A Guide for the Allergy Riddled Wine Lover – Part 2 – Sulphites

Sulphites

You’re drinking a glass of your favorite wine then suddenly your nose is blocked.

Feels like hayfever, doesn’t it?

Crap, now you’re scratching at your skin and notice a rash.

Soon you’re coughing or wheezing or having difficulty breathing.

This example gives wine a bad rap but it’s not as bad as we might think. Do you ever experience these symptoms when you’re NOT drinking wine. Take note of those times and what you had been eating.

What is in the wine that could cause this? A not-so-recent post, Part 1 – The Sweet Factor, tackled the possibility of the sugar content contributing to headaches. If the solutions in that post did not help your case, Part 2 may help you determine if it is the sulphites disturbing your system.

There is a simple test to determine if you are sensitive or allergic but, sadly, it does not involve drinking a glass of wine.

What Are Sulphites?

Sulphites are inorganic salts that are found in the ground. There is a small percentage of the world’s population that is allergic to sulphites while many people just have an intolerance to it. Neither case is pleasant. Believe me, because I experience mild effects at times to sulphites. And probably more often than I realize.

Preservatives, such as Sulphites, are a natural part of grape skins. But why?

Are they seeping into grapevines from the ground?

They occur naturally during the fermentation process due to the yeast activity so it really is hard to find a wine without it.

Some producers do add sulphites, to protect their wine from oxidization, even though it might only be a small amount. These are the ones you may have to steer clear of to keep your intake to a minimum.

Sulphites don’t cause headaches (it’s the sugar content, remember?) but can bring on an attack for those with asthma, or induce asthma-related symptoms.

Now, take a look at the back of your wine bottle. It likely says “Contains Sulphites”. Unfortunately, there is no indication of whether these sulphites are the natural occurring ones or the chemically added ones. It just means there is enough in there to have to put it on the label, by law.

So, if you plan on avoiding them, put it back on the shelf and head to the organic section. Or check the list below for some known Biodynamic / Organic producers who do not add any chemical sulphites.

Here, amongst the natural and organic wines, is where you may find less sulphites.  But not guaranteed. Since sulphites are an organic compound, it falls under the “organic” classification so they are obviously allowed in organic wines. The total amount of sulphites should, however, be lower than some of the other normal wines. A little research on a favorite bottle beforehand could help as well.

When And How Is Sulphur Chemically Added?

♦During harvest, sulphur in the form of metabisulfite is sprayed on grapes to prevent oxidization as soon as the grapes are picked. Otherwise, the grapes might begin rotting by the time they are brought inside to the vats.

♦Before wine enters the oak barrel, vintners burn sulphur inside of each barrel which seals the wood so it is leak-proof. At the same time, it creates Sulphur Dioxide, aka SO2 (the gas form).

♦Fermentation creates sulphur naturally so when the winemaker wants to stop the fermentation process, he will add the chemical version of sulphur.

Natural wines are supposedly sulphur-free (but we know this is not really the case) so he must wait for the natural fermentation process to finish.

♦Aging process in oak – as mentioned above, sulphur is burned inside the barrels so it contributes extra sulphites to the finished product. With the wine now in the barrel, some producers might add sulphur chips which are burned inside to preserve the wine and add flavour. This also creates tannins within the wine.

♦Bottling – there is rumour that the bottles are rinsed with sulphites. The answer to this is very hard to find and will take some actual foot work to determine. This will take up a full blog on its own.

Most wines with added sulfites contain only 20-350 Parts Per Million. Ppm is the equivalent of milligrams per litre, ie: 20ppm=20mg/L.

The legal limit in wine is 350 ppm.

Benefits -Are There Any?

SO2 will ‘eat up’ any oxygen in its path. Oxygen is the chemical that will destroy your wine, like it destroys your fruit – think of the apple you cut and 2 minutes later, it is browning. In this way, SO2 is helpful.

Bacteria and germs don’t like SO2 nearby – they can’t develop in it’s presence.

Thus, SO2 prevents the wine from continuing it’s ‘rotting’ process into vinegar.

