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The Beginner's Guide to Mescal

The Beginner's Guide to Mescal

Drinkers all across the country are finally figuring out what discerning bartenders in New York, LA and Chicago have known for years. No longer just tequila's smoky cousin, mescal (or mezcal) has recently started popping up in award-winning cocktails, gaining new fans among drinkers who have come to appreciate its earthy nuances.

What it is (and isn't!)

Both tequila and mescal are distilled from the agave plant (also called maguey in certain parts of Mexico). One significant difference between the two is that whereas tequila can legally be made from one species of agave, mescal producers have historically experimented with a wider selection of plants.

Traditional mescal production involves harvesting the hearts of the agave plant — known as a piña for its resemblance to a pineapple — and smoking them in underground pits. The hearts are then unearthed and mashed, usually on a stone pulled by a donkey, and distilled into clear liquor.

Unlike other liquors, un-aged mescal (mescal joven or mescal blanco) is favored by connoisseurs as a purer representation of the spirit. Aged mescal does exist, however, and is sold in reposado (aged up to one year) and añejo (aged more than one year) varieties, much like tequila.

Hold the worm, please

The sheer variety of mescal has led to a serious cult of appreciation stateside. Rather than simply pound back a shot, take the time to experience the nuances of its many different varieties, from the widely available espadin, made from the species of agave of the same name, to the elusive wild tobala varieties, produced in limited quantities once a year.

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TV Stars and Their Favorite Drinks

TV Stars and Their Favorite Drinks

TV characters have long been associated with spirits and other alcoholic drinks. Whether it "Cheers'" Norm Peterson and his beer-on-tap, or Don Draper’s passion for a good Old Fashioned, TV characters have never been shy about their alcohol consumption. In fact, many such TV characters, especially those depicted during decades when alcohol consumption was much more free-flowing, are tied to their favorite drinks. This is not to say, however, that more modern TV characters, such as Lucille Bluth, have not enjoyed a good cocktail. Drink like your favorite TV stars with these four recipes.

Don Draper

"Mad Men" protagonist, Don Draper, is one of the most notable TV stars in recent memory to be associated with one particular drink. Perched in his panoramic office above the busy city streets in his Manhattan high-rise, Don Draper is not timid about mixing a good Old Fashioned at the end, or even during the middle of the workday. Whether you are looking for a little creative inspiration or just want a drink with a little more bite, Draper's Old Fashioned might whet your pallet. According to the "Mad Men" website, Draper's favorite cocktail includes dissolved sugar into a glass along with bitters, followed by bourbon and topped off with a cherry and citrus garnish.

Lucille Bluth

With her snobbish wit in one hand and a martini in the other, "Arrested Development" mother Lucille Bluth is the poster child for the mantra "It's always five o'clock somewhere." While some may find her obnoxious, others find her hysterically funny (she's both), and she's never far from her next martini. This James Bond favorite requires few ingredients. Simply add either vodka or gin in a shaker with vermouth, shake and enjoy with an olive or two.

Norm Peterson

Hunched over at the "Cheers" bar with Sam Malone as the show's other colorful characters banter back and forth, Norm simply would not be as lovable without a fresh, cold beer always spotted in front of him. Perhaps the best part about Norm's love of beer is that throughout the show, it was never out of a can or bottle. Instead, a frothy lager of his choice was always waiting for him in a tall mug, which became his signature on the show. Now, everybody knows his name even outside of "Cheers."

Nucky Thompson

Similar to "Mad Men," HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" is host to a strong presence of alcohol. After all, what would a show about bootlegging and prohibition be without a few drinks? More specifically, the show's main character, Nucky Thompson, is often seen with a sidecar in-hand. In case you have yet to catch a glimpse of Nucky sipping on a sidecar, you can do so on HBO through GetDirectTV.org. And if you would like to make a Sidecar of your own first, start with equal parts Cointreau and lemon juice, then simply add two parts cognac.

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4 Ways Technology Is Helping Prevent Drunk Driving

4 Ways Technology Is Helping Prevent Drunk Driving

Several technological solutions have been developed to prevent drunk driving over the past several years. Relatively new, these technologies have been primarily implemented as a preventative measure, as well as serve as a deterrent for habitual drunk drivers. To decrease the number of deaths related to drunk driving, traffic laws are changed and created to include the use of advanced technology. In helping prevent drunk driving, there are four ways technology has been able to improve the safety of our roads.

