How Alcohol Affects Your Sleep. The basic knowledge here has been around for a while, but this is the best study in depth I’ve seen. In short, booze helps you get to sleep, but not stay there. Your body will feel better in the morning, your mind worse. Hangovers aside, of course.
The introduction of Donn Beach’s Zombie
was tough on the Moai of Easter Island….
(Precaptioned photo via io9)
Either that, or they just got hit with the same brutal cold that I’m just now fighting out from under.
Among the things about Tiki I find most fascinating is the genuine scholarship being done in its study. The iconic figure in the field of course is Beachbum Berry. (“Jeff” to his doctor, and “We have no record of this man” to the IRS) As history, archaeology, and anthropology, his body of work is more extensive, better written, and frankly, orders of magnitude more useful than most of the work by college professors. Work that gets them tenure, while making sure that there is no time to teach the students that are paying 50K a year to go to their universities.
But the Bum is hardly alone in this thirst for Tiki lore and lost artifacts. There is a legion of Tikiphiles out there who spend incredible amounts of time digging through the past to find vessels and decor from long passed oases, secrets to the origins of potions, and countless other fascinating details. I’m pretty sure the competition can be pretty fierce at times.
“It’s perfect! I can put a double Boo-Loo in there and the floating orchid garnish will be clearly visible all the way around the room.”
Today, Indy would wear a fez…
Of course, not every Tiki archaeologist is as badass as Indiana Jones, or Thor Heyerdahl, or Beachbum Berry. Most toil in the relative (to the greater drinks world) anonymity of the Tiki Central message boards. And let’s face it, a lot more of their research is drunk than is written up. But regardless, one of the most fascinating things that these guys do is look into the archaeology of taste. It is a pretty rare field in the mainstream science, and I suspect that the pros might learn a thing or two from folks who do this with Tiki.
A good example, which prompted this post, is a new article by Hurricane Hayward (whose name at least can compete with Indy’s, but probably not Thor’s) at the Atomic Grog Blog. I wrote last year a little experiment on the various versions of the Dr. Funk, one of the few cocktails of genuinely South Pacific origin in the Tiki oeuvre. Hayward’s post is a search for the taste of the legendary Mai Kai’s variant, the Dr. Fong. We both reference some excellent historical research published in the scholarly and peer-reviewed Journal of Faux-Polynesian Studies by Messrs Kirsten and Duncan, PhT.
Hayward does not find an actual recipe for the Fong, alas. So he does, again, what the “real” people in fields like this do, he recreates the recipe, based on lots of other research on the bar in question, its head barman at the relevant time, the other drinks on the menu, etc. It is kinda like putting flesh onto dinosaur bones.
There is some scholarship like this in the larger, broad-spectrum world of classic cocktails, but it is far less common. I am not sure what it is about Tiki that spurs such passions for history and authenticity, especially considering the deliberate inauthenticity of the genre. But we should be glad of it, because going over the research is delicious….
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!
A well stocked home bar is useful for more than just entertaining and mixing delicious social lubricants. Many of the bottles and jars you have in there contain substances with significant health benefits… beyond the increasingly well-documented benefits of simple moderate alcohol consumption, I mean. The saying goes, “A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.” To this, I can only say, “whose inventory is limited Kemo Sahbee? Does your Walgreens have Four Roses Small Batch or Old Raj gin behind the counter?” I didn’t think so.
(Somewhat) more seriously, many of the really cool additives and ingredients that are the hallmarks of great drinks came to us first from pharmacists or their historical antecedents, herbalists or even shamans. And just because they are currently nestled on a shelf next to that bottle of Jåger you don’t admit you own, doesn’t mean they have lost any of the health benefits they possessed before becoming a part of our toolkit.
This post is about three of those ingredients, and is prompted by the convergence of some recent symptoms of my own and some chance reading I did recently. (more…)
Over at Art of Drink this month, Darcy dons his white lab coat for some cocktail mad science. Entitled Cognac Oil, his post is an entertaining look at employing some non-traditional ingredients, such as the titular essential oil, to create a non-alcoholic drink that tastes like, well, a drink. It’s a fun post, with some great opportunities for drink-geeking out.
I’m not going to rehash what he does to make his drink. It’s his post, so go read it on his site. The link will open a new tab, so go on. I’ll be here when you get back because I want to talk about why you should be interested.
In his introduction, Darcy touches on this with what he calls his “buzz management concept”. This is something every responsible drinker does in one way or another, and with varying degrees of conscious effort. Simply put, if you want your evening to last long, and end well, you need to drink just enough of the right strength of drinks to let the alcohol take effect… without taking over. For a variety of reasons, this can be difficult.
You can always nurse your drink, but with possible exception of red wine, this is almost always unsatisfactory. The great Savoy barman Harry Craddock famously said, “The way to drink a cocktail is quickly, while it is still laughing at you.” Nurse a cocktail, and it gets warm. It was designed and balanced for consumption cold, and almost no up drink will taste as good once it starts to warm. Nurse a rocks drink and it may stay cold, but it will get watery. Ditto on the effects on the flavor there.
You could just go home (or go to bed if you are already there) the moment you reach your safe, effective limit. The less said about this ridiculous option, the better. The chief benefit of social drinking is the social bit. If you shut down just when things get good,you might as well have just curled up with a good book instead. It’s cheaper.
You can always mix in something non-alcoholic between in each round. Some suggest a glass of water between each drink as a way to slow you down and keep you hydrated to ward off some of the hangover. But water is boring, and well fish f*ck in it. You could try a “mocktail” or Preggatini, but I find them usually unsuitable for this task. Many are delicious, but usually they are far too sweet, and almost none offer the balance and depth of a good mixed drink. Very few non-alcoholic concoctions offer any reward if you take a moment to ignore a boring stretch of the conversation and just savor your third sip.
Fixing this last is what Darcy is trying to accomplish with his cognac-esque no or low-alcohol cocktail: An evening extender that you can consume in like manner to a full throttle one. This is a worthy goal, and one every ambitious bartender on Earth should work on too.
Face it folks, booze is a powerful thing. Too much will result in, at best, a bad morning and some embarrassment. But enough, especially if you maintain the right balance between consumption and metabolization, is even more powerful. Moderate drinkers may be more intelligent, and are certainly more creative. Drink well, and rule the world. Drunk too much, and destroy it. Darcy’s just trying to save the world, folks.
I’ll leave you with this little cautionary tale about the power of being just exactly one and a half drinks in, which Darcy’s post led me to recall. (Not safe for work because of mild language and your loud laughter.)