“Using sulphites are one way to kill the natural yeast that is naturally present in apple juice. An added yeast that has been cultured is then added to create a more standardised product and reduces the risk of spoilage and waste for the producer.”
If you are trying to make your own cider, be careful not to purchase a base cider that has chemical preservatives (sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate). These will kill the yeast and it will not ferment.
The process of pasteurization affects the flavour of cider as well. Usually this is through heat, but “cold pasteurization” is another option.
However, this process involves gamma rays. Sounds like an unhealthy way to go. I would likely choose a homemade version.
On that note, there are gluten free beers if you just can’t live without the taste of a cold brew on a hot day. Some breweries will use gluten free grain to produce their final product. Others, such as the Brunehaut, de-glutenize during the brewing process.
As far as sulphites in beer go, it looks like they can be present naturally during the fermentation process but as a practice, breweries do not deliberately add them.
Up And Coming Gluten Free Beer
Estrella Damm Daura – Spain. This beer has won the Superior Taste Award of the International Taste & Quality Institute of Brussels 3 years in a row. Visits to the brewery are allowed. This is the only beer of these 5 that are available at the LCBO in Ontario.
Green’s – Belgium. They brew 9 different gluten free beers ranging from pale to dark. A great option for it’s healthy, ancient grains such as sorghum, millet and brown rice which contain 3 times higher the amount of zinc found in barley.
Omission – A brewery in Oregon specifically crafts all of their beer to be below 20ppm of gluten. (parts per million)
Brunehaut Bio Blonde – Belgium. It’s also an organic and vegan product.
New Planet – Colorado. 3 out of their 5 products are 100% gluten free: Pale, Blonde and Raspberry. Seclusion and Tread Lightly go through the process of de-glutenization and they cannot guarantee it’s complete removal.
Another way beer is morphing is at the Mill St Pub with a newer addition of Barley Wine.
This version is aged in whisky barrels so keep in mind it will have tannins.
With all the eccentric mixes and new brews, don’t forget the classics….
With Clamato Juice
With Ginger Ale
And the best way to have a beer?
With a Margarita!
How about vodka and fruit juice? Well, ok, that’s not a classic version but it sure looks good! See LCBO for recipes.
New opinions on the benefits of beer can be found everywhere. Some even say moderate consumption can be healthy. Go figure!
In the 1700’s, the United States struggled from financing the American Revolution so the government placed a federal tax on liquor and spirits.
Not taking too kindly to this tax, Americans continued to make their own whiskey without paying the tax. The war that just ended was supposed to free them of the British taxes. Why would they be happy about a new one?
For those making their own whiskey, it was their livelihood, not a hobby or a way to cushion meager incomes. This was their income. If farmers had a bad year for crops, they used the corn to make whiskey. The sales from their moonshine made it possible to survive and feed their family. If they paid the required tax, they couldn’t eat.
They even fought off the federal agents who came knocking, going so far as to tar and feather some of them.
The American People established a Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 and stormed Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George Washington’s army dispersed the mob and captured the leaders, putting an end to the rebellion.
They were not deterred. The production of moonshine continued across the United States, especially in Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolinas.
Nor was the government deterred from upholding the taxes on alcohol which led to legendary gun fights.
The government needed more money to fund the Civil War when it broke out. Their battles with the delinquent taxpayers increased. Moonshiners and Ku Klux Klansmen joined forces and stepped up their methods of intimidation. They attacked IRS officials and their families and anyone who might reveal the location of the hidden whiskey stills.
The early 1900’s saw the beginning of the laws that banned alcohol sales and consumption. Once 1920 hit, Prohibition swept the nation. You couldn’t get your hands on any legal alcohol.
The demand for moonshine went through the roof. Production went into high gear. To keep up with demand, distillers did whatever they could to increase profits. They added sugar and watered down their moonshine.
Speakeasies and organized crime touched every city, every state in back rooms and basements. Some were built on a pier for easy access of shipments through the floor. They crafted secret rooms, rotating shelves, trap doors, fake walls, secret passages, camouflaged doors, and emergency disposal shafts.