Breathalyzer

Law enforcers are equipped with alcohol detection devices to test drivers who they suspect may be intoxicated. Multiple preventive measures against drunk driving such as Breathalyzer machines are commonly used by officers to measure alcohol intoxication from a breath sample and catch drunk drivers in the act. These devices give a reading of the blood alcohol content level to determine if a suspected driver is intoxicated beyond the allowable limit. Any driver at any time can be required to take a Breathalyzer test and subjected to other tests as well.

Sensors

Passive sensors and alcohol sensing flashlights are small electronic devices, capable of detecting alcohol in the air inside a vehicle. They also provide readout of the blood alcohol content level. These devices do not require the driver’s consent and because they are not as reliable as other technology, will often give an officer cause to use a secondary device like the Breathalyzer.

Ignition Interlock

Another common alcohol detection device is ignition interlock technology, which is a machine that is connected to the vehicle’s engine to check blood alcohol content level by requiring the driver to blow into the device before the vehicle will start. The device also requires frequent blow tests while driving as a preventative measure to ensure sobriety. Usually installed in a repeat offender’s car, this technology has gone through many modifications over the years to include computerized reporting, automatic engine shut off, and light signaling.

Ignition interlock devices are considered very effective once installed and the new upgraded ignition interlock devices are now able to detect if someone other than the offender is blowing into the device, and will not allow the vehicle to start. They have also gained the attention of automobile manufactures who are developing plans to add pre-installed technology that would detect blood alcohol content by use of a touch based system or an advanced breath analysis to prevent alcohol-impaired drivers from operating their vehicles.

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France Needs to do More to Protect its Wine Culture

France Needs to do More to Protect its Wine Culture

As the French government is being urged to ban all online promotion of alcohol, attention is being drawn to the wine-making capital and the confused relationship with its leading product.

France already has strict laws governing the sale and advertising of alcohol, last week though , a report suggested that it should be removed from social media sites. The report’s author, Professor Michel Reynaud, believes that social media glamorises alcohol in the eyes of young people.

This be difficult to enforce though, firstly the scale of the operation would be huge, the report wants to go so far as to ban blog mentions. Secondly, it has stirred a strong sense of defiance, angry winemakers have staged protests across the country.

France has become a European leader in forcing its population to get back on the wagon. The Loi Evin law, named after health secretary Claude Evin, was initiated in the early nineties and has since seen alcohol removed from cinema and TV,  as well as place harsh restrictions on bars, restaurants and tobacco companies.

Why is there a need for these server measures though? When the UK introduced 24 hour licencing, the appeared intention was to encourage a continental style café culture. Lighter regulation aimed to promoted responsible drinking, but based on France, surely the opposite is true?

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Finding the Perfect Style of Beer for Your Taste Buds

Finding the Perfect Style of Beer for Your Taste Buds

When it comes to beer, there are more options than there are for nearly any other beverage in the world. This is due to several reasons, mainly because beer is a traditional beverage in many cultures, offering a surprising amount of health benefits (like probiotic cultures, immunity support, stress relief, and blood pressure regulation) as long as you don’t over-indulge. Cultures from around the world have come up with many styles of beer. To find your perfect beer, it is helpful to know what the options are.

Ale:  Ale is one of the most common forms of beer. It is made from malted barley using a warm fermentation process. This gives the beer a sweet, full, fruity taste. Ales can also contain hops that give the beer a bitter flavor. Different brands of ale will have different concentrations of hops, wheat, and barley.

Lager: Lager is a low-temperature fermented beer. It is one of the most common types of beer in the entire world. Pilsner, Bock, and Marzen are larger beers. Usually lager is sold as a pale beer, but it can also be darker. It has a rich, fruity taste that is light and refreshing.

Malt liquor: A malt liquor is a beer with a high alcohol content. Typically, a malt liquor contains 5 percent or higher alcohol concentration. The beer must also contain malted barley and is often made in the style of a lager and fermented at a low temperature.

Porter: The porter beer is dark, full of hops, barley, and contains a dark brown malt. Usually, a porter contains about 7 or 8 percent alcohol. The strongest form of porter beer is sometimes called a “stout beer.”

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11 Reasons To Go For A Drink

11 Reasons To Go For A Drink

It’s a Friday night. It’s Saturday. It’s mid-week. What sort of excuse do you have to go for a drink? We all know how drinking has become a great way to catch up with old friends and meet new people. Sometimes, it simply is just the only way to unwind. So don’t feel guilty when you get an urge to drink, just do it in moderation and you won’t have to worry about intoxication or worse, humiliation. Here are some reasons to justify to yourself why a shot or two is just what you need at the moment.  

