Friday, January 31, 2014


It’s true that moderate drinking can offer substantial health benefits, the most striking of which is a finding by Harvard’s School of Public Health that alcohol can protect against heart disease

But giving undue attention to the benefits masks alcohol’s pitfalls.
The Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Dietary Guidelines identify “moderate” alcohol intake as one drink a day for women and two for men, with “one drink” being:
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1 1/2 ounces (roughly a shot) of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor

(MOREHow Not to Drink So Much)

And when they say “per day” they mean it — you can’t have seven drinks on a Tuesday and call it moderate intake. Also, the rules change when you hit 65: “Moderate” intake after that age is one drink per day for everybody. (Sorry.)
Most importantly, remember that everyone has individualized benefits, risks, genes, behaviors and backgrounds that can influence how alcohol affects them, and you should talk to your doctor about yours. Actually, he or she may start the conversation for you: The CDC in early January began urging physicians to become more aggressive about talking to their patients about drinking. (The Affordable Care Act requires new plans to cover alcohol screening and brief counseling without a co-pay.) 

Below are four benefits of drinking alcohol and five negative effects.

4 Benefits of Drinking Alcohol

Here are four benefits of drinking alcohol:

1. It protects your heart. More than 100 studies have confirmed that alcohol — again, in moderation — can decrease risk of death by cardiovascular causes by a startling 25 to 40 percent. Andrea Paul, chief medical officer of, says that’s because alcohol raises a person’s HDL, or “good” cholesterol. (The Mayo Clinic agrees, as does Harvard.) That slashes the risk of heart attacks, ischemic strokes and death from all cardiovascular causes. 
2. It cuts down on other health risks. Paul says moderate consumption has been linked to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and gallstones. A study from Loyola University in Chicago indicates that it could reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment as well. (Interestingly, Wright says these benefits originate from all forms of alcohol; there’s no added benefit from red wine, for example, over other kinds of drinks. “Some suggest that the benefit from red wine comes from resveratrol,” he says, “The real contributing factor is the alcohol.”)

(MORE: How to Drink More Wine - Smartly and Healthfully)
3. It could offer benefits for breast cancer survivors. Drinking is widely recognized as a breast cancer risk; a study of more than 320,000 women found that those who drank more than moderately increased their chances of developing the cancer by up to 41 percent. But a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in April suggests that moderate drinking may improve chances of surviving the disease, in part because of those cardiovascular benefits.

“Women consuming moderate levels of alcohol, either before or after diagnosis, experienced better cardiovascular and overall survival than nondrinkers,” wrote Polly A. Newcomb, Ph.D., head of the Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the study’s principal investigator. But more research needs to be done to confirm the findings.
4. It might make you live longer. A study released in December suggested that people who drink regularly live longer lives than those who don’t. The report, which appeared in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, connected moderate drinking with the lowest mortality rate. By percentage, 69 percent of nondrinkers died prematurely, but only 41 percent of moderate drinkers did. (Heavy drinkers had a surprising 60 percent mortality rate.)


Thursday, January 30, 2014


Absinthe dates back to the end of the 18th century. 
It’s a base spirit of its own, in the company of other less controversial cousins like gin, vodka, whiskey, rum, brandy and tequila. 
The base is neutral (flavorless but for the burn) alcohol, with the addition of any number of other vegetation: fennel, coriander, lemon balm, hyssop, a million others, and most importantly anise and wormwood.
Wormwood root is where both the identity and the controversy stems from. 
Even the name “absinthe” is the result of a game of telephone from the ancient Greeks to Latin Rome to the Gauls meaning, well, wormwood. 
It’s not easy to describe other than to say it has a bit of a minty, floral taste that softens up the heavy black liquorice flavor of the anise. 
Like all things sexy though, wormwood brings some baggage along with its charms. 
Consumed in massive quantities, a chemical in it called thujone can cause epileptic seizures. 
Supposedly, this is also the vehicle for any hallucinations or eventual madness.


The Harvey Wallbanger has an extremely funny name, and that should be a feat in its own right considering the ridiculous names given to some drinks. 