Club 21 in New York, fashioned collapsing walls and revolving bars so the doorman could alert them of an oncoming raid. All of the liquor would be hidden from sight. Their secret passages led to the basement of No. 19. Authorities never found alcohol on their premises! Club 21 is still in operation at 21 West 52nd Street, New York.
Why was it called a Speakeasy? From the phrase, Speak Easy, Man which means lower your voice. Or it could have been from the ‘speakeasy’ in the door, to announce yourself.
In 1933, Prohibition was repealed and the demand for moonshine dwindled. The production of moonshine continued but on a much smaller scale even into the 60’s and 70’s. Today, you don’t hear too many stories of it.
If you ever come across a lil brown jug with 3 X’s on it, it was likely used for moonshine. One X for each time the liquid was distilled.
American Prohibition Not The First?
Long before the American Prohibition, England had its own run-in with government bans on alcohol in the 16th Century. The term Moonshine is said to have come about from the late night excursions to avoid the law. The product: Moonshine. The Movers (bootleggers): Moonrakers.
Speaking of terms, it’s also called hooch, mountain dew, white lightning. Other unusual names are corn in a jar, blue john, bush whiskey, donkey punch and popskull.
Where Did The Term Bootlegger Start?
During prohibition, people could walk across the border from Maine into Canada with a couple of bottles hidden inside their boot.
Where Is Prohibition Still In Effect?
According to wikipedia, there are a number of countries enforcing prohibition. Afghanistan, Bangledesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, some states in India, Libya, Kuwait, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somolia, to name a few.
United States 1920-1933
Canada 1918-1920. But not Quebec. Apparently, Canadians liked their liquor too much, it only lasted 2 years!
Faroe Islands 1907-1992
Russian Empire and the Soviet Union 1914-1923
And the award for the shortest prohibition period goes to……..
Hungarian Soviet Republic March 21 to August 1, 1919
Visit any local spirit distillery and chances are they will have an unoaked whiskey/whisky aka moonshine sitting on their shelf.
Where To Get It, Legally!
North of 7, in Ottawa, produces White Dog and packs a good punch. You want to be careful with that stuff! Yet, strangely, kind of tasty. At least now it’s off my bucket list.
Dillon’s, in the Niagara region, produces a white rye among other flavoured liquors.
Distilleries are not hard to find near your city or town, they are everywhere nowadays.
Just make sure you get your Hooch from a reputable source. Impurities, such as methanol alcohol, gather at the top of the batch so the first cup should be tossed by the distillers. You may want to stay away from the backwoods distilleries just in case they don’t perform this task.
No disputing this fact: Whiskey comes from Scotland. There’s more to it, though. No surprise there.
You may have noticed different spellings for the spirit. Whisky is referencing the spirit that is distilled in Scotland, Canada, Australia, Japan and Europe. Whiskey belongs to Ireland and America.
Irish immigrants brought the extra ‘e’ with them to the United States in the 1700’s and has held that spelling ever since.
There are more differences than just the spelling of their liquor.
Scottish distilleries use malted barley in their production. Ireland uses the same but they will add different grains to theirs so it is not pure malted barley. Why, you ask?
Ireland has been a poorer country than Scotland and malted barley is expensive. To be economical, Irish distilleries will use cheaper grains as well. American whiskey distilleries are also very different because of the variety of their grains grown in such fluctuating climates and different soil conditions.
There is also a difference in the distillation process between the 2 countries. Scottish whisky is distilled twice. Irish whiskey is distilled 3 times. Distilling this third time produces a lighter and smoother tasting whiskey. If you find this liquor on the strong side, see if Irish whiskey is any easier to swallow.
In Ireland and America, short, fat, large stills with a round base are used for distilling and creates a softer drink. Scotland distilleries use many different sized and shaped stills.