Career Advancement

Pop the bottle! Bring out the best wine from the cellar! Drinking has always been a form of celebration. We even see it in period movies! A new job, a promotion, an approved project, or even the resignation of a horrible boss can be a call for celebration. After all, having a drink in hand is such an appropriate time to say “Cheers!” and let the good times roll. 

Career Downfall

You just lost your job. What a bummer. Release the angst, the frustration and go take a sip of your favorite hard liquor. Ask your best buddy to accompany you. He or she may not be capable of hiring you for your next job but a true friend knows exactly how to boost that self-esteem to get you on your feet and go job hunting in no time!

Work-Related Stress

It’s finally the end of a busy week! Whether you screwed up or nailed it, a nice drink with colleagues is a great way to unwind and distress. Over drinks, you can discuss things you are prohibited to discuss at work. But if you want to totally forget about work, skip on their company and instead call your other buddies who you can talk about non-work related things or maybe about that colleague of yours whom you have been avoiding to have a drink with. 

Non-work Related Stress

There are a lot of other factors that cause your stress aside from work. There’s your friend who keeps bugging you about getting him/her a date with your boss, your sister who keeps insisting you to babysit your twin nephews, or that man from the bank who keeps reminding you about your due. None of these issues will vanquish if you drink, but at least doing so offers a few moments of tranquility, away from the chaos they are creating in your otherwise calm inner spirit. 

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Some of the Best Cocktail Bars in NYC

Some of the Best Cocktail Bars in NYC

Bartenders in New York have a reputation of being experts in cocktail crafting. Cocktail bars in New York are ever competing to see which bar gets to pour its customers with the best stuff. The bars are a place where you can get both old timely drinks and the hush vibes. The first thing you need to think about when planning a trip to the Big Apple is finding a hotel in NYC (in Sweden they say hotell New York) that suits your budget. Then you need to make a good online research and find out which are some of the best bars that you want to visit. To help you out with that below is list of some of the best cocktail bars in New York City that you should consider as your next libation destination.

Pouring Ribbons

Housed at 225 Avenue B, second floor, this cocktail bar is owned by some of the top bartenders in the city. Run by Toby Maloney, Alchemy Consulting, Jason Cott and Troy Sidle, there is no doubt that the Pouring Ribbon is a talent powerhouse. The cocktail bar is found on top of a famous liquor store and this dose provides its customers with a refreshing dosage of unmatched unpretentiousness. The décor of the bar doesn’t seem to make any references to the usual vintage speakeasy trend. Pouring Ribbons largely focuses on the experience of its guests with a two scaled cocktail menu; spirituous to refreshing and adventurous to comforting. You can try their Closing Bell – Palo Cortado, Appelton Reserve Rum, Penunsula Sherry, Green Chartreuse and Batavia Arrack.

Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog

The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog sits on 30 Water Street and is one of the newly established cocktail bars in the city. While New York City seems to comprise numerous speakeasies nowadays, this bar seems to take its visitors to earlier periods as it reinterprets tipples dating back to the 19th century. The main floor of the bar serves craft beer and classic drinks while the more genteel attractive lounge upstairs offers cocktail seated service. The cocktail menu offered by this bar is quite handsome and the booklet menu has over 70 mixed drinks ranging from juleps to cobblers, daisies and fixes, all of which have been researched painstakingly and history has never been as awesome as in this bar.

Evelyn Drinkery

The Evelyn Drinkery is yet another bustling scene in New York City for cocktail parties. The cozy haunt features a spacious attractive backroom and has several categories of drink menu. The spiked phosphates are otherwise referred to as boozy, long drinks, egg creams, twisted classics and house cocktails. Craft beer and daily punches are yet other liquid offerings that you can find at the Evelyn Drinkery. It is one of the best cocktail bars in NYC to go for a date especially if you try their NYC cream that includes cacao milk, 1796 Santa Teresa, seltzer and chocolate syrup.

Attaboy

The Attaboy bar continues the common trend of a bartender becoming a bar owner. Formerly known as the Milk & Honey, Attaboy was opened recently by Michael Mcllroy and Sam Ross, who were both Milk & Honey veterans. Top-notch cocktail drinks are available on request and the bar actually has no menu as such. With louder music and brighter lighting, the Attaboy doesn’t require guests to make a reservation.

