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Brews You Can Use

I should've called this entry "Miscellaneous Rambling: Day Three." I had a backlog of BYCU-worthy entries for the past couple of months, but now find myself dry. I've had to do something I really don't like to do: surf the Internet for content. * * * * * * * Believe it or not, the vast bulk of what I post to TDE is stuff I independently find interesting. What I mean is, I read it in a book or stumble across it and like it, without regard to whether it makes good blogging material. I then make a note of it for possible future posting to TDE. * * * * * * * But today? I have to artificially surf for alcohol content. * * * * * * * A random surf for vodka news reveals that there are even more flavors of vodka coming on the market, including cucumber-lime, from Burnett's. If you're not acquainted with Burnett's, it's a favorite among college kids. Well, at least college kids in Ann Arbor, who drink it by the gallon and refer to it as "Burnasty." * * * * * * * Some dudes are also now making vodka from sugar beets. I don't think it's beet-flavored. It's just vodka made from beets. * * * * * * * Vodka can be made from pretty much anything. Wheat is the most common, probably followed by corn, at least in the United States. I think potato might be the second most common vodka in Europe. A friend of mine gave me a bottle of the Polish potato vodka "Chopin." It was excellent. * * * * * * * Of course, I always mix my vodka, so I can't really appreciate good vodka, but I mix my drinks strong, so quality does seem to make a small difference. * * * * * * * No less a connoisseur than Frank Kelly Rich at Modern Drunkard Magazine says quality of liquor makes little difference. Because I greatly enjoy Rich's prose, I'll let him explain it himself, in this article about throwing the ultimate wingding party:

A Word about Switching Liquors
“Good food and good wine are not matters of money but of manner,” said the astute Mr. Brillat-Savarin and he was dead right, for reasons he would most likely deny if he were alive. Just because your pocketbook can't support the presence of expensive liquors does not mean you cannot appear to have superior booze on hand. While this is entirely illegal in bars, pouring cheap liquor into expensive bottles is entirely acceptable when you're giving it away. It is also quite illuminating. Human beings put much more stock in what they can see than what they can taste. A study conducted in the 1970s conclusively proved that the vast majority of drinkers cannot tell the difference between good hooch and bad, especially when a label is leading them astray. And because the drink is free, it will automatically taste better.
This maneuver will not only save you a great deal of money, it'll prevent the heartbreak of watching an acquaintance you can barely tolerate sink six bucks of good scotch right in front of you.
Of course, there are limits to your subterfuge: Substituting Old Sergeant for Jim Beam is safe, switching with Johnny Walker Red is risky, trying to pass Sarge as The Glenlivit is bound to fail. If someone does mention the liquor tastes off, deny everything. Tell them you may have let the bottles languish in the beastly heat of your trunk too long. Tell them your cousin Ian sent the bottle directly from the town where it's distilled, and it's merely the extra freshness that's disturbing their palate. Tell them anything but the truth.
Another sound strategy is to buy a set of cut glass decanters (readily and cheaply available in thrift stores). There's nothing like a little faux crystal to transform rotgut into top of the line.
If you do find it in your little black heart to serve expensive liquor, keep the bottles separate from their more pedestrian cousins. Perhaps even tastefully display them atop a silver tray in a dim corner of the kitchen. This provides a velvet-rope effect, lending an aura of exclusiveness that will cause the less confident–usually strangers–to think twice before helping themselves. Thus leaving more for you.