Tag: gin

The Gin Craze Continues

Plus a description of the different types of gins

I’m still on my gin kick. Heck, it might just become a regular thing, though beer is beginning to sneak back into my repertoire.

I might get acupuncture. It supposedly can treat gastritis, which is why I can’t drink beer. If acupuncture can cure gastritis, enabling people to drink beer again, I’m guessing the acupuncturist charges $10,000 an hour.

But until then, I’m staying mostly with gin.

I just really enjoy its subtle flavor differences, which is something I didn’t get when I was on my vodka kick.

I believe the vodka enthusiasts when they say there’s a difference between, say, Grey Goose and Smirnoff, but I can’t taste it, even if I sip it neat. I think I could detect a little grape in Ciroc, but I’m not sure. In order to get a “tasting experience” from vodka, I had to use a variety of bitters, which is a hobby I enjoy and will continue to pursue.

But for mixing a simple cocktail? Gin and tonic is great. It tastes good and you can taste the difference among the gins, even if the difference is pretty subtle.

Rolling Stone just released a list of “Gins to Try Now” article. It notes that the gin craze is still going strong, explains why, and lists several high quality gins (number one is Hendrick’s, which is a solid choice, especially its Midsummer Solstice, which is probably the best gin I’ve ever tasted, though a pink gin I tried at the Eagle and Child in Oxford, England, really blew me away).

The article also contains highly useful introduction to the different types of gins, though it omits “western” gins (which are “fruit forward” gins, which push different aromas over the juniper base).… Read the rest

Parliament Created the 18th-Century’s Great Gin Craze

“[N]oe sort of Brandy Aqua vite or other Spirits or distilled Waters of any Kingdome Country or place whatsoever shall after the said foure and twentyeth day of August be imported into the Kingdoms of England or Ireland . . .”.

If you read the Wikipedia entries about England’s Great Gin Craze, you see descriptions about how bad it was and how Parliament passed a series of acts to stop it.

But you see scarcely any references to the series of Parliamentary Acts that caused it in the first place.

Let’s look at England at the end of the 17th century.

It had a new royal family in the form of William of Orange, who usurped James II’s throne in the 1688 Glorious Revolution.

William was not universally liked, especially among the Jacobites, who never stopped scheming to get James Stuart II back on the throne.

William was also not liked by the French, whom he bitterly fought in the War of the Grand Alliance and who worked with the Jacobites to get the Stuarts back on the throne.

William, in turn, hated the French and so did his supporters in Parliament.

What better way to strike at the French than to ban trade with them, including a prohibition on its brandy? And so that’s what happened, almost immediately after taking the throne by the passage of the Trade with France Act of 1688, which took specific aim at French brandy (the most popular liquor in England at the time).

“The Howards . . . the Cavendishes, the Cecils, the Russells, and fifty other new families . . . rose upon the ruins of religion.” Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State.

At the same time, Parliament passed the Distilling Act of 1690 that authorized anybody to distill spirits. This created … Read the rest

Black Wednesday Arriveth

You can pick up that nifty shirt at this site.

Of course, it’s too late to get the shirt this year, but heck, everything is too late this year. We should’ve had Black Wednesday in October, before the newest wave of lockdowns occurred.

Me? I thought about defying Michigan’s order, but I’m not. I’m having a handful of people stop by, but due to the various times they’re stopping by, I should be in compliance with the order at all times. My goal is to have a drink with as many different friends and family without doing so irresponsibly.

For good measure, though, I’ll have the windows open and air purifiers cranking.

I was going to play my Spotify “Garage Rock Elite” playlist, but it promises to be a more laid-back affair, so I might go with my “Mellow” list. We’ll see.

My “Garage Rock Elite” playlist has a bunch of songs I’d never heard. A partial list:

“Demolicion,” by Los Saicos (for fans of Peru punk garage rock from the 1960s),

“Don’t Ring,” Come on In, by The Ding-Dongs,

“Tall Cool One,” by the Kingsmen,

“Chicken Half,” by the Sugarman 3,

“Older Guys,” by the Flying Burrito Brothers,

“Rudie Can’t Fail,” by the Clash,

“Brand New Cadillac,” by the Clash,

“Subterranean Homesick Blues,” by Harry Nilsson

“I’m No Count,” by Ty Wagner,

“Voodoo Cadillac,” by Southern Culture on the Skids

If your favorite Black Wednesday watering hole is shuttered by the science, crank these songs out, pour yourself a whiskey, and jam quietly by yourself. If you want the entire playlist, the Spotify playlist (“Garage Rock Elite”) is under “eric.”

And maybe you can enjoy those tunes in your garage.

