Tag Archives: Spirits

How Much Rum Would You Have Drank in 1655?

Through the 17th century Rum became a big enough product that it influenced the function and politics of many countries.

This might seem a bold claim for a spirit that today ranks about 3rd on peoples’ list of favorites spirits. However, by 1655 the island of Barbados alone was producing 900,000 gallons (3.4 million liters) annually.

Each English colony in the Caribbean made an obscene amount of money making Rum. However, the Spanish colonies were forbidden to export rum, so they never made any. Out of fear of Rum taking over, the Spanish wine industry convinced the king to adopt this law, and this is why the real Captain Morgan did not drink Rum!

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Whiskey Barrels, Angels, & Science

Whiskey barrels hold 53 gallons (200 L). While distillers may fill their barrels with this much, they will never retreive 53 gallons of whiskey at the end of the aging.

Barrels for aging spirts are tightly sealed, but they are not meant to be airtight. Each year that a spirit ages it will lose between 2 – 12 percent of its volume.

Before modern science could explain this phenomenon people assumed that angels were sneaking down and sampling from the wares. They named this curious happening The Angels’ Share. Today, we call it Evaporation.

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Drink with Your Dog™ at Colorado Breweries

Beer and dogs each have a knack for lifting our spirits. So what could be better than the double-knack approach of enjoying a few beers in the company of friends and our pups?

Instead of merely training your dog to sit, lay down, & stay Colorado-based Summit Dog Training takes a 3-pronged approach to create an atmosphere that is helpful for brewery staff, safe & comfortable for your pooch, and informative for other dog trainers.

Firstly, they offer training not merely for dogs, but for waitstaff at dog-friendly breweries. In this phase they teach staff members the principles of dog behavior, dog safety, and how to avoid making dogs feel overwhelmed in a potentially hyper-stimulating environment.

Next comes the owner-dog training where dogs learn habits for behaving in public, and people learn to take control of their pups there.

Finally, they offer training for other dog trainers who are interested in spreading the Drink with Your Dog™ movement. Hopefully some in Illinois take up the call!

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Nothing Beets Sugar

You may want to sit down and take in this shocking piece of news very carefully: Americans love sugar. We consume literally 100% of the sugar that our country can make, and then import a bunch more.

In fact, 55% of all the sugar produced in the U.S. comes from Beets, and not Sugar Cane. Rectified & neutral spirits are made with this sugar.

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Dis.Filipino Still

The ancient Aztec civilization started making alcohol over 1,000 years ago. While they came up with a rice wine called pulque on their own, distilled spirits would not arrive until the conquistadors showed up.

The conquering Spanish introduced crude filipino stills to Mexico. They employ an underground fire, a hollwed tree trunk, and a copper pan to distill alcohol.

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The Bottom 1%-ers

In 1946 Vodka made up less than 1% of the alcohol that Americans were drinking. By 1965 it would become the nation’s top selling spirit.

Before WWII (1941-1945) whiskey had reigned supreme as Americans’ favorite liquor. However, rationing of raw ingredients through and for several years after the war dramatically diminished the production of recreational alcohol.

Since whiskey generally takes 4 years to make—whereas vodka can be ready to drink in less than a week—Americans turned to other spirits, as whiskey would not be plentiful for many years.

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Alotta Booze

For Super Bowl LI in 2017 Americans spent $1.3 billion on beer & cider, and a combined $2 billion on wine & spirits.

Here’s hoping you find a fun Super Bowl party, and do not have to be one of the 17.2 million people who call in sick the day after! And if your modern hangover cure has not been working, check out the ancient Aztecs’ remedy.

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Talk About Pulp

Do you like pulp in your orange juice? How about pulp, skins, stems, and seeds in your grape juice?

Grape-based pomace liquors utilize such material leftover from the juicing stage. Bagaceira (Portugal), Grappa (Italy), Marc (France), Orujo (Spain), Trester (Germany), and Tsikoudia (Greece) all employ grape-pomace in their making.

Pomace refers to the skins, stems, seeds, & other pulp of grapes after juicing. Grappa is one of several spirits made from Pomace.

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