This cocktail is in essence a screwdriver—a combination of vodka and orange juice—with Galliano, a yellow liqueur, added to the mix. 

The drink was probably invented in the 50s by a world-champion mixologist by the name of Donato Antone. 

However, according to the legends it has a much different origin. 

The stories say there was a dude named Harvey who liked to surf and he would drop into the bar for a couple of quick ones after work pretty much every day. 

Apparently the guy liked to add Galliano to his screwdriver and would sometimes stumble around the bar smashing into things, especially the wall. The legends say that the drink thereafter became known as a Harvey Wallbanger, quite literally because of Harvey’s drunken antics. 

It has become associated with the summer months, presumably because of the surfing connection.


Go too hard the night before? 

It’s okay. We have all been there the morning after when your head hurts, your stomach is in knots, and you are the conductor of the Rachet-Struggle Express. 

This, my friends, is alcohol purgatory. 

The feeling also known as The Hangover.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Every gentleman who ever contemplates entertaining a lady at his home must have a cocktail shaker. 
A cool silver or aluminum cocktail shaker can be an objet d’art as well as at tool in mixing and serving today’s (and yesterday’s) popular cocktails. Just the fact that you own one makes you chic and urbane.
The point of this metal cylinder is to make drinks ice cold without watering them down with lots of it. For example, a gin or vodka martini straight up, where tiny shards of ice dance on the liquid’s surface. 
Your cocktail shaker need not be sterling silver from Tiffany although they make a fine one, Restoration Hardware makes a serviceable cocktail shaker as does Urban Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma, and Oggi. 
You can also cruise flea markets and antique stores. In the 1930′s, anyone of any sophisticated status owned a cocktail shaker. Distinctive ones are easy to find.


According to the market survey commissioned by Vinexpo, the international wine and spirits exhibition, whose Asian show is to be held from May 27 to 29 this year in Hong Kong, China has become the world’s largest red wine consuming nation ahead of France and Italy.


It’s rare indeed that a modern day Master Distiller can look back over 200 years and offer gratitude to his descendents so instrumental in the birth, evolution and successes of the US Bourbon and Whiskey industry. 

Yet that’s exactly the case for Fred Noe, Master Distiller for Jim Beam and seventh generation Master Distiller for the Beam line of Bourbons and other whiskies that include hallowed names such as Jim Beam, Red Stag and small batch bourbons such as Booker’s & Maker’s Mark.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Not only are we not trumping the world’s other superpowers in the caffeine department, we are also drinking inferior booze. 

We are, apparently, one vodka-drinking nation, according to Yahoo Food.


Mixing cocktail drinks is relatively simple — just pour ingredients together, stir, and then sip. 
However, there are vital details that can’t be overlooked for a cocktail drink to taste like something you would enjoy. 
They are not difficult but they’re crucial.
If you are making the common mistake of forgetting important details, you are missing on on what can be a great drink. 
Do not waste another cocktail, read about the common mistakes when mixing cocktails and you’d be able to enjoy better drinks.
1. Not Observing Proper Proportions
Do not think that stronger is better. Cocktail drinks are not supposed to be strong. So, make sure you observe proper proportions to make a well-balanced drink.
2. Skimping On Ice
Remember that ice is crucial when mixing cocktails. It does not only cool the drink down to a nice temperature, but also dilutes the drink to proper ratio.
3. Treating All Ingredients Equal
With regards to muddling, not all ingredients are the same. It’s best to muddle harder ingredients like citrus a bit more vigorously than delicate ingredients such as fresh herbs.
4. Forgetting The Garnish
Garnish is not merely about aesthetics. It also adds a certain finishing flavour profile to the cocktail. Before you put a garnish of fresh herbs on your cocktail, rub them between your palms to release oils. If you’re using citrus peel, squeeze it together over the cocktail, skin side down, before you add it to the rim of the glass.
5. Ruining A Cocktail With Bad Ice
Yes, there is such thing as bad ice! If ice has been in the freezer for too long, it can start to take on the tastes and smells of the freezer. These can make their way into the cocktail’s flavour, spoiling it. Use fresh ice in order to have better cocktails.


