Scientists discover the WORST cup of tea

Good news everyone! All of those products made using microplastics that you invested in will hang around even after you get rid of them: that's good value. Currently, they can be found fouling up the guts of any number of sensitive species, littering the deepest depths of the ocean, making it possible to enjoy your microplastics almost anywhere you roam. Now, scientists from McGill University in Montreal have discovered an amazing new vector for getting the particular plastics you paid for into your body, where they belong: tea.

From CNN:

Plastic tea bags are shedding billions of shards of microplastics into their water, according to a new study.

[Scientists] found that a single bag releases around 11.6 billion microplastic particles, and 3.1 billion even smaller nanoplastic particles, into the cup -- thousands of times higher than the amount of plastic previously found in other food and drink.

The health effects of drinking these particles are unknown, according to the researchers, who called for further study into the area.

I mean, we're already, on average, devouring five grams of plastic every week, so what's the big deal? A little more won't hurt ya.

Image via Wikipedia Read the rest

Water isn't the most hydrating beverage according to new scientific study

Plain water isn't the most hydrating drink around, according to a new study from health researchers at the UK's Loughborough University. Better are beverages with some fat, protein, or sugar. But not TOO much sugar. From CNN:

For example, milk was found to be even more hydrating than plain water because it contains the sugar lactose, some protein and some fat, all of which help to slow the emptying of fluid from the stomach and keep hydration happening over a longer period of time.

Milk also has sodium, which acts like a sponge and holds onto water in the body and results in less urine produced.

The same can be said for oral rehydration solutions that are used to treat diarrhea. Those contain small amounts of sugar, as well as sodium and potassium, which can also help promote water retention in the body.

"A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index" (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) Read the rest

Man mails amputated toes to saloon for use in their Sourtoe Cocktail

Nick Griffiths suffered from frostbite while running in the Yukon Arctic ultra-marathon. After surgeons amputated three of his toes, he mailed two of them to Dawson City in the region where the Downtown Hotel's Sourdough Saloon uses (and reuses) disembodied digits in their infamous Sourtoe Cocktail that's been on the menu for forty years. From The Guardian:

The beverage consists of a mummified human toe floating in a whiskey shot; patrons must let the digit – or its blackened nail – touch their lips in order to receive a certificate and qualify for admittance to the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.

He kept one of the toes as “insurance” because, (Griffiths) said: “I’m not sure really you should be posting toes.

More than a month later, the toes arrived in Dawson City. “We couldn’t be happier to receive a new toe. They are very hard to come by these days,” said the hotel in a statement.

Terry Lee, the hotel’s “toe expert” will now preserve the digits in rock salt for at least six weeks before they are served in whiskey.

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Unique coffee drink features melting ball of cotton candy dripping into cup

Shanghai-based cafe chain Mellower Coffee offers a unique drink called Sweet Little Rain in which cotton candy positioned over an Americano is melted by the steam and drips sugar into the cup.

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Warm up with unusual international warm drinks like cheesy coffee and honey-and-bacon brandy

The intrepid travelers of Atlas Obscura suggest nine traditional hot drinks from across the world that may seem weird to our narrow, boring palates but are quite popular in their regions. From Atlas Obscura:

Kaffeost: In northern Scandinavia, cups of coffee get enhanced with cheese.

The dried cheese, called juustoleipä (sometimes leipäjuusto or just juusto), absorbs the steaming brew, softening without melting, like a rich, moist cheese sponge...

Juustoleipä translates to “cheese bread,” which not only refers to its dry and sturdy texture, but also its culinary use as a sort of bread-like vehicle for jam, syrup, and, of course, coffee. To make the cheese, milk—once reindeer milk, now often goat or cow milk—gets curdled, baked, and dried into thin rounds. This process not only allows for the cheese to be preserved for up to a year, but invites special preparations when it is ready to be consumed, one of which is kaffeost.

Hriatô: Slovakian winters call for a honey-and-bacon hot brandy cocktail.

...Traditionally served around Christmas, hriatô is relatively straightforward to make. Home cooks begin by frying up bacon in a healthy dollop of lard. Once it’s crisp, they drizzle in honey, allowing the sweet and salty blend to mingle. Finally, they add a stream of potent fruit brandy to the mix.

Hriatô can indeed look a bit unappetizing on first glance. As the cloudy, orangish liquid begins to cool, the fat separates, initially forming glistening droplets on the drink’s surface, then a layer of settled fat. But when enjoyed fresh, the fried bacon bobs in the boozy brew, balancing the honeyed liquid with a savory umami pork flavor.

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Coca-Cola in talks with cannabis company

Coca-Cola is reportedly talking with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc. about CBD-infused beverages.

“We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers told Bloomberg News.

(Of course, Coca-Cola was also a pioneer in marketing psychoactive drug-infused beverages.)

From Bloomberg:

Aurora’s shares surged on the news, jumping as much as 23 percent Monday in New York to $8. Other stocks in the cannabis industry got a boost, with Tilray Inc. adding as much as 9.4 percent in response to Coca-Cola’s interest...

The discussions with Aurora are focused on CBD-infused drinks to ease inflammation, pain and cramping, according to the BNN Bloomberg report. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the chemical in the pot plant often used for medicinal purposes, and doesn’t produce the high that comes from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. There are no guarantees of any deal between Aurora and Coca-Cola, according to the report.

