Friday, February 13, 2009

What is a Highball, exactly??

Highball is the name for a family of mixed drinks that are composed of an alcoholic base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer. Originally, the most common highball was made with rye whiskey and ginger ale. The Online Etymology Dictionary suggests that the name originated around 1898 and probably derives from ball meaning a "drink of whiskey" and high because it is served in a tall glass. Alternatively, New York barman Patrick Duffy claimed to have invented the highball in 1895, and that the term 'highball' comes from the 19th century railroad practice of raising a ball on a pole to urge a passing train driver to speed up. Duffy used this term to describe his method of quickly mixing a drink by simply adding the ingredients to a tall glass over ice. To enable this speedy process, Duffy used one spirit, one mixer (ginger ale or soda) and either a simple garnish (such as a twist of lemon) or none at all. Another possible explanation comes from the time of drinking. A highball, as opposed to a cocktail which is drunk in the evening before dinner, is drunk in the afternoon when the sun is high (ball referring to the sun) and should be light and refreshing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

5 Great Anti-Hangover Remedies

It's 8:15 and your alarm goes off. You surface from the deepest, and soundest sleep you've had in days only to feel in an instant, the dreaded remnants of last nights debauchery. Yes folks, that 'dread' is the infamous hangover. Almost premeditated, you ponder for a moment whether you should call in sick. Depending on your disdain with your employment coupled with your overall flakiness, you decide (if you are indeed a flake, you are probably out of sick days anyway).

So, you're going to work. But what about that pulsing in your stomach and those "rum" eyes that scare even you when you turn on the bathroom light? Hangovers aren't only just a personal endeavor, but can become public humiliation (don't wear your sunglasses to the office). With that, I have made a list of 10 of Big Mama and Uncle Bubba's top 5 Anti-Hangover remedies. Some might work better than others. And yes, I have tried them all.

Drink Water.
- The logic behind this old school phenom is that bad is "hydrated away" and replaced with the good. We'll get to the good part of this first. The good is that rehydration is very important to countering ethanols effect on the intestinal system and "getting it out of your system". Now on to the bad. If you get hammered, and your stomach is feeling a little heavy on the "low" side, then you're probably already too late. Wikipedia says: Consumption of alcohol affects the body's capability to absorb water - this is often a symptom that accompanies a hangover after a binge drinking session. The alcohol itself is absorbed in the intestines and as the intestinal cells absorb it, the toxicity causes these cells to lose their ability to absorb water. This leads to an outpouring of fluid from the intestinal lining, which is in turn poorly absorbed. Yes dear friends, the 'chunky trunks is in your immediate future. But how do we avoid this in the first place? I use a method that is most popular for averting the effects of dehydration in the first place; it is called Oral Rehydration Therapy, and it works wonders for me if taken right after a few too many drinks. An inexpensive home-made solution consists of 8 level teaspoons of table sugar (sucrose) and 1 level teaspoon of table salt mixed in 1 liter of boiled water. Keep in mind that I am no expert and I don't know what the long term effects of this are, but I know it works for my hangovers.

Eat lots of food
- This is the most popular method I have heard. Food intake is supposed to "sop up" all of the junk in your system and shorten your hangover. This is true to a point. All the alcohol that has not been digested, and is still lingering in your stomach will get "sopped up", however this does nothing for the alcohol that has already been digested. I would suggest this for beer and wine drinkers because of the low alcohol content However, for those gin, vodka, rum and absinthe hounds looking beleaguringly into their shot glass, this is pointless. Those Wild Turkey and Bacardi hits have already been digested by the time you hailed that cab (dude, you did get a cab right?).

- This was my all time personal favorite. Milk contains an amino acid called Cysteine. Cysteine has been proposed as a preventative or antidote for some of the negative effects of alcohol, including liver damage and hangover. After a long night of philandering the populace I would usually down a glass of mother natures nipple juice. I have got to say that it not only works for hangovers, but I feel almost instantly void of any intoxication. However, over time irony started to work its course. My stomach can no longer taste the sweet nectar of the "moo dew" any longer. It seems that milk alone, gives me a hangover of sorts, the likes of which will never be written about by this author.

Take anti-hangover pills.
- The traditional method was to take Advil, Tylenol, Laxatives, etc. However, this is not a good idea. Alcohol combined with aspirin can damage your stomach so much that they named it: Gastric Mucosal Hemorrhage. I don't know what this is, but "hemorrhage" sounds familiar. What I have tried that works is Chaser which is sold at most GNC stores. You will feel normal the next morning, however if you drink to excess you may still have an upset stomach. Just a side note from a friend of mine who was embarrassed at a pharmacy the next morning, Chaser is not to be confused with the Morning After pill. Bad times bro, bad times. The only problem with Chaser is that you must take 2 pills with your first drink, 2 more every 4-6 drinks or ever 2-3 hours. Now I'm not that smart but after I've had about 6 beers, I'm not going to remember what pocket I left the pills in, let alone how many I should take.

Sodium Bicarbonate
- To the chemist reader, I salute you. Yes, baking soda suspended in a glass of water when consumed deals very effectively with the nausea, and indirectly with 'the shakes' associated with a hangover. I recommend that you do this before you go to bed, if possible.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Little Bar - Korean Liquor

On an outing a few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were looking for a hole in the wall "Diamond in the Rough" that we could visit for a casual drink. I remembered having seen what looked to be a very tidy yet festive dive in West L.A. that I had never had time to patronize. So, after my mention of the locale, off we were.

Little Bar, as it is named sits a block south of La brea and Wilshire and is a rarity in that they provide a wide array of [Korean]Soju* based beverages. What makes Little Bar somewhat unusual is that the Korean theme is not carried over into the atmosphere at all. If anything the atmosphere echoes that of an Irish pub, where a dartboard and an Irish flag hang in defiance of a centralized theme. I believe that this lack of a glorified niche is what brings in such a diverse array of people into this "little pub that could".