Scottish distilleries will use peat when drying the malted barley which gives their spirit a smokey flavour. Believe me, it’s a very smokey after taste. Campfire buffs will love it! Different peats, and how long it is used to dry, will all have a different effect on the final product. Ireland and America use fuels, such as wood, leaving the spirit lighter.
There are only 3 distilleries in Ireland. Midleton produces Jameson’s, Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew and Midleton, as well as Cooley, Connemara, Kilbeggan, Locke’s and Tyrconnell)
Glenturret is the oldest distillery currently in operation, since 1775. However, Littlemill opened in 1772 but is now closed down.
If it’s called Scotch Whisky, it will be from Scotland. And there are plenty of them! At our local LCBO, there are approximately 40 different brand names of Scottish Whisky, compared to 15-20 Irish and a little less American brands. Scots rule!
The first one opened in the late 18th century in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
There are 7 distilleries located in Kentucky but the one in Bourbon County is now closed. These are Bernheim, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.
In nearby Tennessee, the 2 distilleries, George Dickel and Jack Daniels, are in major operation.
Single malt whisky, I’ve discovered, have a distinct taste of their own. A preferable one, actually. After taste testing a few, these have the smoother flavour, no bitterness that makes you shiver as it makes it way down the gullet.
It is differentiated by the fact that the barley is distilled at one distillery and matured and bottled. Whereas, other whiskys are blended at different distilleries and mixed with other whiskys of different ages.
The popular Forty Creek is Canadian made, with the distillery in Grimsby, Ontario in the Niagara region, and plenty of new distilleries pop up all the time.
Now when you are choosing a whiskey/whisky you will know, by name, where they are from.
Now, you just need to choose the type. Single malt, bourbon are a couple, and probably the better ones.
After sampling American, Irish and Scottish, we agreed on the bourbon, with it’s smoother taste. And were disappointed at the loss of the Ottawa Senators to the Pittsburgh Penguins. There’s one more to go!
This special drink has no name yet but it’s made with bourbon, cognac and a wine called Lille and packs a smooth punch. It’s a must try at Ace Mercado.
Well, sort of. In 1586, English privateer, Sir Francis Drake, lead his men to Havana where things took a bad turn.
The good news? They managed to steal a pile of gold.
The bad news? Many men suffered from malnutrition and scurvy, leaving the entire crew stranded in Havana.
Knowing citrus aided in the prevention, Sir Francis Drake sent a small party of men to shore to find some natives who could direct them to medicinals to administer to the sick men. They arrived at Matecumbe, Florida which is roughly in the centre of today’s Florida Keys.
The concoction they brought back to ship was made up of chuchuhuasi bark soaked in distilled sugar cane juice (rum), then mixed with lime and mint. Voila, El Draque.
The good news? They became well again.
The bad news? They continued to plunder and pillage.
To England, he is a hero, to the Spanish, he is a pirate.
Moral of the story?
We can be grateful to those who paved the way for the vast array of cool drinks we have access to today. By the way, which drink does Drake’s 1586 brew most resemble?
And why the name cocktail?
Apparently, the crew drank the mix from a long spoon with a cocktail handle. An image of this type of spoon brings up a bartenders mixing spoon which only holds about a teaspoon. I would doubt a teaspoon of El Draque would amount to much healing. My guess, they used something that resembled a ladle. The real question is why is the handle of this spoon called a cocktail?
Whether this story is the true origins of the cocktail drink, no one can really know for sure. As with many drinks, there are conflicting stories of who made the first one. This is no exception. Let me continue…
In 1731, James Ashley ran a Punch House in London, England and claims to have made the first cocktail, or rather, punch.
A recently opened Punch House in Chicago features pre-made punch served by the glass, by the carafe or, if you’re a larger group, by the punch bowl. Hmm, gives me an idea for Rum Punch Day.
Sadly, there are no Punch Houses in Canada. Pity.
Another story features Antoine Peychaud, of New Orleans, as the originator of the cocktail. Peychaud served mixed drinks in a coquetel, French for an egg cup. It was difficult for the English to pronounce and instead referred to it as cocktail.