Wine is NOT the only culprit. The amount in wine is really not that alarming. Below is a list of items that contain sulphur. Beware, it is a LONG list with many of your favorite foods.

If a food contains more than 10ppm, the label must contain the warning.

Side Effects

As mentioned, these sulphites can cause allergic reactions which can resemble hayfever. In more extreme, perhaps rare cases, it may cause hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, cramps, low blood pressure, flushed or swelling skin, stomach pain, diarrhea and if your allergy is serious, anaphylactic shock.

Avoiding Sulphites

Your list of what to avoid if you are keeping sulphites to a minimum:

Dried fruit is #1 – for example, raisins and prunes contain anywhere from 500 to 2,000 ppm! A heck of alot more than the max 350 in wine.

This is where the simple test comes in….eat about 4 dried apricots. Now pay attention to your breathing. Has it changed? Are you wheezing at all? If you are, you might be sensitive to sulphites. This does not mean you are sensitive to wine. Just the sulphites. If you are getting a headache, it could be something else you are sensitive to….the sugar perhaps…histamines? (this will be in Part 3 of this series) …or you’re dehydrating. Are you drinking a glass of water with your wine?

…..now, back to the list.

Wine – as you now know contains between 20 and 350ppm.

Beer and hard ciders.

Tea and juice.

Jam and fruit-flavoured breakfasts such as Toaster Strudels.

Salad dressings and condiments.

Vinegar.

Table Salt.

Molasses and gravy.

Dried soup mixes.

Dried herbs.

Canned and frozen vegetables and fruit.

Pre-cut potatoes.

Shrimp – it is used to avoid the black spots.

Processed and Deli Meat, especially sausages.

Bread Dough – it is used as a conditioner.

Cookies, ice cream and yogurt – yup, all the good stuff!

Some pharmaceuticals – to preserve medications.

Interesting to note: The human body produces 1,000 ppm of sulphites.

The closest information I found on the suggested recommended daily intake is 19% of a man’s total dietery intake and 17% of women’s.

Some studies are finding that the levels in young children are quite high and suggest the reason is the processed and packaged foods packed in their lunches. Those dried fruit packets are a favorite – it’s also #1 with the highest levels of sulphites. Moms, can we dial it back a little?

It’s no wonder that ADD and ADHD manifested during the generation that introduced processed foods.

The food industry has a lot more leeway than the alcohol production industry, right?

The US FDA states the food packaging must contain the label “contains sulphites” if the food contains 10ppm or more.

CDN:

Every country will mandate it’s own specific amount that must be labelled.

To combat this, choose natural and or organic foods that do not contain preservatives. Your local health food store might be a good place to start looking.

If after you’ve read the food label, there is no ‘Contains Sulphites’ warning, don’t stop there. Read the ingredients. It could be hidden and referred to as:

Potassium Sulfite

Potassium Bisulfite

Potassium Metabisulfite

Sodium Bisulfite

Sodium Metabisulfite

Sodium Sulfite

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulphites under 10 ppm in the US do not have to be listed but they will all contribute to your sulphite intake.         -The Food Intolerance Network

For example, pizza crust. Your neighborhood Pizza Pizza may not display the content level because it is below 10ppm but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. They are not required to list it unless the level is higher than 10ppm.

My 11-year-old grandson has suffered asthma from about the age of 2 and I often wonder if sudden bouts are related to food. My belief in this is much stronger now due to the research I have put in to this article.

I have also dealt with food sensitivities for years and have learned tonnes of information on how processed food affects us.

Eliminating gluten from my diet has helped but does this mean I have to forever live without a delicious sourdough bowl of clam chowder?

I put it to the test and bought a freshly made sourdough loaf from my local bakery. I expect there would be less preservatives in this. The result? No pains in my stomach.

Maybe it’s the sulphites that are packed in the bread, not the gluten, causing problems?

If we re-program ourselves to eat naturally as our forefathers ate, we just might see a huge difference in our health. Which is why I am on a new kick to make my own sourdough bread and see what happens.

