baltic shipwreck sold for a record-breaking $43,000.

images: OceanXTeam on Instagram Read the rest

Artisinal gin flavored with elephant dung gets you shit-faced

Indlovu Gin is a new spirit infused with elephant dung. Gives new meaning to the term "shit-faced." It sells for about $32 per bottle. Creators Les and Paula Ansley of Mossel Bay, South Africa, came up with the concept on safari after learning that elephants have a varied diet of plants, fruits, and vegetables but less than half of it is actually digested.

“As a consequence, in the elephant dung, you get the most amazing variety of these botanicals,” Les Ansley told the Associated Press. “(I recall my wife saying) Why don’t we let the elephants do the hard work of collecting all these botanicals and we will make gin from it?"

From the AP:

After about five sizeable bags of dung are collected for a batch of 3,000 to 4,000 bottles of the gin, the droppings are dried and crumbled, then washed to remove dirt and sand. Eventually only the remains of the fruits, flowers, leaves and bark eaten by the elephants are left behind.

Those botanicals are then sterilized and dried again and placed in an airing cupboard. Think of it like a “spice cupboard,” Ansley said. Eventually, the remains are infused in the gin.

(via Fark) Read the rest

New bar where you pay by the hour to drink

Open Concept is a new bar in St. Louis, Missouri where patrons make an appointment to visit and then pay by the hour to drink as much (or as little) as you'd like. The per-hour price is $10 but if you want top shelf booze, it jumps to $20/hour.

"At our bar we don't sell drinks, we sell time," states their website.

From St. Louis magazine:

Proprietor Michael Butler, the city's current recorder of deeds, got the idea from fundraising parties while running for office. “I would hold events where we charged by the hour for admission and have an open bar,” he recalls. “We got a lot of presale tickets online, and we created large-batch drinks in order to cut costs.” After a series of successful events, he imagined the same model could be applied to a business. He believes the price is "what the market can afford and will feel is a good value...."

When patrons book their time at Open Concept, they create a profile and are assigned a confirmation code, which is used to place drink orders at the bar. Bartenders will only serve one drink per person at a time, and a proprietary point-of-sale system will track consumption. Butler says the system will scan driver’s licenses and use a patron’s height and weight to assign a number of drinks per hour to keep the bar in compliance with legal limits.

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Study: first drug more likely to be cannabis than nicotine or alcohol

When I was 12 years old, a kid that I thought was my friend but turned out to only be into me for my Nintendo, tempted me to try a little something that he snuck out of his mother's liquor cabinet. We ingested it! We were so drunk! We were full of shit: we'd been eating powdered pina colada mix, trying to convince each other that we were, indeed, hammered. Anyway, booze isn't the problem for young folks that it once was. More times than not, of late, the first experience that young folks'll have with mind altering substances outside of spending too long inside drawing with a Sharpie will likely be with marijuana.

From The Verge:

This trend is not because teens are smoking cannabis more than ever. Rather, the change is because teens are smoking cigarettes and drinking less while the numbers for marijuana have held steady, according to Katherine M. Keyes, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University and co-author of the new study, published this week in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The authors found this by analyzing 40 years of surveys from American high school seniors. For example, in 1995, three-fourths of seniors who used both marijuana and cigarettes had tried cigarettes first. By 2016, only 40 percent had tried cigarettes first. Today, less than half of teens try alcohol and cigarettes before trying cannabis. (The researchers didn’t look specifically at whether alcohol or tobacco came next.) Other studies have found that, in general, teens are doing fewer drugs than ever, except for marijuana.

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Climate change will make beer much more expensive

Over the next century, higher temperatures and an increased number of droughts will hit the global barley supply, pushing beer prices way up. University of East Anglia economist Dabo Guan and his colleagues developed multiple scenarios based on several climate and economic models. Nature:

The researchers then simulated the effect of these droughts and heat waves on barley production by using software to model crop growth and yield on the basis of weather and other variables.