Peychaud Bitters is produced in the States but not in Canada. Perhaps they are promoting their product with this story which may or may not be true. If anyone has any proof, please share.
In the end, google translates coequetel to cocktail. No matter where it came from or who started it, the result is a tasty and refreshing drink, just in time for summer.
A number of hands went into the making of the cocktail as we know it today so cheers to you while you enjoy your cocktail on National Cocktail Day.
What will be your cocktail of choice this season? Need some ideas for something new? See The Cafe Royal Cocktail Book or have some fun with the 1930 version of The Savoy Cocktail Book located on the sidebar.
If you’re looking for a new taste, visit your LCBO and pick up the new Bacardi Raspberry and mix it with any fizzy drink. Let your imagination run with it.
Also new on the scene is Luxardo’s Bitter Bianco which is made up of cardamom, rhubarb, quinine, bitter orange, and three secret herbs to give it it’s aromatic scented and slightly bitter, citrus-y flavour. Luxardo developed this liqueur to rival red bitters. Similar flavour but clear in colour. It is most popular mixed with vermouth but there are plenty of recipes available.
Hot off the heels of Bock Beer Day, is yet another Beer Day. Much like the Wine Days we get throughout the year, expect to see more on beer as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a beer fan but I am developing an appreciation for the production of it.
We have a wealth of local breweries, using organic produce, at our fingertips here in Ottawa so wherever you live, I would be sure you have one near your back door.
The use of local produce such as grains, is growing fast. Lucky for us, restaurants, grocery stores, distilleries and vineyards are increasing their availability of organic products. Many local farmers, where these grains come from, are registered with Canadian Organic Growers so you know you’re drinking, and eating, healthier.
You don’t have to venture far to find them! Most Metro Food Stores carry their products which include pancake batter, purple corn chips and various whole grain flour, to name just a few.
I’ll be using their purple corn chips for all of my nachos now since I’ve discovered their great health benefits.
“Studies indicate the antioxidant, anthocyanins, found in purple corn, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, inhibit abnormal cell growth, promote collagen formation, and improve circulation.” –Source
Be sure to watch the Pancake Testings! The link is under the ‘extras’.
Their pancake mix also contains purple corn meal, the great antioxidant. If you’re at a loss of how to use any of their products, they provide over 30 recipes for entrees, desserts, pastry and bread here.
Specializing in corn products, they offer chemical-free and preservative-free grain of different coarseness. The family-owned farm is located east of Alexandria at the Quebec border.
As I browse each Ontario Organic Farm’s websites, I find something unique with each one. Some farms make furniture or woven sheep blankets, some provide guided tours or education programs, cooking classes or offer volunteer programs.
If you’re interested in learning how to grow organic food, grain, etc, the Canadian Organic Growers is offering courses in Ontario and BC. The Ottawa course has been postponed to 2018.
Our own local breweries are increasingly popular. When visiting some of these establishments, it was hard to have extended conversations with proprietors due to the steady traffic of customers. And this is mid-week!
All I can say is, Way to Go Ottawa, for choosing local!
It was a tad chilly that night so I rushed in to the Lowertown and the first thing I noticed was that delicious aroma of freshly burning wood, real wood, and wondered where it came from. Apparently, I walked right by it on my way in. Did I mention it was cold?
The Awesome Barkeep, Matthew, at Lowertown Brewery helped me figure out which kind of beer is best suited to my taste. Despite how busy it was, he kindly took the time to answer my questions, explain the science of beer and let me sample 6 different flavours. All of this in between serving his customers. What a pro!
Matthew helped me discover that I like non-bitter type beers which turns out to be their Dark Lager. Go figure. Never thought I would be the Guinness type. Like my wine, I like them smooth!
Many pubs offer “Flights” of beer, or wine, to sample various flavours. I highly recommend ordering one of these, share with a few friends, and discover your preference.