Why are some people susceptible to sulphur and others are not?

Some people lack an enzyme that digests and removes sulfites from the body; in other cases, sulfites may cause an immune response. Another theory is that when digesting these foods, the stomach may produce sulfur dioxide, and inhaling this gas causes adverse effects,                          -The University of Florida Extension.

Unfortunately, processed food is here to stay because everyone loves it so, for it’s taste and convenience.

It’s an uphill battle but not impossible.

The company, morethanorganic.com, may be able to help:

“We want to give them (unsulphured wines) the publicity they deserve.”

Probably time to get back on track….

Red vs White

There are antioxidants in all grapeskins. Since the skins ferment longer in the production of red wine, reds have higher levels of antioxidants. Producers rely on this and do not have to add as much SO2.

If the vintner can keep the tannin levels up, he will require less chemically added sulphites.

While White wines have antioxidants, the levels are lower since the skins don’t ferment as long. Producers generally have to add sulphur so whites contain higher levels of it.

Wine Producers Who Don’t Add Sulphites

Frey Vineyards, – Redwood Valley, CA

Cascina Degli Ulivi FilagnottiPiedmont, Italy

Donkey & Goat – Berkley, CA

Badger Mountain – Kennewick, WA – “We ensure that our customers are getting chemical-free products by constantly testing the soil, and we send wine samples to a lab for testing before bottling.”          – Marlisa Lochrie, Tasting Room Mgr.

Domaine Valentin ZusslinFrance

Château le Puy – France

Personally, I think sulphites in wine alone is not quite the culprit it is made out to be. Processed food, with the high content, is certainly a concern. Put all of your consumption between food and alcohol together and your intake could be astronomical.

Rule of Thumb I plan to undertake: Minimize my intake of processed food and drinks. Opt for natural….if it is man-made, I’ll avoid it.

For example: Fruit is natural. Fruit juice/snacks are modified by man.

A good read that contains some common sources.

A lot of ground was covered here but I still have one question. If sulphites are a natural salt found in the ground, why is it so bad for us?

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on April 6, 2018

 

How To Get Over a Broken Heart In 3 Easy(?) Steps

What does this have to do with travel or even beverages, you ask?

I agree, it seems a little off topic.

Think of it this way…..

You could be away at a wonderful travel destination, somewhere exotic,  or just close to home when you happen to be in tourist mode.

A chance meeting.

Or you stumble upon someone special in the vintage vino section.

At some point it leads to a beverage. Even coffee.

Share a bottle of wine.

Two whirlwind weeks pass by.

You fall in love.

This fling, this inpromptu affair, lasts your entire vacation or longer.

Then, ultimately, your heart gets broken. Regardless of how far away your vacation took you, promises might have been made.

It will still be a sting when you get dropped.

You might turn to drink in your sorrow, too. (Another way this is not necessarily totally off topic.)

hat’s the connection to this beverage-based website. My theory.

Everyone responds and reacts differently to the end of love.

I’ve gone through this enough times to have this almost perfected. (Not the falling-in-love-on-vacation part, just the falling in love and getting hurt.)

The aftermath is never easy, as the title would suggest, but I, personally, find it easier to get back on track with my life by doing the following:

1. CRY

Take 1 day for a good cry. Get it out of your system. Some may need 2 days for this. That’s ok. Acknowledge it. Don’t stash it under the rug to avoid your feelings. Talk to someone, maybe you have a trusted go-to person for matters of the heart, and do your crying through that conversation.

If it takes you a week, including a couple days for moping, allow yourself that, but NO MORE. I take 3 or 4 days, depending on how “in love” I felt I was, to pick myself up and face the world with a smile.

2. LEARN

During your sorrow-filled days, figure out why this person came into your life. What were you supposed to learn or what did you learn from him? He was put in your path for a reason, right? What is that reason?

Some possible reasons: To learn patience, to learn to not to have a few drinks and express your feelings (at the wrong drunken moment) or perhaps to learn how to communicate better. Maybe it was to realize the importance of family or friends. It could be anything as simple as to introduce you to a person who will play an important role in your life. Dig deep, you’ll find it.