The weather is unseasonably warm in most areas, and it keeps you in the fresh air, where … Read the rest

How Much Liquor Can You Drink with COVID?

That’s the question that faced me last night.

I have COVID. I am in quarantine, along with Marie and our two youngest kids.

I’m enjoying it. Max, the kid who tested positive, and I have made major headway on TDE (we hope you are enjoying the new features). I’m enjoying my semi-victim status: no one expects much of me while I’m (oh so) stricken. I’m writing, reading, and gardening . . . a lot.

The effects haven’t been bad. I had a nagging headache for a few days that briefly turned into a pounding headache (and, to be honest, its intensity freaked me out a little bit), but that lifted yesterday. And I’ve been fatigued, sleeping over ten hours a day.

Otherwise? A cough here and there, a few sniffles.

But for Max’s positive test result, I would’ve thought I was just growing old.

So Marie prevailed upon me to have a few drinks last night.

I was hesitant. For starters, I didn’t want to bring back that headache. And secondly, I figured it wouldn’t be good for my COVID battle, which I’ve been waging relentlessly with a lot of lemon water, electrolytes, Vitamin D, and green tea.

So, I went to the Google Machine. Shocker: Every story on the first-page search results cautioned against drinking during the COVID pandemic.

Every. Single. One.

Not a single story like, “A gin and tonic might help with COVID anxiety,” or “Two glasses of wine every night is good for your heart and the same antioxidants might help with COVID.”

No, just dire warnings like this one:

Alcohol is known to be harmful to health in general, and is well understood to increase the risk of injury and violence, including intimate partner violence, and can cause alcohol poisoning. At times of lockdown

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The Great London Gin Craze

William Hogarth, “Gin Lane” (1751)

Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum.

G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

For years, I foolishly assumed GKC disapproved of hard liquor, or at least gin.

I don’t think that’s the case. Rum, for instance, plays a central in his entertaining frolic, The Flying Inn.

But he counseled moderation in drinking, as evidenced by these famous words from Orthodoxy: “We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them” (even though it’s not always clear to me whether he followed his own advice in this regard).

Gin in Moderation?

Gin had a history of immoderation in England, staring with a gin craze that took hold of the country in 1720 (it was first made available with the Glorious Revolution in 1688).

The narrative of the gin craze is incredible.

By the mid-1730s, there were 8,659 gin shops in London, where 5.5 million gallons were purchased in 1735. The sheer number of distilleries cast a nasty fog over the city.

It was cheap, so it was the drink of choice for beggars and vagrants, but also of women. It was known as “the ladies’ delight.”

Children drank it too. Mothers gave it their babies to keep them quiet. Older children drink in gin shops until they couldn’t move. Drunk and destitute girls (as young as 12) sold themselves as prostitutes.

Men and women died in the gutters from drinking too much.

When Parliament passed laws to discourage its consumption (raising taxes on it and requiring a costly license to sell it), speakeasy-practices became rampant. Informants were beaten to death by mobs.

The laws didn’t quell the craze much, but it started to calm down in the 1750s.

Why?… Read the rest

1,800 Pumpkin Beers Can’t be Wrong

The poor man’s beer that hipsters drink today

orange pumpkins on table
Photo by Valeriia Miller on Pexels.com

I knew pumpkin beer had become “a thing.” I didn’t realize it had become a huge thing: Beer Advocate lists 1,800 brands.

That’s quite a growth from 1985, when the first modern pumpkin beer was brewed in California and greeted with bemused condescension.

I say “modern” beer because pumpkin beer in America goes back a long way. That 1985 pumpkin beer? It was apparently crafted from a recipe used by George Washington himself . . . he of the deathbed conversion to Catholicism (a legend that will never be proven or disproven).

Pumpkins were easy to grow in America and kept well, so they were a mainstay of the diet. They also became a mainstay in beer among the poor who couldn’t afford more traditional ingredients.

But as evidenced by George Washington’s use of beer (George was hardly poor), pumpkins were used by many brewers. A lot of traditional ingredients simply weren’t available in the New World, so brewers had to get creative, as evidenced by this verse from the 1630s:

If barley be wanting to make into malt,

We must be content and think it no fault,

For we can make liquor to sweeten our lips,

Of pumpkins, and parsnips, and walnut-tree chips.

Lender and Martin, Drinking in America, p. 5.

Degenerates and Cows

I miss beer. Due to my gluen intolerance, I had to give it up, but I think my vegan-weighted diet has given my system a little break when it comes to gluten. I think I’ll try a pumpkin ale.

There’s nothing like winding down with a good beer. Wine does the trick just as well, too, but for some reason, a mixed drink doesn’t. They’re all good for

Read the rest