They found that, globally, this extreme weather would reduce barley yield by between 3% and 17%. Some countries fared better than others: tropical areas such as Central and South America were hit badly, but crop yields actually increased in certain temperate areas, including northern China and the United States. Some areas of those countries saw yield increases of up to 90% — but this was not enough to offset the global decrease.

Finally, Guan and his colleagues fed these changes in barley yield into an existing economic model that can account for changes in supply and demand in the global market. This enabled them to look at how reduced barley production would affect pricing and consumption of beer in countries, as well as trade between nations.

In the worst-case scenario, the reduced barley supply worldwide would result in a 16% decrease in global beer consumption in the years of extreme-weather events. Prices would, on average, double...

One goal of the research, Guan says, was to make tangible how "climate change will impact people’s lifestyle... Read the rest

The amount of alcohol you should have is zero

A study entitled "Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016" has determined that no one should ingest any alcohol. It leads to death, kinda like life.

Via The Lancet:

Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero. These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption.

I have found that I can drink less and less as I get older. While I enjoy my Jameson, whiskey leaves me feeling awful and foggy the following day. I've passed the point where that feeling is worthwhile.

The belief, posed by my MD father, is that genetically our bodies (and my sister, but not my brother who is too ‘like my mom’) do not produce enough aldehyde dehydrogenase to break the acetaldehyde down and we essentially are poisoning ourselves, as the paper says.

Image via NIH.gov Read the rest

Funny and clever anti-drunk driving sign

As a wise man once said, "It's funny cause it's true."

(r/funny) Read the rest

This alchemist's guide to alcoholic beverages is clever and lovely

Musician Regaip "Rego" Alp Sen created this cool and comprehensive alchemist's guide to alcoholic beverages. Colors and sidebars denote pairing combinations. Read the rest

Motorists falsely arrested on DUI charges describe the life-ruining results

Imagine driving home from work clean and sober, getting stopped by police, then arrested on suspicion of DUI. Several people describe the months of stress and thousands of dollars they spent to clear their names. Read the rest

The sound of good champagne

Acoustics researchers suggest that it's possible to hear the quality of champagne just by listening to the bubbles form. According to the University of Texas scientists, "There is a well-known notion that the quality of a sparkling wine is correlated to the size of its bubbles, and we are investigating whether the bubble size distribution of a sparkling wine can be obtained from simple acoustical measurements." Many people believe that smaller bubbles mean a better taste. From Smithsonian:

To measure the sounds of wine, researchers used small hydrophones—microphones which can record underwater sounds. They poured California Brut and Moët & Chandon Imperial champagne into flutes and listened in as the bubbles formed. The results suggest that they could indeed hear the fine champagne, discerning that bubbles of this drink are slightly smaller in size, more evenly sized and have more activity than the lower-quality sparkling wine.

More here: "Pop the bubbly and hear the quality" (EurekaAlert!) Read the rest

Study finds different types of alcohol may affect our emotions differently

Is there a difference in how you feel after drinking red wine versus hard liquor? I've always thought so (sleepy with wine, invigorated with dirty martinis and tequila shots), and now a study published in British Medical Journal’s BMJ Open suggests that perhaps different types of alcohol really do affect different emotions after drinking them.

The study, published on Tuesday, suggests that hard liquor makes people feel confident, energized and "sexy," while red wine makes people feel "relaxed." And spirits seem to take a more negative turn. "Drinking spirits was far more likely to elicit feelings of aggression, illness, restlessness, and tearfulness than wine or beer.and spirits more often make people feel aggressive, weepy, and ill," says Popular Science.

According to Popular Science:

Some of the study’s findings—which draw from around 30,000 individuals aged 18-34 who completed the Global Drug Survey, an online anonymous questionnaire promoted in 2015—aren’t exactly shocking. For example, 53 percent of respondents reported that red wine made them feel relaxed. There’s a physiological explanation for this; red wine contains high levels of melatonin, the hormone that tells our brains it’s time to go to bed. A solid 50 percent of subjects reported that beer relaxed them, but the carbohydrates therein also have a reputation for making folks drowsy. Only around 20 percent of drinkers said spirits had the same effect.