Even if a reason seems lame, use it. You will have better closure. Hey, if you’re lucky enough to have been told (honestly) why they broke up with you, you will have a head start.

3. APPLY

Now dust yourself off and continue with your life, your hobbies (maybe find a new one: take a dance or art class; try a new sport). And, of course, include time with your friends. Seek out those feel-good ones. They will help you bounce back. You’ll soon meet someone new and you can apply that “Reason Why” you discovered and apply this to the next one by not making the same mistake. Hopefully, you won’t have to use Steps 1 & 2 ever again. I will keep my fingers crossed.

Men, since you are my opposite sex, I cannot say for sure if this method would work for you but I’d like to think it would. I’ve seen my sons go through their share of broken hearts and I believe it is helpful for them as well.

May you always find the strength in yourself to persevere.

Cheers!

Published by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on January 13, 2018

 

 

National Hot Toddy Day

As it is nearing my first year anniversary blogging for Travel By The Glass, I feel a desire for change coming on.

A year ago, my intention was to post National Hot Toddy Day as my First Ever Post. I didn’t have it ready in time so Irish Coffee won that title. It will always be my favorite post for that reason and for the fact it was a very interesting story.

But that’s the next post.

Today is Hot Toddy Day…….

In the 17th Century, when Britain controlled India, the ‘toddy’ began. Taddy / Taadi is a Hindi word meaning “beverage made from fermented palm sap”. The sap is collected by tapping the palm trees.

The meaning morphed, by 1786, into an alcoholic beverage with hot water, sugar and spices added to it.

Interesting Facts About Palm Trees

They don’t form annual ‘rings’ the way other trees do.

There are 2600 different species known, many in tropical climates.

2/3 are growing in rain forests.

They all grow a type of fruit.

The British claimed the toddy as their own but the rightful place perhaps should be India since the original form comes from the palm trees of India.

Word spread of this hot beverage and many more claims to fame arose.

Spicing It Up

The basic recipe contains your choice of liquor, hot water, lemon, honey and tea. Brandy, any form of whisky (bourbon and scotch) and rum are popular liquors to use. But don’t stop there! Anything goes…tequila, fruit flavoured brandies, whatever you have on hand.

Got a sore throat? Use gin!

So what spices can you put in your hot toddy?

Whether you’re going for a traditional hot toddy or a non-alcoholic one, add some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Most households have honey hiding in their cupboard but if you keep unusual items, maybe you have agave nectar (the last place I saw this was in a Home Sense store) or simple syrup. These can be used instead of honey. Also, if you can find it, cinnamon syrup or a cranberry spice syrup. See sidebar for the recipes.

On your vacation to India, there are plenty of wonderful places to see and experience. If you’re there right now, visit a Toddy Shop for National Hot Toddy Day!

Published by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on January 11, 2018.

 

 

Visiting India This Year?

If you’re like me, it’s frustrating to search for a list of things and you have to scroll for ten minutes to discover them all! Or worse, go page by page!

Aside from the traditional Taj Mahal, I’ve short-listed some unusual things to do in India, to make your life easier so you can get on with your day. The links will provide the location.

-Moustache Watching at the Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan from Nov 11-23, 2018. Apparently, the moustache is a sign of virility in men of India. You’ll be surprised at the length of some of these!

-Mehendi Henna on your hands and feet. You will find a vendor who does this at any of the big or small market places.

-A Massage in Kerala. ‘Nuff said, right?

-While you’re there, why not stay in a houseboat? These are considered mini hotels.

-Also in Kerala, try Bamboo rafting.

Wagah Border Ceremony. Every night, India and Pakistan soldiers parade and lower their flags and the leaders shake hands. If it sounds boring, the cheering from both sides will surely motivate you.

-If you’re into Yoga or want to start, head to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Or the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Dharamkot. Himachal Pradesh & Arambol, Goa. (Dalai Lama’s residence is near here)

-Visit during February or March for the festival, Holi, in Uttar Pradesh, where people throw colour and water at each other to celebrate the Hindu God, Krishna. Beware if you are allergic to powdered colour!