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Inventive Penalties for Your Pub Golf Course

Inventive Penalties for Your Pub Golf Course

Summary: Have you ever played Pub Golf? It is more a drinking game than a sporting event, and the rules dictate that the person who comes last pays with a forfeit. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, however, with penalties along the way to watch out for.

Pub golf is a drinking game with a difference. For some it is an ideal way to spice up a pub crawl while others take it all quite seriously. The rules vary from area to area. However, in short, the aim of the game is to complete a course - nine or eighteen ‘holes’ (pubs) - and stay below par when possible, just like the sporting game.

Each hole (pub) is numbered, and each has a par which dictates the number of gulps a drink must be finished in. The aim is to complete all challenges in each pub, still be standing, not get any penalties which mess up your score, and avoid embarrassing forfeits.

Penalties vary from game to game, but we’ve got some great examples for those who play the game “properly” and are determined to make it last the night. Each has a point penalty added, like gaining four points for not finishing a drink. You want to have as few points as possible by the end of the night to make sure that you avoid the forfeit.

  • Throwing up – it is very unfair of you to be ill, as this potentially gives you an advantage over other players. Expect a fierce point penalty if you can’t hold your drink in.
  • Spilling a drink is cheating at worst, or clumsy at best. There will be points added for this heinous crime and you will have your glass refilled anyway.
  • If you are in a pub which has been classed a water hazard you will not be allowed to go to the toilet. Breaking this rule will also gain you points. It stands to reason that no drinks are allowed to be taken to the loo under any circumstances as all drinks must be witnessed.
  • Not finishing a drink on or under par (i.e. not drinking a pint in five gulps) gets you another red pen on the score card.
  • Falling over on any of the holes – a definite rule breaker.
  • Taking part in karaoke (unless you sing something that is cheerful and from the 80s) will get your card marked.
  • Taking a long break during your drink (i.e. two gulps then a song and a dance then two sips more) does not count. Extra points for this.
  • Getting thrown out of a pub / bar or being refused a drink on your turn is not funny or clever, and will result in serious points being added.
  • Drinking so slowly that everyone else falls asleep at the bar watching you will definitely cause you to gain extra points!

How serious your penalties are depends on how seriously the game is being played. Of course, turning up on your night out in full pub golf fancy dress and with fun golf-related accessories will result in an automatic bonus which will start your night off well.

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Russians are World's Biggest Drinkers says Economist

Russians are World's Biggest Drinkers says Economist
2012 Worldwide Distilled Spirits Consumption

The Econimist just put out some statistics that shows that Russians are the biggest drinkers of distilled spirits in the world, clearly outpacing anyone else when it comes to vodka. Americans come out a solid second place being more balanced in terms of the variety of liquors that are consumed (as the Russians don't seem to drink too much other than vodka according to the stats.

Note that beer and wine are absent from this study. Also China is noticably absent from the graphic since their national drink is called baijiu and isn't from the collection of better known liquors throughout the world.

What's also interesting is that vodka clearly leads in terms of volume worldwide, but that is likely due to the tremendous quanities that the Russians drink. If that were taken out of the picture, then Rum would be a closer second to vodka in terms of popularity.

The biggest drinkers in the Western Hemisphere (in terms of liters per capita) is the Dominican Republic at 3.3 liters per person of Rum annually. However, the East clearly outpaces the West when it comes to any contest in terms of capacity per person and in absolute terms.

Click on the thumbnail below to see the full article in the Economist.

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3 Unique Wine Tasting Opportunities in the US

3 Unique Wine Tasting Opportunities in the US

If you decide to go on vacation then you may want to do something a little bit different. There are a lot of different choices available nowadays especially when it comes to wine tasting. Wine comes in a range of different flavors and styles and there is undoubtedly a flavor out there for everyone. If you want to get the true taste of wine then it is a good idea to take a look at the following locations. Wine tasting is an art that needs to be perfected. You need to be able to taste the different flavors. Make sure to have a look at these locations and see where you will be able to get the best wine tasting opportunity that the United States has to offer.

Napa Valley in California
Napa Valley in California offers you a whole host of interesting wine tasting choices. Here you will be able to get a tour of the local vineyards and see the different types of grapes that produce the different wines. Some places will even offer the likes of bicycle tours. During the evening you will be able to taste of the newly-produced wines as well. If you want then you can take the time to choose a few for yourself to bring home. If you want to taste wine straight from its very source, then Napa Valley in California is the first place you should. You will be surprised at what you find here.