When it came to other positive emotions—feeling energized, confident, relaxed, and sexy—hard liquors really kicked the competition to the curb. Over 58 percent of responders reported feeling energized after a drink of spirits, 59 percent reported confidence, and 42 percent felt sexy.

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Whiskey bottles organized by how many years they've matured

According to the poster Mystic_L, each bottle represents a year in the cask. A good illustration of how fast (slow?) whiskies age, but also where diminishing returns kick in, and the Angel's Share — the loss of volume over time through evaporation. Read the rest

1,650 year old unopened wine bottle looks like it should stay that way

Josh Jones at Open Culture looks at the Speyer wine bottle, the oldest (and possibly grossest) unopened bottle of wine. Read the rest

There are Sake-flavored Kit-Kats now

A classic English chocolate bar. The finest Japanese wine. Together, at last.

QUESTION: Is it a kit kat that tastes like sake or sake that tastes like a kit kat? ANSWER: hi,it is not sake but sake flavored chocolate.

It is said to contain 0.8% alcohol; turns out that Japan has all sorts of wildly-flavored Kit Kats. If anyone gives them a try, report back for knowledge assimilation. Read the rest

Electronic temporary tattoo measures how drunk you are

University of California San Diego nanoengineers developed a flexible, wearable sensor that measures the blood alcohol level of its wearer and transmits the info to a mobile device. From UCSD News:

The device consists of a temporary tattoo—which sticks to the skin, induces sweat and electrochemically detects the alcohol level—and a portable flexible electronic circuit board, which is connected to the tattoo by a magnet and can communicate the information to a mobile device via Bluetooth.

The device could be integrated with a car’s alcohol ignition interlocks, or friends could use it to check up on each other before handing over the car keys, he added.

“When you’re out at a party or at a bar, this sensor could send alerts to your phone to let you know how much you’ve been drinking,” said Jayoung Kim, a materials science and engineering PhD student.

"Noninvasive Alcohol Monitoring Using a Wearable Tattoo-Based Iontophoretic-Biosensing System" (ACS Sensors)

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Budweiser renames its beer "America"

Fast Company looks into Budweiser's patriotic salute to the upcoming presidential election.

The alterations don’t stop with the beer’s name. Almost every bit of type on the Budweiser label has been scrubbed away by Easter Egg patriotism, with new text citing the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, and America the Beautiful—all rendered in newly developed hand lettering, inspired by Budweiser’s archives.

To name just a few of the updates: "King of Beers" has been changed to "E Pluribus Unum," "The World Renowned" changed to "Land of the Free," and "Anheuser-Busch, Inc." updated to read "Liberty & Justice For All."

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Get hammered with jazz great Charles Mingus's Egg Nog recipe

Jazz pioneer Charles Mingus (1922-1979) had a secret recipe for eggnog that by all accounts was delicious, and incredibly potent. He shared the recipe with biographer Janet Coleman who published it in her book Mingus/Mingus: Two Memoirs. Here's the brew below, followed by Mingus's "Moanin'."

Charles Mingus's Egg Nog

* Separate one egg for one person. Each person gets an egg. * Two sugars for each egg, each person. * One shot of rum, one shot of brandy per person. * Put all the yolks into one big pan, with some milk. * That’s where the 151 proof rum goes. Put it in gradually or it’ll burn the eggs, * OK. The whites are separate and the cream is separate. * In another pot- depending on how many people- put in one shot of each, rum and brandy. (This is after you whip your whites and your cream.) * Pour it over the top of the milk and yolks. * One teaspoon of sugar. Brandy and rum. * Actually you mix it all together. * Yes, a lot of nutmeg. Fresh nutmeg. And stir it up. * You don’t need ice cream unless you’ve got people coming and you need to keep it cold. Vanilla ice cream. You can use eggnog. I use vanilla ice cream. * Right, taste for flavor. Bourbon? I use Jamaica Rum in there. Jamaican Rums. Or I’ll put rye in it. Scotch. It depends.

See, it depends on how drunk I get while I’m tasting it.

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