Making your own liquor can be dangerous (not to mention illegal).
But we're in something of a craft distilling renaissance these days, and people really want to make their own booze.
For gin enthusiasts, now you can.
We sampled the HomeMade Gin Kit, which provides juniper berries, botanicals, and the necessary flasks and funnels to make it all possible.
All you need is 36 hours and a bottle of vodka (not included).


THE new landlord of a Henley pub is to introduce a Saturday “recovery club”. 

Rob Hooton has taken over the Bell in Bell Street following the retirement of long-serving landlord Bill Dobson. 

Among his ideas is a Saturday lunchtime offer to those who might need to recover from the night before of egg and bacon rolls and tea of coffee — accompanied by soft music in the background. 

Monday, January 27, 2014


This year, bartenders are stirring (and shaking) new life into long-forgotten and misunderstood drinks like Cosmos, White Russians, and other drinks your mom and pop drank in the '70s and '80s.


If you prefer your cocktails as on-trend as your closet, you should probably drizzle some olive oil into your cup. 

Bars across the country are proving that alcohol and oil do mix quite well by embracing the unexpected ingredient and promptly tossing it back. 


Chicago's Maxwell Street Trading announced today that the World King of Moonshine, SIP Award winning LBL "1950's Style" & Best Flavored whisky winner LBL Apple Sin Moonshine is now available throughout Illinois. 
The LBL Moonshine legend has returned courtesy of Spencer Balentine, a great-grandson of recipe founder Cilous Higgins who partnered with Joe Bogard of the now lost to government condemnation city of Golden Pond Kentucky. 
The dirt air strip where Capone's buyers flew into Golden Pond is still visible but little else remains on this 180,000 acre island now known as LBL National Recreation area.


The art of the cocktail is altogether a precise science and matter of taste – ranging from the indulgently complex to satisfyingly simple. 
At its most basic, a cocktail is no more than three ingredients. 
Some would argue it’s two, but don’t listen to those heretics. 
Leave them to their spirit and mixers and explore the world that waits with ingredient number three.
Many classic cocktails do indeed only have three ingredients. 
Typically this includes a base spirit, an aperitif or citrus to modify, and a flavouring – which usually takes the form of a liqueur. 
Classic cocktails have become classics because each ingredient is allowed to “sing” and the flavors interact with each other famously. 
As such, it’s not surprising that with every additional ingredient you add – the more risk you run of the drink becoming confusing to the palate. 
With upwards of six ingredients you will find it near impossible to distinguish individual flavours – often forcing them to compete with one another in an unfavourable fashion. In many cases, the cocktail risks losing balance.


Sunday, January 26, 2014


We're sure we've already told you this, but sometimes drinking a drink after work with each other is our greatest joy. 
There's something about camaraderie around a well-balanced cocktail that makes a hard day's work feel even more worth it. 

If you agree, there is probably a liquor you gravitate toward on any cocktail list you meet. 
What you choose says a lot about you.
Do you always skip straight to the vodka section? Bourbon
Just toss out the whole list and ask for a Scotch? 
Whatever you do, you should know what your favorite liquor says about you.


You are just as hard to pin down as actual vodka. Choosing the neutrally-flavored spirit as your favorite could say a few different things about you: 

1) You are new to drinking and don't like the flavor of alcohol that much.
2) You are a little too familiar with drinking and don't need to taste it anyway.
3) You are a Russian or Ukrainian grandparent and you are at brunch.


You recognize the value of hard work, and hold the reward for that hard work in high regard. 

When you love, you love all the way, but when you don't, you make it quite clear. 

Your friends looks forward to your arrival at the party, but understand when you can't make it. You know, because you've been working so hard.


You believe that in order to be truly creative, you have to learn the classics. 

You fold easily into most social situations, and can always find some interest in common to discuss with most people. 


Let's all agree on one great paradox of human behavior: if someone tells you that tequila is their favorite liquor, you suspect that they are emotionally unstable. 

If, however, someone tells you that their favorite cocktail is a margarita, you just expect that they like to kick back and relax.  