-Mud Wrestling in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.

If you do enjoy scrolling for ten minutes, here is the link where I pulled these interesting things to do.

Extras

The airlines that fly to India:

Air Canada

Jet Airways

Lufthansa

Swiss

United Airlines

Rates start about $600 Canadian.

Indian currency

The Rupee

1 rupee = $0.020 Canadian

$1.00 Canadian = 51 rupees, as of today.

Published by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on January 11, 2018

5 Surprising Facts About Sangria

Just in time for festivities this Christmas! Why not enjoy a pitcher with your family and friends instead of the usual Egg Nog?

1. The word Sangria ha limited use on the labels in Europe. Since 2014, only sangria sold in Spain and Portugal can be labeled as Sangria. If it’s made elsewhere is Europe, for example, Germany, then is must be labeled “German Sangria”.

2. When we think of sangria, we think of wine, a handful of chopped fruit pieces, some fruit juice, that sort of thing. In Spain, they use Brandy. Imagine the taste of that!

3. Sangria, that new hip thing everyone is getting into, again? Well, it’s been around since the 1700’s. Back then it was referred to as Sangaree. Only since the New York World’s Fair, in 1964, re-introduced sangria, has it been known as the version we love today.

And of course, there has to be a story to go along with it. Due to its blood-like color, the name comes from the Spanish word for blood, sangre.

Here’s where is gets a little more complicated…

4. In 1736, British Gentleman’s Magazine mentions that a punch seller, in London, England, concocted a blood colored drink with the strong, fortified Madeira wine and called it Sangre. The origins point towards Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean. So far, it makes sense…Madeira is a Portuguese wine. Over the next 20 years, the drink somehow developed the name Sangaree.

It is said that Sangaree did originate in the Caribbean then later brought to America. This, too, would make sense if the wine was transported to the Caribbean and the locals mixed it with something sweet since they were more accustomed to sweeter tasting drinks.

Or did the experimenting begin outside the vineyards of Europe?

5. Various versions pop up in recipe books of the 1800’s, such as Jerry Thomas’ 1862 Bartender Guide or Miss Leslie’s 1840 Directions for Cookery (choose link Domestic Liquor) to find:

Sangaree:  Mix in a pitcher or in tumblers one-third of wine, ale, or porter, with two-thirds of water either warm or cold. Stir in sufficient loaf-sugar to sweeten it, and grate some nutmeg into it.  

This is not how we know Sangria, is it?

Make Your Own

Grab your favorite bottle of wine, a cheap one will do since you’re going to mix it. If you want to go traditional, get a bottle of Tempranillo.

Squeeze in the juice from a couple lemons and oranges. Drop the wedges in, too.

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 oz of Brandy.

Throw in your assortment of chopped fruit.

Let sit overnight.

Next day, add your preference: juice or club soda or both. Go extreme and toss in some bubbly white or rose or champagne!

Now, that we recognize today!

Bonus Fact: The mixing is endless. Did you know that a Peach Sangria is considered a Zurra?

Happy Sangria Day and go ahead and dress up your Sangria this holiday!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 20, 2017

 

 

 

A Guide For The Allergy-Ridden Wine Lover – Part 1: The Sweet Factor

Allergic to wine? Headache every time you have a glass? I hear ya. Those nasty, but delicious, ingredients can wreak havoc.

Let’s keep this short. One allergy/sensitivity, at a time. (Do you lose interest when  there is tons of reading to do? Scroll and scroll? ugh! Maybe I’m not as committed as you.)

First, A Bit of Science

What determines sweetness?

Yeast eats up the natural sugar from the grapes, or whatever fruit you are fermenting. If the yeast eats ALL of the sugar, it will be a dry wine. If the fermentation is interrupted, usually by chilling, some sugar will remain and be considered a sweet wine.

Note: Watch out for those cheap wines that add grape concentrate!

Sugar Content

What’s with the headache, already!

Could be the sugar.

The next time you end up with one, check the label.