Finger Lakes
New York state also boasts some fantastic vineyards where you will be able to do a bit of wine tasting. For those living in this region it is quite close by and worth the trip. TripAdvisor has ranked this particular vineyard as number four in its rankings. If you want to go to a prestigious region in order to learn more about the art of wine tasting then Finger Lakes is going to be the best destination for you to choose. Various actvities are offered at Finger Lakes. These include things like wine trails. Each trail offers a unique array of not only wine, but also of food. If you feel like having something to eat with your glass then wine trails are the perfect choice for a day out.

Paso Robles
In California Paso Robles boasts a few fantastic wines of its own. You can enjoy the warm Californian summers while taking a look around the vineyards and enjoying some of the best wine that this particular region has produced. With wines of excellent quality you will want to return again and again to this fantastic location.

Anyone who enjoys wine is going to want to take a look at heading off on one these trips. There is nothing better than relaxing in the summer heat and enjoying the fruits of the vineyard.

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London’s Best Victorian-Style Pubs

London’s Best Victorian-Style Pubs

You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to great pubs in London, but many have lost their appeal with the transition into ‘gastro-pubs’ and overly modernised interiors, with the character and charm we all know and love sadly being lost, instead of being preserved. The Victorian Emporium has put together a list of their favourite Victorian pubs in London. If you’re looking for somewhere a bit special, with some real history and olde-worlde magic, look no further than our guide to the top five Victorian pubs in London:

  • The Union Tavern is over 200 years old and is as striking on the inside as it is on the out. The pub features beautiful cast iron fireplaces, an impressively carved wooden bar and a very striking function room lined with period sash windows and an ornate ceiling rose from where a chandelier drops. The exterior of the pub is an imposing corner plot and is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture in London.
  • Ye Olde Cock Tavern has an interesting history dating back to 1549. Although some original features were destroyed by the 1990 fire, the pub still includes the original fireplace and mantle and the bar is carved with classic Victorian woodwork. You will also spot the intricately carved Cock who takes pride of place in the pub.
  • The Princess Louise Pub is famed for its impressive Victorian interior and as you enter, you can see why. Beautiful flagstone flooring, decadent tiling across the walls and etched glass panes adorn the building – all handsome examples of Victorian design. Small ‘snug’ areas surround the wood-panelled bar. The pub has been sympathetically restored to its original layout, giving you the feeling of really stepping back in time.
  • The Lamb is a beautiful example of Victorian interior design and for those looking for real period public house features, you can’t get much better than this pub’s glass snob screens which are, amazingly, still intact and able to perform the rotating motion, exactly as would have been used back in the day to mask the customer’s identity from the publican and keep a sense of privacy.
  • The Prince Alfred is surprisingly light and airy for a Victorian pub, but it certainly hasn’t lost its charm which characterful features such as a fantastically ornate wooden bar with its impressive carved pillars, which reach right up to the classic Victorian embossed and textured ceiling. There are small booth-like areas surrounding the bar with stunning etched glass screen dividers which are key to the Victorian’s fixation with privacy.

So if you fancy popping for a pint somewhere a little more glamorous than your local, these pubs are well worth a visit.

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Binge Drinking and Your College Freshman

Binge Drinking and Your College Freshman

Binge drinking is a normal part of college life for many students, and even if your child did not drink much, or at all in high school, there's still a good chance that he or she will get involved in binge drinking. Generally, binge drinking is defined as consuming consuming a large number of drinks in two hours or less, typically five drinks or more for men and four or more for women.

Research varies on the exact number of freshmen involved in binge drinking,[http://www.bestdrugrehabilitation.com/blog/infographics/infographic-binge-drinking/] and it often varies from one campus to another, but one commonly cited statistic is that half of college students report binge drinking in the past two weeks. College freshmen who did not drink heavily, or at all, during high school are not exempt from the phenomenon either, as half of these students reported binge drinking at least once during their first semester of college.

Understand the Risks of Binge Drinking

Some parents think of binge drinking as just a normal part of college life, but the truth is that it is risky behavior that may lead to a wide range of undesirable consequences:

  • Academic difficulties as students spend less time and attention on classwork and more on social activities and drinking.
  • Health problems, including trips to the hospital because of excessive blood alcohol content, injuries because of falls while under the influence of alcohol, and injuries due to drunk driving accidents.
  • Assault and unwanted sexual advances as students' own inhibitions are down and they are around others who are in a similar state.

