Tag Archives: knowledge

Plants Can Do More Than Make Booze

Sometimes we get so caught up in one specific function of a plant that we forget what else it does. If you like adding Sugar and/or Rum to your coffee, then the sugar cane is a miracle plant!

However, if you refrain from turning the sugar cane into booze, then it comes to produce a soft purplish-white & arrowhead-shaped flower.

Artichokes do the same thing but in a much more flamboyant way. Here is what the artichoke looks like when it flowers.


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Potatoes are from Peru

In 1809 the Polish publication The Perfect Distiller and Brewer declared that potatoes make for the worst quality of Vodka. Unlike the starches in Cereal Grains (barley, wheat, rye, etc…) the starches in Potatoes do not easily convert in to the sugars that yeast can digest.

By the way, Potatoes are native to Peru. They did not become a mainstay in Europe until the mid 1700s—just 60 years before the above scathing review of Potato Vodka was published.

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The Old Fashioned Cocktail Originally had a Confusing Name

As David Wondrich argues in Imbibe! the evolution of the cocktail began with the simple combination of alcohol & medicinal herbs, and ultimately culminates in the Old Fashioned: humanity’s first true cocktail.

Today we refer to it as an Old Fashioned, but originally when you wanted to order one you would ask the barkeep for a Cocktail. As time went on bartenders fiddled with the recipe and fancied it up in a thousand different ways.

When persnickety ‘Cocktail’ drinkers grew tired of the new manifestations of their favorite drink they would order an, “Old Fashioned Cocktail, dadgumit!” Later on the word cocktail would come to refer to any mixed drink.

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