You are a beautiful paradox, tequila lover, never change (except when you are throwing up on our bathroom floor, then please change).


You have always read every book. 

Friends turn to you for advice time and time again. 

You prefer winter to summer and fireplaces to swimming pools. 

In times of great stress you hunker down and work through it, knowing there is a celebration on the other end. 


You own at least one piece of velvet clothing, and can name some of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's most prominent influencers. 

You will ABSOLUTELY chastise anyone who tries to light your sugar cube on fire.

 Your favorite season is whenever it rains the most.



You march to the beat of a different drummer. 

You prefer flip flops to boots, fresh fruit to pastries and are always down for a dance party. 

Your friends know it will be a different kind of party when you arrive.


4. Hangover—Make yourself a cup of coffee and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. While drinking that eat two bananas and let the peels soak in a glass of water. Once you finish the cup of coffee wait a little bit to digest then drink the glass of water.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Black Devil Martini

There is no fun party or celebration without a lot of colorful, alcoholic cocktails. 

This mixed drink is typically made with a distilled beverage, such as gin, vodka, whiskey, tequila, or rum which are mixed with other, non-alcoholic ingredients. 

There thousands of different kinds of cocktails around the globe and sometimes when you’re hosting a party on your own, it can be really hard to choose few cocktails that are perfect to serve. 

That’s why we’ve made this collection of Top 10 Best Cocktails! Make some of these great ideas and you’ll make your guests keep coming back for more!


Scotland is known for its whisky: but London is better known for its gin. 
In the spirit of further investigation, we set off with Shake Rattle and Stir on its fantastic Gin Journey, under the guiding hand of animated and informative guide and founder Leon Dalloway.
The night would draw us into the fascinating history of this juniper-flavoured tipple, the fruits of independent gin distilleries and a collection of the city’s most atmospheric bars.



 Bourbon, both the whiskey and the county in Kentucky, owes its very name to New Orleans. 

We were such a great market for their product, and so much of the product was consumed on Bourbon Street, that the name of the product took on the name of the spot where sales were higher than anywhere else.


Being hungover is anathema to weekend excellence. 
You wake up with a mouth like the Sahara desert, drool on the pillow, and a headache that feels like a drill to the brain. 
Luckily, one of the most tried and true methods of combating the effects of a hangover is to dust yourself off and start drinking again. 
Since the 1800s, bartenders have been hard at work creating cocktails meant to ease the ache in your head and kick your ass back into gear.
Hair-of-the-dog cocktails usually contain several ingredients to get you back in fighting shape. 
Eggs are the most popular because they contain the protein your struggling body needs. 
The white goes into any "fizz" cocktail, while the yolk can be seasoned with salt and pepper to be swallowed whole. 
Many drinks contain fruit and vegetable juices, which inject you with vitamins and help to alleviate headaches caused by dehydration. 
Additionally, liquors like Fernet Branca have medicinal qualities that, even if they've been debunked, at least deliver bracing flavor that will help open up your bleary eyes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Adding new meaning to a “fresh start” in 2014, SMIRNOFF® Vodka aims to provide a light option for those who are looking to maintain New Year’s resolutions by announcing the newest addition to the reduced-calorie Sorbet Light line: Pineapple Coconut. Creating delicious cocktails without all the guilt, SMIRNOFF SORBET® Light Pineapple Coconut is infused with the all-natural flavoring of fresh juicy pineapple combined with the luscious, sweet taste of coconut. At only 78 calories per 1.5 oz. serving, those of legal drinking age can treat themselves to delicious cocktails, responsibly, without having to worry about the extra calories.

Nobody in their right mind drinks crap like this.


Burns night is, for the uninitiated, an often-rowdy night of Scotch-drinking, haggis-eating, kilt-wearing and bagpipe-wielding that happens every year on (or around) January 25 in honor of Scottish poet Robert Burns. 

Festivities generally involve a reading of one of Burns' most famous pieces, ideally recited in a Highland brogue and enjoyed along with plenty of whiskey. 

Want to celebrate like the Scots? 

Try mixing up one of these Scotch-soaked cocktails.