Might I add that the Lowertown store is open until 11pm. So, if you’ve missed the shut down of the King Edward LCBO at 10pm, you still have time to grab a couple brewskies on your way home.
At Beyond The Pale, the frontman is very helpful and gracious, despite the steady traffic. They sell their cans in packs of 4 at the Hamilton Street facility but you can find singles at LCBO.
I was able to sample 4 different beers but didn’t care for any in particular. This means nothing because it’s not my drink of choice. For those who prefer beer, you will certainly find a brew you like. It’s quite clear they are popular.
Tooth and Nail offers 3 samples of your choice. I particularly requested non-bitter flavours but did not find anything that compared to the Dark Lager at Lowertown. It’s not just a distillery. The pub is full sized and was busy enough to not be able to have a conversation with any of the staff. Again, mid-week. I couldn’t even ask why they are named Tooth and Nail.
They, as well, stay open beyond the regulatory LCBO hours, except on Sundays.
Keep in mind that most local breweries are closed Sundays, some on Monday as well, as it is their brewing day. For sampling, best to visit them Tuesday to Saturday.
Mill St Brew Pub offers guided tours at certain times of the day yet my research team were served the royal treatment by Jeremy. Open for about 5 years, he has
been working there for the last 4, he knows every beer inside and out. There seemed to be no limit to the sampling. They brew 4 different flavours on site, the rest are produced at the Toronto location.
Again, my favorite was a dark beer, the Cobblestone Stout. Could have something to do with the chocolate content. Mill St originally started as an organic brewery back in 2002 and has grown to cover every spectrum of flavour from citrus to chocolate to chamomile.
If you sidle up to your local pub, chances are pretty good you’re going to find the Mill St logo if not one of their beers. I’m noticing more of the smaller micro-breweries popping up on the drink menus, too.
As far as brew pubs go, I highly recommend BDT – Brasseur Du Temps – in Gatineau. Beautifully located by the water on the historic site of the first brewery in the area, their unique style and attractions keep me going back. For your seating, choose the side bar that overlooks the factory and the kitchen. Before you leave, visit the museum below where they house antique artifacts of beer production. It keeps the same hours as the pub and you’re free to browse.
It’s a must see!
Why No Mention Of Standard Beer?
We spend all week trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle when it comes to our food or cleaning products then by Sunday morning we’ve undone all the good we’ve accomplished by having a few drinks Saturday night with friends or family.
Alcohol is metabolized by the body differently than food. It bypasses the digestive system, is absorbed into the body and goes straight to the liver. Your liver is the main fat-burning organ in our bodies so if you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol will deter this. Your liver chooses to metabolize the alcohol first before it tackles any fat cells. Your liver also removes toxins so if it’s overloaded with alcohol, it has a hard time eliminating the toxins which can lead to rapid aging, loss of libido and other conditions.
Do You Know What You’re Drinking?
Beer, being in 2nd place after water and tea as a favorite beverage, is not required by law to label their ingredients on their products. Check your beer bottle or can. Calorie levels and alcohol content are only sometimes on the label. They are under no obligation to disclose their ingredients to anyone.
I couldn’t encourage anyone to ingest anything that is unhealthy which is why I am restricting this to organic.
The government regulates what can and cannot be present in beer. Lucky us, this is the list of “Legal” Ingredients Allowed in Commercial Beer:
MSG – an addictive mixture of sodium and amino acid glutamate which can cause headaches, facial pressure, numbness, tingling, chest pain, nausea and heart palpitations.
Propylene Glycol – also found in anti-freeze.
Calcium Disodium EDTA – made from formaldehyde, sodium cayanide, and Ethylenediamine.
Sulphites and anti-microbial preservatives – have been linked to allergies and asthma.
Natural Flavors – can come from anything natural including a beavers anal gland. (Still convinced you’re drinking the right beer?)
BPA – Bisphenol A is a component in many tin can liners and it may leach into the beer. BPA can mimic the female hormone estrogen and may affect sperm count, and other organ functions.
