Inebriation and Intoxicants

Smirnoff Leaves You Breathless

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

Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 24, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Advertising, 1950s, Alcohol

Open Concept Bar

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.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 09, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Restaurants, Alcohol

Hallucinogenic giraffe livers

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

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 11, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Drugs, Psychedelic, Inebriation and Intoxicants

Cheese Whey Wine

cheese whey

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, and here's an article about an effort to make whey beer.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 05, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Food, Inebriation and Intoxicants, 1970s, Alcohol

Even Can’t Literally Cocktail

The Yuzu bar in Lakewood, Ohio is offering a new "menstrual-themed" cocktail to help raise money for a local women's shelter. From their facebook post:

It's that time of the month-- time for a new menu that is-- like this new cocktail-- Even Can't Literally / a berry #margarita thoughtfully complimented with a tampon applicator garnish / also $1 towards every purchase of this drink go to a donation fund for a #cle area women's shelter.

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 17, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Body Fluids, Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

Grasshopper Beer

Offered by Benchtop Brewing Co. of Norfolk, Virginia. The name of the beer is Chapulin Exchange, but the star ingredient is grasshoppers, as well as chipotle peppers and lime zest. The brewer won't say exactly how many grasshoppers each beer contains. But whatever the number is, I'll pass.

More details:

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 11, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Insects and Spiders

Gold-Fermented Champagne

Here's a new thing for rich people to spend their money on! Winemaker Leclerc Briant has announced that it's producing the world's first-ever champagne that will be fermented and aged in a gold barrel. In fact, it's apparently the first wine of any type to be aged in gold. It'll go on sale in 2021.

But why gold? The winemaker explains in an interview with

Explaining the reason for trialling a gold-coated barrel – which [head winemaker Hervé Jestin] admitted was “very expensive” – he said it was due to the metal’s unique solar properties. Commenting that there is “a resonance between solar energy and the wine”, he told db that the use of gold would, he believes, “increase the level of solar activity during the first fermentation”. He also recorded that “gold makes a connection with cosmic activity” – an important part of biodynamic principles – while noting that the wine stored in the gold-coated barrel was “completely different” to those from the same plot that had been fermented and aged in other types of vessel.

In response, the folks at noted that they "struggled to understand how the gold would affect the fermentation, other than providing an inert and impermeable container for the process."

Of course, it probably won't change the flavor at all. But it's gold, so it will certainly affect the price!

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 27, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Overpriced Merchandise

Miller Vortex Bottle

Many of you might remember the Miller vortex bottle. Its selling point was that the neck was ribbed on the inside, which supposedly allowed the beer to pour out faster. Apparently there just wasn't a large enough community of speed drinkers who cared about this to allow the vortex bottle to be much more than a passing gimmick.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 17, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Inebriation and Intoxicants

Drunken Walking

drunken walking is beginning to get the attention it merits. The problem appears so intractable that federal Department of Transportation officials have allocated $370,000 this year to study how and why this type of accident occurs.

Actually, although it sounds odd to study the problem of drunken walking, I wouldn't want to trivialize the problem. There was a case just recently here in San Diego of a young college student who decided the quickest way home from the bar was to walk across I-8. She didn't make it.

Tallahassee Democrat - Jan 1, 1994

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 13, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Weird Studies and Guides, 1990s

Miller Clear Beer

One of the most notorious marketing failures in the beer industry: Miller's decision to create a beer that not only tasted like water, but looked like it as well. It was an outgrowth of the "clear craze" of the 1980s and 90s (making transparent products because, as wikipedia notes, "clarity was equated with purity and freedom from artificial dyes").

Staunton News Leader - June 27, 1993

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 29, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Products, 1990s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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