Environmental Factors that Affect Binge Drinking

Although educating students about the risks of binge drinking may play a small role in helping prevent it, some of the biggest contributors to binge drinking are environmental factors. For example, college freshmen who have easy access to inexpensive alcohol, perhaps through older students, and who live in dorms that permit alcohol, are more likely to binge drink than those who don't. The drinking behaviors of friends, and even parents, also had an effect on whether students engaged in binge drinking.

Importance of Talking About Drinking Before College

As a parent, you probably want to do everything you can to protect your college freshman from the harmful effects of binge drinking. You're best off getting started before your child enters college. The more you talk about drinking and your expectations while your child is still at home, the more likely your child will be to maintain these after going away to college.

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Beer - Bringing Back the Real Men

Beer - Bringing Back the Real Men

As a woman, I'm known to be very traditional when it comes to dating guys. While most women nowadays drool and worship guys like Edward from the Twilight series (shudder), I like to date with traditional guys. And when I say traditional guys, I like them tall, strong and rugged.

And preferably someone who drinks beer.

Don't get me wrong; I would want my date to smell good and look really neat and all. I just want them to appear like a real man. My ideal image of a traditional man would be someone like James Dean or Roger Moore. A guy who values the importance of hard work, facial hair and treating the ladies right. I'm someone who loves the idea of getting married someday to a gruff, yet dependable and loving man who loves sporting a full beard and mustache  I guess it has something to do with my Dad, who refuses to leave his traditional manly ways just because he sees most of his neighbors adopting what seems to be the age of modern men.

According to dating websites and experts, a lot of women lose interest in a man because of their inability to think and decide for themselves. I blame one simple dating advice that I always see in dating websites and magazines everywhere. The dating advice goes like this:

"Try to be inside the mind of a woman. Be good friends with girls and learn how they choose the winners from the losers. This way, you'll learn their secrets and be able to tune your own self when asking the girl of your dreams out on a date."

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Summer Spirits: Five Perfect Poolside Cocktails

Summer Spirits: Five Perfect Poolside Cocktails

You've finally done it; you've finally revamped your yard and turned it into a little oasis. Instead of sipping the classic piña colada when lounging by the water, why not try something a little different? Any of the drinks listed below would be ideal when lying poolside or relaxing in the hot tub. Once you discover your perfect spa, you can discover the perfect cocktail to go along with it!

Blue Hawaii

A vibrant clear blue color reminiscent of the Caribbean waters, this drink is as pretty as it is tropical in flavor. Perfect after a swim.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Curacao, blue
  • 1 oz. Rum, light
  • 1 splash Pineapple Juice
  • 1 splash Sour Mix

Method: shaker

Glass: cocktail

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Oktoberfest: The History and Influence of the Biggest Beer-Drinking Festival

Oktoberfest: The History and Influence of the Biggest Beer-Drinking Festival

Yes, I know that it's still far, but a few days from now, it'll be the end of the month of May. You'd be shocked as to how fast time really flies!

I think it's safe to say that even the United States and in other parts of the world, Oktoberfest is now widely accepted as a holiday. Well, it's actually a holiday that a lot of guys would appreciate. Oktoberfest originated in the lovely city of Munich, Germany. Considered as the largest festival in the world, Oktoberfest is held for 16 days every year in Munich and is attended by 5-6 million people every year. I had the chance to attend last year's Oktoberfest and it was indeed one huge fair attended by both men and women alike. Strange actually, since I thought that it's just a holiday in favor of men, since it's usually guys who love beer. I am probably but a few of the girls who love drinking beer, but when I got to visit Munich, I was very much mistaken.

The people who visit Munich for the Oktoberfest are actually there for the beer. I later found out that Oktoberfest has strict rules regarding the beers being served for the festivities. Beers that conform to the Reinheitsgebot are allowed to be served during the festivities. What Reinheitsgebot means is "German Beer Purity Law". It could also be translated as the "Bavarian Purity Law".

Here's a little history lesson.Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who is later to become King Ludwig I, wanted his people to celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The marriage was on October 12, 1810, so Ludwig held a horse race and invited all the residents of Munich. Of course, beer was served as part of the celebration and this beer followed the Bavarian Purity Law. According to the original text, the Bavarian Purity Law only allows water, barley, and hops as ingredients in beer production. Now, the Reinheitsgebot has been replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law. This time, it allowed some of the components that were not allowed within the original law, like yeast, wheat malt and cane sugar. However, unmalted barley is still not allowed.