Animal Based Clarifiers -Findings include isinglass (dried fish bladder), gelatin (from skin, connective tissue, and bones), and casein (found in milk).
FD&C – Made from petroleum, linked to allergies, asthma and hyperactivity.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Carcinogens – Newcastle beer apparently heats ammonia and sulphites under high pressure which creates carcinogenic compounds in the caramel coloring they add. These compounds are known to cause cancer and tumours in rats and mice. – See the Full List
So, if you want to maintain the healthy lifestyle you work so hard for, look for non-GMO and additive-free food and alcohol products.
Still not convinced? The few commercial beers available without GMO’s are Heinekin, Sierra Nevada and Amstel Light.
My next beer will definitely be local, organic from the tap. However, I’m not rushing out for one. I’m completely beered out – a big thank you to my beer testers for helping me not to consume too much. You know who you are and you rock!
What Else Can You Do With Your Beer?
Once you’ve found a good organic beer, you can do more than just drink it!
Butterflies and slugs are attracted to it. So if you want more butterflies and less slugs leave some leftover beer out in the garden.
Rinse your hair with it to benefit from the Vitamin B and natural sugars to add body and shine. It will help increase vitality, resilience and hold.
Remove stains by pouring some on coffee stains, blot and it should come out.
Marinate meat and mushrooms but you probably know this one already.
Polish your copper pots.
Beer vs Prostitution.
They say the oldest profession is prostitution well…beer making may be the oldest! Apparently prostitution is estimated at 5,000 years old. Beer is estimated to be 7,000 years old, originating in Iran. Some even say it began 12,000 ago.
What Caused The London Beer Flood?
In 1814 London, 570 tons of beer, equivalent to 1 million pints, exploded from a vat that had too much pressure build up. 8 people lost their lives in that huge mess. “Not only did the brewery escape paying damages to the destitute victims, it received a waiver from the British Parliament for excise taxes it had already paid on the thousands of barrels of beer it lost.” – Source
In the Middle Ages many other mixtures of herbs were added to beer for bitterness and flavour prior to the use of hops. These mixtures are referred to as gruit, beer produced from botanicals. Hops were cultivated in France as early as the 800s. The oldest surviving written record of the use of hops in beer is in 1067 by writer, Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, Germany: “If one intends to make beer from oats, it is prepared with hops.”
What Are The Hops For?
We’ve all heard the term but how does it affect beer. Hops is the flower from the cone-like hop plant. A member of the hemp family, a hops vine grows to about 7 feet tall in just a few months.
Once compressed for beer making, it is a green pellet ready to add bitterness to the sweet tasting malt to create the perfect balance.
Different types of hops will have different levels of bitterness. It also acts as a preservative.
The first documented use of hops is from 7th Century Europe in Germany in the Hallertau region.
Close to one of every two beers worldwide is brewed with one of the more than 20 types of Hallertau hop.
Hallertau is a region in Bavaria, between Nuremberg and Munich, where plenty of breweries can be found.
Or make it easy on yourself and take the tour. Be sure to catch at least one castle!
Hallertau is the world’s largest hop cultivating region. If you’re so inclined, watch this quick 3 minute video on the cultivation, filmed in Bavaria with it’s fields and fields of hop gardens.
Whether you’re here or there, enjoy a brew today! See you next time! Cheers!
How on EARTH can this be connected to travel and drinks?
Earth, being part soil, is the blood and nutrients for our plants. The fruit of some plants are distilled into liquor and voila! we have organic beverages.
So Today, This is the “Organically Grown Travel By The Glass” Way
With the increasing desire for organically grown and non-GMO produts, distilleries and vineyards are contributing to the cause by reducing or eliminating additives for a healthier product.
The basic guidelines that are followed when producers claim Organic:
We are avoiding these chemicals because they don’t make us feel good. If you get headaches from red wine, despite staying hydrated, it could be an allergy to something in the wine.
It could be the chemicals. Try organic wine and test the results.
