Showing posts with label Spirits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spirits. Show all posts

Nov 27, 2015

Alcohol and Calories

Good news for the holidays, a five-ounce glass of red, white, or rosé has about 100 calories per glass. Many believe wine is high in sugar because it is made from grapes, but because the fermentation process in wine-making converts sugars into alcohol. Only sweet or dessert wines are high in sugar. Wine is considered a heart healthy drink, especially red wine, which contains resveratrol, the antioxidant compound linked to heart health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends 1-2 four-ounce servings of wine per day.

Hard liquor is higher in calories per-ounce than wine, but not by much since after distillation, spirits such as vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum have nothing left but the alcohol. They contain zero carbs, which makes them a diet-friendly option, plus, the standard 1.5 ounce serving of spirits has 105 calories.

The average 12-ounce serving of beer contains 150 calories and 13g carbs, higher than wine and spirits. Choosing light versions of beer will save about 50 calories per serving and cut carbs in half. Lager and wheat beers are generally lower in both calories and carbs per serving compared to heavier beers such as ales, stouts, and porters. Beers differ in color, flavor, and consistency, and the good news all offer some nutritional value. The brewer’s yeast used to ferment beer contains B vitamins that benefit the nervous system health and reduce homocysteine, a chemical that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Bottoms up!

Aug 15, 2015

Four Rum Myths Dispelled

Rum is not always sweet, all rum is made from sugar. No, that does not mean it is sweet. Yeast converts sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide before it goes into the still. A white rum can be as dry as any liquor. And aging in oak adds tannins and other wood flavorings that can produce dark rum as flavorful as Scotch.

Rum is not only best mixed with fruit juices. Rum has traditionally been a cheap spirit, and so was often mixed with cheap juices for frat parties. A good rum holds its own in classic cocktails like a rum Manhattan or a rum Old Fashioned. The finest aged rums are best appreciated neat.

Rum is not just a Caribbean/West Indian spirit. Rum’s commercial birthplace may have been the sugar cane fields of the islands and the tropics, but prior to the American Revolution, dozens of rum distilleries existed in New England. Today, rum is a North American product, with craft distillers making distinctive rums from Boston to Hawaii.

Pirates did not always drink rum. Pirates drank whatever they could plunder, and in the early days, that was chiefly Spanish wine. Contemporary accounts of the dreaded Captain Morgan do not even mention rum. It was not until the late 17th and early 18th centuries that pirates started to drink rum, concurrent with the rise of the West Indian rum trade.

Jan 2, 2015

Holiday Boozing

Many equate the holidays with drinking, so I looked up some of the common terms we use, beginning with 'crapulous' (a substitute for hangover), from the 18th century Greek kraipale (drunken headache or nausea). I love that word.

Booze
first appeared in Middle Dutch as bûsen, which meant 'to drink to excess.' There was also the Old High German word bausen, which meant 'to bulge or billow.'" It took 200 years for English speakers to start using it as both a verb (to booze) and a noun (give me some booze). It is a common misconception that the word was borrowed from a brand of whiskey sold by E.S. Booz in the 1800s, but the word much older. The 1529 Oxford dictionary defined it as “affected by drinking.”


Hooch comes from Alaska. There was a native tribe there called the Hoochinoo that distilled rum made primarily from molasses and introduced it to soldiers from the lower 48.

Alcohol began as an Arabic word describing a fine metallic powder used as eye shadow (al-kuhul). The word was broadened to mean 'the pure spirit of anything'. Later it was expanded to include a distilled spirit or liquor. Alcoholic meaning 'caused by drunkenness' is attested by the 1800s and meaning 'habitually drunk' by 1910.

Liquor dates back to at least 1200, likur "any matter in a liquid state," and the Latin verb liquere, meaning "to be fluid", from Latin liquorem. The definition including a fermented or distilled drink followed about a hundred years later. In North America, the term hard liquor is used to distinguish distilled beverages from undistilled ones and does not include beverages such as beer, wine, and cider, which are fermented, but not distilled.

Spirits refers to a distilled beverage that contains no added sugar and has at least 20% alcohol by volume. It probably originated with ancient alchemists, who referred to the vapor given off and collected during an alchemical process (like the distillation of alcohol) as the 'spirit' of the original material. Early European Monks believed that the spirit was removed from the mash during the distilling process.

Cocktail refers to any beverage that contains two or more ingredients with at least one of them being alcohol. When a cocktail contains only a distilled spirit and a mixer, it is a highball. The Oxford English dictionary cites the word as originating in the US. The first recorded use of the word cocktail as a beverage was during the early 1800s. Of the many origins, two stand out: an old French recipe for mixed wines, called a coquetel, brought to America by General Lafayette’s soldiers in 1777; and New Orleans brandy drink in an egg-cup called a coquetier in French. The latter was a morning drink served at the time the tail of the evening met with the morning cock-a-doodle-do of a rooster.


Bar is an abbreviation of barrier, the counter that separates drinks from the drinkers. Toward the end of the 16th century it expanded to mean the building that housed the barrier. Barmaid didn’t appear in print until the mid 1700s and bartender arrived about fifty years later and barfly came about during the early 1900s. Bottom line, beer, wine, cider, hooch, and alcohol are booze, but only hooch, and alcohol are liquors. Spirits are alcohol and both are liquor. All highballs are cocktails, but not all cocktails are highballs.