Alright, so that's enough with the blast from the past. There are only a few breweries allowed to serve beer on Oktoberfest. Asides from that, the beer must also be made in a brewery within Munich. The best brewed beer is proclaimed "Oktoberfest Beer." Here's the top breweries that competed for years.

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Wines for Summer Drinking

Wines for Summer Drinking

Summer's heat begs for something refreshing and cooling, and a chilled bottle of white wine is a good bet. Light reds and rosés also work, especially with the light meals of salads and seafood that usually constitute summer fare. Here are some basic wine varieties to stock for summer drinking.

Pinot Noir

This varietal can be pricey, especially if you get wines made in France, where Burgundy rules and a single bottle of Romanee Conti can range in the thousands of dollars. Wine aficionados will also tell you there's no such thing as good cheap burgundy. On the other hand, New Zealand and Oregon have been making headlines in the wine world for producing affordable world-class Pinot noirs, as opposed to the alcohol-laden fruit bombs that California usually produces. The New Zealand producers can give especially good value for money.

Sauvignon Blanc

The trouble with picking a good Sauvignon blanc is that you're spoiled for choice: it's grown everywhere from France to Chile, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil. The flavors depend on the climate and can range from sweet and tropical to crisp, elegant, and fresh. Wines from the Loire valley and New Zealand have the freshness you'll want for summer, and again New Zealand wines will probably give the better value. Something to note: this is one of the few wines that can pair well with sashimi, so if you're a fan of Japanese food, trying a bottle or three won't hurt.

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13 of Technology’s Best Alcohol Resources Available!

13 of Technology’s Best Alcohol Resources Available!

DrinkedIn BarFinder

What is it? A bar/pub locator - it's a free mobile app available for iPhone/iPad and Android.

What does it do? Find bars near your location from the largest database of over 150,000 bars worldwide. Soon to include a database of close to 10,000 mixed drink recipes as a bonus!

How can I get it? This app is available on the Apple iTunes app-store and Google Play


BAC Alcohol Calculator

What is it? An iPhone App.

What does it do? A fun and interactive way of keeping track of how much you are drinking and its effects on you is by downloading this Blood-Alcohol Calculator. Simple to use and highly rated, this app uses gender, weight and consumption to generate a rough calculation.

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The Traveling Beer - Choosing the Right Alcoholic Beverage When Traveling Abroad

The Traveling Beer - Choosing the Right Alcoholic Beverage When Traveling Abroad

My love for beer is eternal. Yes, it's no joke. Whether I'm relaxing inside my house or going out with my friends for a night out, I always make it a point to order a nice, cold glass of beer. While I can easily buy a can of Budweiser or a nice bottle of Jack Daniels from a local convenience store, it's a whole different story when I'm traveling to another country. Of course, I can still get my favorite drinks from the supermarket, but when I think about it, I might as well try the best that international liquor has to offer.

Germany - Well, let's start with Europe. It's always been my favorite continent, since Germany's there. Germany boasts of certain beers that were made centuries ago. Besides, German beers have quite a unique taste in them. It's probably because breweries follow a very strict rule about the ingredients used for brewing. Some of the best German beers I enjoy so far are Bitburger and Warsteiner. However, Bitburger is the only one that's gotten me hooked on German Beer.

Bitburger has three unique variations, which is called beer mixes. My choice would have to "Bit Sun", which has low on calories.

And who can forget about Oktoberfest? I always make it a point to visit Germany during this occasion. Asides from beer, I also love buying beer shirt a day and Oktoberfest is the perfect time to buy them cheap! It's a drink-till-you drop marathon for me and my friends (along with a few friendly Germans, of course!

Japan - I've been to Japan three times already and it's a Wonderland for beer aficionados. Yes, I've already tasted sake, but you're dead wrong if you think that Japan doesn't have it's own brand of beer. Asahi Beer is one of the most popular beer brands in the Land of the Rising Sun. There's Suntory Beer as well as Hop Aka; these are just a few of the many beer brands available there. One particular Asahi beer, which is the Asahi Funwari, costs around 140 yen. With an alcohol content of 2-3%, it's something I don't mind drinking when walking around Tokyo.

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Guadalupe Valley, Mexico – The Wine Connection

Guadalupe Valley, Mexico – The Wine Connection

While the world knows that Mexico has some awesome tequilas, a little known secret is that the country also has a flourishing wine region: Baja California, more commonly known as Baja. The Valle de Guadalupe or the Guadalupe Valley in Baja is home to about 90% of all grape growing and winemaking in Mexico.

