Tag Archives: random knowledge

Evan Williams is America’s Oldest Whiskey

Louisville_Evan Williams DistilleryThe 1780s saw a great deal of Americans moving to the territory that would become Kentucky. In fact, Bourbon County gets its name from a widespread pro-French attitude following the Revolutionary War.

Mr. Evan Williams was not the first person to setup a whiskey distillery in this area, but starting in 1783 his company is the oldest to still produce the stuff. The man who founded Jim Beam would start 2 years later.

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Here Is Why You May Be Allergic to Gin

Iris_PurpleOrris is a chemical found in the root of the Sweet Iris (Iris pallida) and is used in cosmetics and perfumes to make the scents last longer. Additionally it is an ingredient in most gins.

Since Orris is also a common allergen people who are sensitive to cosmetics and fragrances may also be allergic to Gin.

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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.

Artichokes_Flowering

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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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Prohibition Exploded the Prison Population

America’s Prohibition did very little to stop its citizens from drinking. What it did accomplish in spades however, was turning tens of thousands of people into criminals.

From 1914 until the eve of Prohibition in 1920 the population of U.S. prisons remained between 4,000 – 4,800. Just 9 years later over 12,000 people sat incarcerated.

The constitutional act that made the country dry would be repealed 4 years later. What a waste.

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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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