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Japanese Whisky: beautiful book about the best booze east of Glen Garioch

Beautifully produced and incredibly satisfying, Brian Ashcraft's Japanese Whisky is more than a handsome primer about some of the world's best booze. It's also an assured and familiar exploration of the drink's history and culture in the world's fourth-largest whisky market, complemented by outstanding photography and dozens of tasting notes.

Pepsi is buying SodaStream

PepsiCo is buying SodaStream for $3.2 billion.

SodaStream's products, marketed as a healthy alternative to sugary sodas, fit Pepsi's goal of "making more nutritious products while limiting our environmental footprint," (Pepsi CEO Indra) Nooyi said in a statement. "Together, we can advance our shared vision of a healthier, more sustainable planet."

(CNN) Read the rest

Why flight attendants hate Diet Coke

Traveling by air is thirsty work. Read the rest

The place of gin in Orwell's 1984

One of the few permitted vices in Nineteen Eighty-Four is Victory Gin, which oils the outer party and offers suggestions of Englishness and party power: it's always served with clove bitters, implying that Oceania's boots are on the ground in Asia. Chemistry professor Shirley Lin wrote an interesting post about gin's place in Orwell's dystopia.

In the last paragraph of the book, Winston’s tears at the end of the book are also “gin-scented” (page 297). While I was unable to find any studies examining the presence of alcohol in human tears, ethanol in the sweat of continuous drinkers has been detected and quantified.

I always figured that Victory Gin is just watered-down random-grain alcohol and that the "saccharine flavoured with cloves, the speciality of the cafe," is turps. Bottoms up! Read the rest

This Amazing Crazy “Tiny” Drink is a Meal for Two @nerdvana

My mother used to make an incredible grilled cheese sandwich. It was neither greasy nor too buttery, but simultaneously buttery and toasty. The bread was pan fried golden brown with a nice crunch on the exterior, and it was evenly cooked all the way around and all the way through. I’ve never seen another one like it until last week, when I happened to be in Frisco, Texas, eating at the one-year old restaurant @nerdvana. I had not ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, nor had anyone at my table. But someone had ordered a drink by the name of Tiny Tina’s TKO, which appears on the brunch menu. The first thing you should know is that Tiny Tina’s TKO costs 20 bucks. If that sounds expensive for a drink, you should also know that it will feed two people. That’s brunch for two, with alcoholic beverage, for $20 (plus tax and tip). That’s about what you’d pay to eat at McD’s, but instead you will find yourself in @nerdvana, which is heaven for nerds, gamers, and folks who just like good food and spirits. The portion in Tiny Tina’s glass is a killer Bloody Mary, while the skewers towering from the glass include two hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, bacon, celery, a big-ass Jalapeño pepper, and an entire grilled cheese sandwich cut into quarters. The only thing I ate was the grilled cheese sandwich, and it was mighty fine. My mama would have been proud. @nerdvana is one year old and owned and run by Kristy Junio-Pitchford. Read the rest

Ireland and England’s ‘best’ teas, reviewed by an American

Barry's is Ireland's finest cheap black tea in a bag. Folks seems awful fond of PG Tips and someone brought me a box. Read the rest

Review: Dasani Sparkling Bread Mold water

As a longtime fan of sparkling, zero-carb flavored water beverages, I thought I'd check out the new offerings from Dasani, whose own unsweetened slim-can drinks come in a range of popular flavors—and a lighter price tag than Perrier and La Croix.

I decided to try Dasani's Sparkling Bread Mold flavor first, and I must say that I'm delighted with the results.

Floral, moldy and yet delicately balanced, it only hints at a full taste of unseen mycobiomes, with crisp fungal notes hitting the nose moreso than the tongue. These mildew whispers gather to a full-throated sporal experience as the flavor settles in.

If at first it seems a slow way to acquire a taste for gulping clumps of algae in polluted lakes, or standing rainwater from brownfield reclamation sites, remember that the key to these fashionable sparkling waters is subtlety, a careful naturalism that's hard to crack without the crutches of sugar or lead-acid battery slime.

Complex notes of penicillin and petrichor are augmented by tertiary aromas of flower petals and basement dust, leading to a satisfying, sustained mildew finish.

All in all, I can't recommend Dasani Sparkling Bread Mold water enough, especially to fans of organic matter that has putrefied then dried out to leave only a vaguely acrid scent of death.

Garnish with an old crouton and enjoy over ice on an oppressively humid day, in a swamp-cooled shed with wet carpet.

Note: Oddly, the cans I tested were subject to a misprint whereby each was stamped "Raspberry Lemonade" instead of "Bread Mold." This had no effect on the flavor whatsoever. Read the rest

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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Kids getting wasted on hand sanitizer (still)

American children are "getting drunk off hand sanitizer like they never have before," reports Vice. Read the rest

I have journeyed to the soul of chocolate and I bring you good tidings

Cold brewed coffee is a revelation of complex, bittersweet, intense flavor. Cold-brewed chocolate? Even better. (Holy. Crap.)

Microscope photographs of alcohol drinks

Smithsonian writes about BevShots, a company that sells microscope photographs of the crystallized form of alcoholic beverages, like tequila, above, and white wine and scotch, seen below. Read the rest

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