If you happen to drop by the Little Bar, be sure to try the Scorpion Bowl for Two; which consists of Soju, Agave, Triple Sec, Coral Reef, Pineapple and Orange Juices, with a hint of Grenadine. The prices are reasonable and the staff is excellent. Cheers!

Little Bar
757 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 937-9210

*Soju is a liquor native to Korea whose taste is comparable to that of Vodka.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Popularity of the Word "Cocktail" throughout the year.

Posts that contain Cocktail per day for the last 120 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Notice the Spike around Christmas, and New Years Day. Cheers!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Absinthe: The revival of "Cool"

Absinthe is a distilled, highly alcoholic (45%-75% ABV), anise-flavored spirit derived from herbs, including the flowers and leaves of the medicinal plant Artemisia absinthium, also called “wormwood.” Absinthe is typically of a natural green color but is also produced in both clear and artificially colored styles. It is often called “the Green Fairy.”

Numerous artists and writers living in France during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were noted absinthe drinkers and featured absinthe in their works. These include Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Amedeo Modigliani, Arthur Rimbaud, Guy de Maupassant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Verlaine. Later authors and artists would draw from this cultural well including Pablo Picasso, August Strindberg, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway. Aleister Crowley was also noted for his habitual Absinthe use.(Source: Wikipedia)

The Mystique and illicit qualities of Absinthe from theater, movies and television, often applying dramatic license to depict the drink as everything from aphrodisiac to poison.

This drink is VERY rare in the United States, and is mainly consumed in elite social circles. It is becoming popular again in Europe and the United States will most likely catch up with this re-popularity of this historical drink.

Here is one of the most popular Absinthe brands in the U.S. and England:

Absinthe - Sure to light a fire under your ass.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Popular 20th Century Wines: The Moonwalk

**Ask for this drink at a party or club, and either the bartender will be impressed or confused. Definitely a piece of history and a conversation starter.

Name: Moonwalk

Type: Cocktail
Served: "Straight up"; without ice
Standard drinkware: Cocktail glass
Commonly used ingredients:

* 1 part fresh Grapefruit Juice
* 1 part Grand Marnier
* 2 dashes Rosewater

Preparation: Shake well, strain into wine glass and top up with champagne.

Created in 1969 to mark the first moon landing. The cocktail was the first drink the American astronauts had when they returned to Earth[citation needed]. A letter of thanks was later sent from Neil Armstrong to Joe Gilmore.

Background of Liqueour Proofing

Alcohol is produced by yeast during the process of fermentation. The amount of alcohol in the finished liquid depends on how much sugar there was at the beginning for the yeast to convert into alcohol. In beer, the alcohol is generally 3% to 12% (6 to 24 US proof) and usually about 4% to 6% (8 to 12 US proof). Depending on the strain of yeast, wines top out at about 14% to 16% (28 to 32 US proof), because that is the point in the fermentation process where the alcohol concentration denatures the yeast. Since the 1990s, a few alcohol-tolerant 'superyeast' strains have become commercially available, which can ferment up to 20%. [3]

Fortified wines, such as sweet and dry vermouths become fortified by adding alcohol. These added alcohols are typically distilled wines such as brandy, port, sherry, marsala, and madeira. This second source of alcohol is added before the wines are finished fermenting, as the added alcohol kills the yeast in fermenting wine, leaving an abundance of sugar.

Stronger liquors are distilled after fermentation is complete to increase their alcohol content. This way, the alcohol content can be raised up to a maximum of 95.6% (191 US proof), the concentration of the water/alcohol azeotrope. When 100% ethanol (absolute alcohol) is required for scientific, commercial, or industrial purposes, other methods must be used. 100% ethanol is hygroscopic, and if it is left open, it will absorb water out of the air, reducing the concentration.

8 Popular Vodka Cocktails

Name Ingredients Preparation Garnish Glass
Black Russian 1oz Vodka Stir well with ice None Rock
  .25oz Kahlua      

Bloody Mary 1.25oz Vodka Pour over ice adding Lemon & Celery Stick Rock
  Tomato Juice sauce last    
  Worcestershire sauce      

Bull Shot 1.25oz Vodka Pour over ice adding Lemon Rock
  Beef Bouillon salt & pepper and sauce    
  Worcestershire sauce      

Harvey Wallbanger 1oz Vodka Pour vodka and orange Cherry & Orange Collins
  .25oz Galliano over ice and add Galliano    
  3oz Orange Juice      

In The Pink 1.25oz Vodka Shake with ice and strain Cherry & Orange Brandy Balloon
  3oz Cranberry Juice into glass, add soda    
  1oz Lemon Juice      
  .5oz Syrup      
  Soda Water      

Long Island .25oz Vodka Pour over ice and add coke Lemon Slice & aspirin Collins
  .25oz Gin      
  .25oz White Rum      
  .25oz Tequila      
  .25oz Triple Sec      
  .5oz Lemon Juice      

Martini 1.25oz Vodka Stir with ice and strain into Olive Cocktail
  Dash of Dry Vermouth glass, add twist of lemon    

Moscow Mule 1.25oz Vodka Pour over ice & stir Lemon slice Rock
  Dash of lime      
  Ginger Beer      

Screw Driver 1.25oz Vodka Pour over ice & stir Cherry & Orange Rock
  Orange Juice      

White Russian 1oz Vodka Stir with ice None Rock
  .25oz Kahlua      
  .25oz Cream      

White Spider 1oz Vodka Stir with ice None Rock
  .25oz White Crème de Menthe