3g is considered a low sugar content
3g is considered a low sugar content

How?

Your local liquor store displays the sugar content on the shelf label.

You can also google the liquor store site or the wine itself ahead of your purchase.

Psst: If you are also avoiding tannins, the Bourgogne Pinot Noir, pictured here, is aged in stainless steel vats- not oak barrels. Just sayin.

It might be easier to find low sugar in red wine than a white. But, they do exist. You don’t necessarily have to switch over to red but check labels and switch to a lower level of sugar content in your white. See if your head notices a difference.

Bone-Dry – 0 – 10 grams of sugar = Less than 1 calorie per glass

Dry – 0 – 10 grams of sugar = 0 to 6 calories per glass

Off-Dry – 10 – 35 grams of sugar = 6 to 21 calories per glass

Sweet – 35 – 120 grams of sugar = 21 to 72 calories per glass  ie: Moscato

Very Sweet – 120 -220 grams of sugar = 72 to 130 calories per glass ie: Icewine

Per glass = 5 ounces

Daily intake of calories per day

Women (moderately active): 2,000 to 2,200

Men (moderately active): 2,500 approx.

So, it’s a Friday evening and you’re out with friends for dinner. You’ve ordered the pasta primavera, chowed down on the complimentary salad and bread and washed it down with a glass of shiraz.

Calorie Count So Far: minimum 700 for food………120 for wine.

Someone just bought a round of vino for the table. Add on another 120 calories.

Did the guy next to you just say dessert? Damn. Another 200 calories if you chose the cheesecake!

Conversation is flowing and so is the wine. You order one more Shiraz. +120

An Irish Coffee would go REAL nice right about now. Squeeze in 87 calories.

What are we at? 1,347 calories.

Ladies, you have between 653 and 853 leftover. What did you have for breakfast and lunch?

Men, you have between a bit more space.

*Caloric examples are based on nutrition chart from East Side Mario’s.

I’m not trying to make you feel bad but if you’re wondering why you have a hard time shedding a few pounds, it could be that extra glass of wine or the high sugar content of your wine…..ahem, white wine lovers.

To help you minimize those calories, look for these wines:

Italian pinot grigio: Considered “bone-dry”, the residual sugar is less than 1 gram and less than 3 calories in a 5-ounce serving.

Cabernet Sauvignon: 3 grams, approx.

Rose: 7 grams, approx.

German Riesling: 14 grams approx.

Champagne: 12 grams approx.

Lakeview Icewine: 173g of sugar

Inniskillin Vidal is a whopping 256 grams!

The list could go on and on. When shopping, read the label. Remember, the staff is there to help.

Even the icewines contain sulphites so watch out for these as well. But that is for the next blog.

Please comment with your success on eliminating your headaches by switching to low sugar wines!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on March 2, 2018

 

How Did The Screwdriver Get Its Name?

As with many of the cocktails, you can expect at least 2 stories of how a drink was invented.

The Screwdriver is no different.

It is apparently one of the first vodka cocktails invented.

Fresh OJ, vermouth and gin
Freshly squeezed OJ makes a wonderful difference!

Prohibition caused the production of some vile tasting homemade alcohol so bartenders began adding fruit juice to spirits. Thus, the birth of cocktails.

We do know that the Screwdriver has been around since at least 1949 when Time Magazine published this quote on October 24:

“In the dimly lighted bar of the sleek Park Hotel, Turkish intelligence agents mingle with American engineers and Balkan refugees, drinking the latest Yankee concoction of vodka and orange juice, called a ‘screwdriver.”

Which Park Hotel do they speak of? India? Seems they’ve only been around since the 1960’s. Unless it was rebuilt.

Where did this madness start?

  1. Was it during World War II when soldiers snuck vodka into their morning OJ?
  2. Or when Mid-20th-Century oil workers in the Persian Gulf started mixing the same ingredients after a very long day? Lacking utensils to stir this mixture, they reached for the closest item that would work….a screwdriver.
  3. Perhaps it was the facial expression of someone drinking the vile tasting homemade vodka, during the Prohibition-era, that prompted the idea. Mixed with the need to disguise any talk of alcohol, the code word, Screwdriver, was put into use to mislead authorities. So that takes us to the 1920’s and 30’s before WWII and certainly before mid-Century!

