Inebriation and Intoxicants
In order to become a member of the Flagon and Trencher society
, one has to satisfy the following rule of eligibility:
Those persons, either male or female, who can prove direct descent from an individual who conducted a tavern, inn, ordinary, or other type of hostelry prior to 4 July 1776 (within any of the the American Colonies that existed at that time).
According to their website, the society was founded in 1962 by Walter Lee Shepard and the late Kenneth Stryker-Rodda. As of 2002, they had more than 1000 members.
There's a $200 fee to apply to join. But if you apply and can't satisfactorily prove descent from a colonial barkeep, you'll only get a portion of that fee back.
As reported in the April 17, 2002 issue of The Lancet:
A 44-year-old man presented in May, 2001, with muscle cramps. He had no medical history of note, but volunteered the fact that he had been drinking up to 4 L of black tea per day over the past 25 years. His preferred brand was GoldTeefix (Tekanne, Salzburg, Austria). Since this type of tea had given him occasional gastric pain, he changed to Earl Grey (Twinings & Company, London, UK), which he thought would be less harmful to his stomach. 1 week after the change, he noticed repeated muscle cramps for some seconds in his right foot. The longer he drank Earl Grey tea, the more intense the muscle cramps became.
After 3 weeks, they also occurred in the left foot. After 5 weeks, muscle cramps had spread towards the hands and the right calf. Occasionally, he observed fasciculations of the right adductor pollicis and gastrocnemius. Additionally, he noted distal paraesthesias in all limbs, and a feeling of pressure in his eyes, associated with blurred vision, particularly in darkness...
The patient assumed that there was a relation between his symptoms and his tea consumption, and stopped drinking Earl Grey after 5 months, reverting to pure black tea again. Within 1 week, his symptoms had completely disappeared. Symptoms also remained absent if he completely withdrew from tea, which he did in the nature of experiment, for about a week. He found that his symptoms did not recur as long as he consumed no more than 1 L of Earl Grey daily.
When last seen in November, 2001, neurological examination, nerve conduction studies, and electromyography were normal. He was still drinking 2 L of plain black tea daily (his entire fluid intake), and had no complaints.
The moral of his story is that 2 liters of tea a day is apparently fine. But 4 liters is asking for trouble.
Mason's wine essence was non-alcoholic. But even so, it seems a bit odd that it was marketed as a children's drink.
I can't find a description of what, specifically, it was. Although, by the name, I'm assuming it was wine that had been reduced by slow boiling to a syrup. By then adding water to the syrup, one could make a non-alcoholic wine.
Circa 1900 - via Advertising Archives
T.P.'s Weekly - Dec 22, 1905
Fans of mile-high drinking can now get a taste of the same experience at home thanks to the new American Airlines Wine Club
. For $99 a month, members get three bottles of some of the wines served inflight shipped to them each month.
I'm sure it's good wine. For $33 a bottle, it better be. But it seems to me like a weird extension of the American Airlines' brand. Although as an economy flyer I associate air travel with misery and discomfort. Perhaps if I flew first-class I'd feel differently.
via Retail Therapy
I spotted this beer while visiting an international food market in my neighborhood and was intrigued both by the name and by the image of a woman with a giant lobster on her back.
Further research reveals that it's a Lithuanian beer, and it receives pretty bad reviews on beeradvocate.com
, such as the following:
The taste is of sweet grain. The 9.5% abv shows. It tastes like a mediocre cheap malt liquor (at best).
Somewhat creamy despite noticeable alcohol and rather unpleasant character,
I don't see any connection to lobster. Whatever.,,,
Back in 1971, Melvin Baker offered a novel defense for why he shouldn't have been charged with drunk driving. He was, he said, too drunk to have made an intelligent decision about whether to submit to the breathalyzer test — the results of which led to him being charged. He apparently argued this case all the way up to the New York Supreme Court.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat - July 7, 1971
Details about this case are hard to come by, but this other brief article offers an explanation for why Baker persisted with his seemingly hopeless argument. Because if he had refused to take the test, he would only have had his license suspended. But having taken the test, and failed it, he also faced criminal prosecution. So it was all an elaborate, legalistic ploy to get the lighter penalty.
Long Beach Independent - Sep 7, 1971
1958 ad campaign for Smirnoff Vodka. The ad copy about "breathless" drinkers who are "on the vodka wagon" makes me think of wheezing, out-of-breath drunks.