It could be a product that ends up in the liquor naturally. For example, sulphites, in wine, are chemicals used as preservatives to prevent browning and discoloration in foods and drinks.
Are you the type to have a headache after one glass of wine? Sulphites are not the culprit. More sulfites are generally added to white wines than red wines and most headache sufferers complain after drinking red wines. Sulphites can cause asthma symptoms.
The 3 main evil reasons you might experience a headache when drinking wine
Evil Factor#1: Tannins – naturally found in grape skins, stems, seeds and oak barrels. These antioxidants are also found in dark chocolate!
Try this test to see if you’re sensitive, or allergic to Tannins:
Brew a cup of black tea, lettting it steep 5-10 minutes longer than usual.
Drink. If you get a headache, you know you’re sensitive to tannins since black tea has alot of tannin.
If you are sensitive to tannin, also avoid walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate, cinnamon, clove, pomengranates, grapes, acai berries, red beans and quince (a pear shaped fruit usually found between October and January in ethnic markets, if you’re lucky)
Sadly, these would be your wine options:
Choose a red with low tannin such as Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Grenache, Merlot, Barbera and Primitivo. Or cut out red altogether – I shudder with the thought.
Choose white wines instead especially the ones that have not been aged in oak barrels since the wood will create tannin.
I’m very thankful I don’t get headaches from reds in general.
Evil #2: Sugar
When alcohol and sugar are combined, a headache can happen if you’re not properly hydrated. The extra water is needed to help process both substances. If you’re lacking hydration (#1 reason for headaches), you body pulls the necessary water it needs from other parts of your body-head included. When the liquid in your head starts to deplete, a headache starts. A way to prevent this? Avoid sweet dessert wines, ie ice wines semi-dry and cheap wines. They have much higher sugar content. Cheap wine producers add sugar during fermentation to boost alcohol. Choose dry.
Evil #3: Histamines
Recent research has found that food and drinks that have been aged, such as dry aged meats and red wines, can cause our body to release histamines. Histamines are chemicals that are released when we have an allergic reaction and can cause that runny nose, dry eyes and headache.
If you know this is the reason for your headaches (you’ve ruled out Evil 1 and 2) and you’re serious about getting into that bottle of wine, take a histamine blocker, ie: Claritin, to prevent one.
Evil #4 Tyramines
Tyramine constricts then dilates blood vessels and Sauvignon Blanc and Charddonay are lowest in this chemical. Tyramines are found in aged foods ie: cheeses and meats.
To sum all of this up, when choosing an organic wine, choose one with low or no sulphites. Avoid the oak barrel flavouring if you find you’re sensitive to the tannins. And drink lots of water! Hopefully this helps you kick your headache issue.
Who Is Making Organic Alcohol?
There are approximately 2000 producers of organic wine and organic liquor and the numbers are on the rise.
I discovered many organic producing distilleries but Tru Organic Vodka’s “going green” conscientiousness goes beyond their liquor. They use less glass products and what glass they do use is all recycled. They’re not done yet….They use synthetic corks, soy-based ink and packaging that turns into a shelf!
Tequila Alquimiaboasts 39 gold medals at spirit competitions. They produce organic tequila with no added chemicals or flavorings. Their distillery is located in Camarillo, the town next to my father’s. If anyone is interested in purchasing a bottle, I could bring some back on my next trip there.
The closest we can get to these actual brands is the United States so let’s see what our LCBO carries:
Toronto based distillery, Toronto Distillery Company, produces organic spirits made from wheat, rye and corn. Their soil is rich in nutrients-if you’ve ever noticed how red the soil is near Toronto. LCBO carries their Wheat and Gin versions. Organic alcohol tends to be a bit pricier, for example, a 750ml bottle of Smirnoff costs $27.25 when TDC’s shelf price is $39.50 for a 375ml bottle.
It is a healthier choice in most cases. For those who indulge in more than 1-2 drinks per month, it might be worth considering organic. However, you’re defeating the purpose plus you’ll still have a bleeding hangover if you’ve had 10 glasses of organic wine.