Is it just me, or do they all seem like lame stories?

But, hey, what about this quote from Journalism quarterly, Volume 44 in 1938…. “And answered it “The famous Smirnoff Screwdriver”, Just pour a jigger of smirnoff vodka over ice cubes, fill glass with orange juice and serve.”

Could this GET any more confusing?

Then, in 1944, in Volume 23 of Newsweek, this was published:  “A Screwdriver —a half-orange-juice and half-vodka drink popularized by interned American aviators—costs a dollar including the customary barman’s tip.”

Smirnoff’s “Screwdriver” Campaign began in 1937 so that blows pretty much all of these theories out of the water, so to speak. Except for maybe #3.

However, I don’t see the Smirnoff website making any claims of inventing the drink.

That being said, let’s go with #2! It’s the earliest version that I can find. Know of an earlier story? I’d love to hear it!

Happy National Screwdriver Day!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe just for fun on December 14, 2017.

 

11 Scrumptious, And Oh So Dangerous, Ways to Enjoy Your Cocoa This Holiday Season

Why dangerous? Because you can barely taste the alcohol and the flavour is heavenly!

Thank you, Dave, at the Highlander Pub!

Have you ever wondered where cocoa comes from? We all know it’s from a bean. Not to be confused with the coffee bean, however. But before that? What does the bean look like before it is a bean? What does the tree look like?

It is possible that the cacao tree had been in use even before the Mayan culture, which dates back as far as 600 AD. So much more that some believe the Olmec civilization 3000 years ago first discovered the delicious fruit of these trees.

The Olmec people are presumed to originate from what is today the state Veracruz and, it’s neighbouring state, Tabasco, Mexico is where the Olmec people originate. The plant is native to in Central and South America and, today, still grows wild in Southern Mexico.

If you’ve never seen what a cocoa tree looks like, see how the cocoa pods are harvested and are turned into chocolate. First time I ever saw the true source of our chocolate bars!

In Central America? Be sure to visit the chocolate factory Hacienda La Luz.

All chocolate comes from the Theobrama cacao tree. Of this tree, there are 3 main types: Criollo, Forastero(the one with the bitter taste) and Trinitario.

Today, for National Cocoa Day, try warming up your Hot Cocoa with liqueur, if you dare!

Step 1: Make your cocoa.

Step 2: Take your pick of the following:

Kahlua.

Frangelico, maybe even with brandy or both.

Baileys, of course. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without this.

Peppermint Schnapps or Tequila or both.

Rum and Cinnamon Liqueur.

Vanilla Vodka and Baileys.

Bittersweet hot chocolate and  red wine. Since chocolate pairs so well with red wine, why not mix them?

Coffee Liqueur.

If you’re a fan of orange-flavoured chocolate, add grand marnier.

Amaretto. Again, because of it’s orange based flavour.

As an Irish Hot Chocolate: Baileys, Whisky and Guinness.

What’s your favorite liqueur to add to your hot cocoa?

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 13, 2017. 

 

How Healthy is Lager?

Pilsner version of lager

Beer in general ranks #3 as the beverage of choice behind water and tea. 187.37 million kiloliters of beer was consumed in 2012.

The Suds

Lager is one of the main types of beer and is made from malted barley. Lagers are generally pilsners, bocks and dopplebocks, Maerzens/Oktoberfests and Dortmunders. (DAB)

Lager, a lightly hopped beer, is made from bottom fermenting yeast. It is called this because it ferments on its way through the body of the beer and settles at the bottom once the process is done.

15th Century Bavarians discovered that the beer they stored in the winter time, within caves, continued to ferment. The end result was a lighter and smoother tasting beer.

Lagers ferment and age slowly at cool temperatures from 35 degrees to 55 degrees. Chemical reactions happen more slowly at low temperatures, thus making it a more stable, cleaner, non-fruity tasting beer. No wonder more lager than ale is produced every year.