San Bernardino County Sun - Nov 6, 1958
Miami News - Oct 16, 1958
San Antonio Express - Sep 23, 1958
The Open Concept bar
, recently opened in St. Louis, Missouri, doesn’t sell drinks. Instead, it sells time. Buy an hour’s worth of time at the bar, and you can drink as much as you want in that hour. The price is $10/hour for basic drinks, $20/hour for premium ones.
Sounds like a bargain! But how does the bar plan to make money? Well, it turns out there actually are some limits to how much alcohol they'll serve you. From St. Louis magazine:
Anyone who’s ever attended a wedding might be wondering how you keep an open-bar concept from getting out of control. Butler says he’s put a few safety measures in place. When patrons book their time at Open Concept, they create a profile and are assigned a confirmation code, which is used to place drink orders at the bar. Bartenders will only serve one drink per person at a time, and a proprietary point-of-sale system will track consumption. Butler says the system will scan driver’s licenses and use a patron’s height and weight to assign a number of drinks per hour to keep the bar in compliance with legal limits.
In other words, you can't actually have all you can drink in an hour. But what's the limit? It seems like they're being coy about that. I'm guessing it's about two drinks per hour. So, in essence, you're pre-paying for two drinks.
It's possible that the livers of some giraffes might be hallucinogenic when consumed. Although the claim is controversial.
The idea was first introduced into the scientific literature in 1958 by anthropologist Ian Cunnison
, in an article published in the obscure journal Sudan Notes and Records
Cunnison had spent time with the giraffe-hunting Humr tribe of Sudan, and he reported that after a successful hunt they would often consume a drink called umm nyolokh
made from the liver and bone marrow of the giraffe. Cunnison didn't try the drink himself, but its effects, as described to him by the Humr, seemed to be hallucinogenic, Here's the relevant passage in Cunnison's article:
It's noted on Wikipedia
that, if the reports from the Humr were accurate, “this claim would make the giraffe the first mammal to be discovered to contain a hallucinogen in its bodily tissues,” However, Cunnison himself was skeptical, suggesting that the perceived effects might be “brought about subconsciously.”
Cunnison’s article didn’t attract much attention until 1998, when Richard Rudgely discussed it in his Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances
. Rudgely was far more willing to believe that the giraffe livers really were hallucinogenic.
Since then people have speculated that the giraffes in Sudan might have been consuming plants, such as Acacia trees, that contained psychoactive substances, which then concentrated in their livers.
But to date, to my knowledge, the issue remains entirely speculative because no one has gone to Sudan to find and test some of this umm nyolokh
Members of the Humr tribe skinning a giraffe after a hunt.
Source: Sudan Notes and Records
The cheese-making process produces a lot of whey as a by-product — whey being a watery, yellowish-green liquid. For most of history, cheese makers simply threw out the whey, usually in the nearest river. But eventually the cheese industry began to wonder if there was anything they could do with it to make some extra money.
One possibility was to dehydrate it into a protein powder that could be fed to livestock, or bodybuilders. But in the mid-1970s, researchers at Oregon State University hit upon a potentially more lucrative use: making wine out of whey. They detailed their study in a pamphlet titled “Utilization of Cheese Whey for Wine Production.”
The reason this was possible is because the lactose in whey will ferment, if one uses the right microorganisms. The end result was a whey wine that, according to the researchers, "was acceptable to a great majority of tasters, who preferred it slightly sweet.” Which doesn't sound exactly like a glowing recommendation. Nevertheless, the researchers were enthusiastic about the potential of whey wine:
The U.S. cheese industry is in most urgent need of a development of whey by-product that would not encompass relatively expensive processes for water removal. The fermentation of sugar-fortified whey by selected wine yeast and the production of an acceptable whey wine may represent a “near ideal” solution for the whey disposal and utilization dilemma of the U.S. cheese industry. The production of an acceptable wine by whey fermentation may be the means of transposing a “cost of doing business” into a “profit opportunity.”
It doesn't seem that their dream of raking in the big bucks with whey wine ever panned out. The idea of whey-based alcohol products is still kicking around, however. Various gins and vodkas made from whey can be found, such as Bertha's Revenge Irish Milk Gin
or Sheep Whey Gin
. But I can't find any wines being made from whey.
There's more info about whey-based spirits at SevenFifty.com
, and here's an article about an effort to make whey beer.