Brand new on the scene is Last Straw Distillery in Concord, Ont. Restrictions and regulations are the biggest challenges a start up distillery in Ontario faces. Last November, Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, introduced Bill 70. This includes a 61.5% sales tax for retail stores owned and operated by Ontario’s distilleries. Ontario wine is taxed at 6.1%! British Columbia taxes by the litre which doesn’t hurt the smaller-producing distilleries. As their production increases so will the province’s revenue. No surprise there are many popping up in BC lately. I’m going to get all political on you, maybe even a bit Trump-ish, by saying, “Hello, Ontario Government, new distilleries will create jobs and revenue for our province, as it is doing in BC!” A small distillery, in it’s first critical year, is not taxed in BC for its first 50,000 litres produced. We all know Ontario would gauge, gauge, gauge until they were forced out of business.
Ontario distillers are now allowed to market their products at LCBO, however, the distillers fork out the costs of distribution. LCBO still applies its full 140% markup to the products. “The LCBO makes more margin on small micro-distillers’ offerings than on anything else they sell – so much for supporting local!” says Greg Lipin, co-founder of North of 7 Distillery in Ottawa.
Read the full report from Last Straw. They’re not looking for handouts only fairness between their industry of spirits and the beer and wine industry. Book your free tour during regular business hours.
North of 7 is a new Ottawa distillery with a conscience. They keep it local, additive free and they are involved in charity work. Almost all of the grains used are from Alexandria, Winchester and some from Wakefield. The Winchester farm, Against the Grain, supplies only organic produce and the juniper they find in Alexandria which grows wild and naturally. They’ve been hard at work producing their first whisky which will be ready this May, after 3 long years! There is a White Dog version at 62.5% alcohol! Ahem, moonshine to some, gut rot to others but, aside from the powerful punch to the system, I thought it had an interesting taste. Only available at their store since it is the rye straight from their still.
Please offer your support and drop in for a tasting! You’ll be pleasantly surprised and you’ll help to keep them operating!
Store hours: Noon-5pm Monday to Wednesday and a bit later for the rest of the week, closed Sundays. Located at 1733 St. Laurent Blvd
“For each bottle of Leatherback Rum sold, a portion is donated to the Canadian Sea Turtle Network– a charitable organization based in Halifax that is working to conserve endangered sea turtles in Canadian waters and abroad.” – North of 7
The owners, Greg Lipin and Jody Miall, genuine entrepreneurs, are avid rock-climbers and bourbon lovers. They are living their dream…they own a distillery and Coyote Rock Gym right here in Ottawa. Greg was the first one to open a rock climbing gym in Ottawa in 1992. Jody joined later on.
My sons and I, personally, have gone rock climbing and can say it is a very cool experience!
After speaking with Jody last week, I was surprised to learn their products on-site are no cheaper than what’s charged at LCBO. License to sell obviously means it must be sold through the liquor board so they get their cut, too. He says there is slight improvement in red tape but the taxes charged by the Ontario Government is still heavily unbalanced.
3 other ways to celebrate Earth Day the Travel By The Glass way:
Hmm, this took some thought.
If we are encouraged not to use our car to keep the air cleaner, then we are free
to have a couple of drinks at the corner pub.
Get your own garden growing. You’ll have truly organic parsley, thyme, basil, mint, yes, mint for your Mojitos!
Be a tourist in your own neighborhood. Walk, don’t drive. You’ll notice things that you usually drive past.
We get another Earth Day on April 22 so if you miss this one, use this link to see what’s going on next month.
Today is the first Earth Day which is celebrated every year at the Spring Equinox on or around March 21st when night and day are exactly the same length of time. This one is organized by the Earth Society Foundation. The foundation was founded by John McConnell, a conservationist who worked at a plastics factory and saw the environmental damage it caused.
The 2nd Earth Day, on April 22, is organized by the Earth Day Network. Both were launched in the spring of 1970. 20 million people participated in activities on that day 47 years ago.