The Valley is an upcoming winemaking region that has been attracting attention from Southern California and the American press in recent years. These exotic wines are shipped all over Mexico and Western Europe but until recent times they could not be exported to the U.S. and Canada because of the trade policies of these countries. They are still difficult to find in Canada and the United States.

Known as the Napa or Tuscany of Baja, the Guadalupe Valley is hoarded with abundant local wines, fresh foods, and splendid views to contest with the other wine destinations of the world. Till about a decade back, this area was hardly talked about in the world of wines but today this valley is the proud owner of a great number of wineries. The regions wine has also improved tremendously and has become trendy enough to be served in fashionable restaurants across Mexico City.

The Mediterranean climate of the region along with its innovative residents are two of the main reasons that are driving Mexican wines on to the tables of connoisseurs across the world.

The Russian farmers came to the Valley in the early 1900’s and that’s when commercial grape growing started here. Since then, many companies and individuals have enhanced the grape production and quality in this region by using modern technology and ideas such as drip irrigation systems, research and development, cloned and grated vines etc. Today, the valley is home to more than 20 official wineries, many home-based operations and hundreds of winemakers testing and mixing Mexican wines into bottles!

Every year, since the 1990s, the Association of Winemakers of Baja California organizes the Grape Harvest Fiesta in the Valley of Guadalupe and the town of Ensenada. The festivities include wine-tasting sessions, concerts and soirees, sampling of regional cuisines and Mexican wines etc. Very recently Mexican wines climbed a notch higher when Camillo Magoni, a winemaker from Mexico, was chosen as the best winemaker in the world by a Dutch wine magazine. Passionate winemakers like Camillo are encouraging the wine artisans in the region to higher the quality standards of Mexican wines. Looks like it won’t be long before the world wakes up to the amazing wines that this valley has to offer

In spite of the growth and recognition of Mexican wines the area stills faces some difficulties such as lack of water, illegal water wells, conflicts regarding new land development for housing etc. The Mexican government and the locals need to work together to protect this special valley as it is capable of creating a buzz in the world of wines.

About the author: Martin Cowellis a real estate agent in Mexico and is the owner of I Own Akumal. He loves traveling and writing about his adventures and experiences. Read his post on Tulum here.

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Love Wine: Why Not Start Your Very Own Wine Club?

Love Wine: Why Not Start Your Very Own Wine Club?

Wine lovers unite! Are you and many of your friends wine connoisseurs or would you at least affectionately refer to yourselves ‘wine-o’s’? If so, have you thought about starting a wine club? Being part of a club is a great way to keep all of your friends connected and if everyone knows there’s going to be wine involved at every meeting, you can be sure your attendance rates will be quite high. Starting a club will allow you all to indulge in something that you all love and the one thing that connects you all – wine. Here are a few pointers for getting a wine club going.

Recruiting Fellow Wine Lovers

Unless you’re planning on sitting around drinking several bottles of wine all by yourself every month (there’s no shame in that), then you’re probably going to need a few other members for your club. Many online resources and former wine club members recommend starting out small and having a club with no more than ten members. If the highlighted activity at your meetings is consuming wine, chances are, things might get out of hand every once in a while and if you have 30 people in attendance, things might become a little raucous.

Other than the number of members, your two biggest concerns will probably be people’s level of interest and the costs. The more genuinely interested in learning about wine your friends are, the more successful your club will probably be because they’ll be excited for the meetings and will have good ideas for activities and outings. What’s more, they should be willing to shell out more money. Sadly wine is not free and neither is making wine or travelling to vineyards. Therefore you will want to recruit members who are committed enough to learning about wine to set some cash aside for the endeavour.

Planning Awesome Activities for Your Club

Now that you and nine of your friends are an official fermented-beverage-consuming entity, what are you going to do every month? Here are just a few ideas for get together activities you can try.

Tasting Parties

Wine tasting is undoubtedly the most important part of a wine club and there are many different kinds of tasting nights that you can host. You could do a regionally themed party and have everyone bring a wine from a specific country or you could have a night based on a single grape varietal and crown a Pinot Noir champion or a king of Merlot. Another great idea is to run a blind tasting night where everyone brings a different bottle of wine with the label covered. Everyone tries each bottle and makes notes on the flavours they pick up and what kind of wine they think it is. At the end of the night the host or hostess reveals who was the most accurate taster.

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