Ales ferment and age quickly at warm temperatures.

According to Punchbowl.com, lager is the beer of choice over ale all over the world except in England.

Interesting Facts

Lagerung is German for storeroom. Therefore, if you hear the term lagered in Germany, well, it was stored in Germany. Google’s literal translation for storage is Lager.

Samuel Adams began a hops sharing program due to the shortage of hops in 2008. They will regulate how much each brewery gets, to avoid the devastation of any future shortage.

Beer had taken a back seat when it came to health benefits that seem so popular with red wine. A January 2015 study at the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that xanthohumol may slow the effects of dementia and alzheimer’s. This compound, found in hops, protects brain cells from oxidative damage which contributes to the development of these diseases.

Is there truth to this or just the beer conglomerates trying to keep their beer in the forefront by grasping at any health benefit in beer?

One thing for sure, beer is the only source of this compound. So if you believe the study, you may be considering incorporating beer into your diet. Like everything else in life: moderation is the key.

Beer is brewed at the White House. In 2012, Barack Obama began brewing beer using honey taken from a bee hive on the South Lawn.

In Gelsenkirchen, Germany, there’s a five-kilometer long beer pipeline that connects the bars inside the Veltines-Arena.

Under the stadium, there is a cooling center that can hold 52,000 liters of beer. The pipeline brings the beer up to the bars, 14 liters of beer per minute. The handy creation supplies the bars and restaurants with much needed beer to accompany the soccer games.

Raise a glass of lager today!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 10, 2017

 

 

How Life Changed After Repeal Day

I’ll be honest, I had to look this one up. Well, I look them ALL up. I don’t have these facts running through my head at leisure. What does Repeal mean?

A hint….if you’re not sure either.

Popularly known as the Volstead Act.

Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States at the time, along with American Congress passed this Amendment, outlawing alcohol….

THE 18TH AMENDMENT

RATIFIED JANUARY 16, 1919

“SECTION 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.”

Used, with permission, from http://repealday.org.

Enter the Speakeasy

To it’s benefit, alcohol consumption dropped in the days, and years, following the establishment of Prohibition.

As a result, cases of deaths due to Cirrhosis, in men, decreased from 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 to 10.7 in 1929.

State mental hospitals saw a decline in admissions for alcoholic psychosis from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1919 to 4.7 in 1928.

The  arrests police made for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct dropped by 50 percent between 1916 and 1922.

Then there’s the other side….the Speakeasies. They did exist before Prohibition but skyrocketed in popularity afterwards.

Reformists believed, during the Prohibition years, there had been an increase in child neglect and violence against children.

Hmm, makes you think alcohol is a coping mechanism?

Not to mention the lost revenue! The Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform and The Association Against the Prohibition Amendment claims $861 million was lost in federal tax revenue from untaxed liquor when $40 million was spent annually on Prohibition enforcement.

 On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became President of the United States. It didn’t take long for changes to be made to Prohibition….

THE 21ST AMENDMENT

RATIFIED DECEMBER 5, 1933

SECTION 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use there in of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Just to be clear, Repeal means to revoke or annul.

Did you know there are still countries still enforcing prohibition? Apparently, outlawing alcohol in Canada didn’t really fly – it lasted only 2 years – and was implemented due to the war.

Heart & Crown on Preston St., Ottawa

Why Celebrate This Day?

First of all, be thankful, if you live in a country without prohibition, you can enjoy a glass of wine or draught in public with your friends without getting arrested.

Other holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo are not even written in the American Constitution and they are vastly celebrated. The Repeal Amendment is a part of the Constitution so enjoy…. responsibly.

The 21st Amendment allowed for the continuation of traditional fermentation and distillation, that was so rudely cut off for 17 years prior.

This catapulted the American bartender into “culinary artist” status.

If it were still outlawed, chances are you would make sure you found a way to have one today.

Exercise your right, go ahead and celebrate National Repeal Day. Have your favorite drink after work….because you can!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 5, 2017.