How much do you know about alcoholic drinks? How much do your friends know about them? Challenge your friends with these surprising facts about alcoholic drinks.
1. There’s no worm in tequila. The ‘worm’ is in mezcal. And it’s not a worm but a butterfly caterpillar(1)
2. White wine can be made from red grapes.(2)
3. The amount of pure alcohol in a typical can of beer, glass of wine, or shot of spirits is the same.(3)
4. Hundreds of years ago, recipes for beer had such ingredients as honey, sugar, bay leaves, aromatics, poppy seeds, mushrooms, butter and bread crumbs.(4)
5. No alcohol beverage can be over about 190% proof (or 95% alcohol). At a higher proof, the beverage self-dilutes by drawing moisture from the air.(5)
6. The foot treading of grapes is still used in making small amounts of some expensive Port wines.(6)
7. All spirits, unlike beer and wine, are completely colorless when first made. Their colors comes from from aging in oak barrels.(7)
8. It takes about 600 grapes on average to make one bottle of wine.(8)
9. About twenty percent of all wine consumed in the world is sake.(9)
10. Every bottle of Champagne has an estimated forty-nine million bubbles.(10)
11. It can take forty years for vintage Port to reach full maturity.(11)
12. All 13 of the minerals needed for human health and life can be found in alcohol beverages.(12)
13. Abstaining from alcohol greatly raises the chances that people will suffer heart disease.(13) See Alcohol and Heart Disease.
I knew it:
14. Alcohol does not destroy brain cells. Your teacher was wrong. In fact, the moderate consumption of alcohol Drinking in moderation is associated with better cognitive functioning (memory and thinking ability) over time.(14) See Alcohol and Heart Disease.
15. People who drink in moderation tend to be healthier and live longer than those who either abstain or abuse alcohol.(15)
16. Drinking in moderation does not appear to contribute to weight gain.(16) See Drinking Alcohol & Weight.
17. Abraham Lincoln had a liquor license and sold whiskey before becoming President.(17)
18. Distilled spirits include whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila, and gin. They have no carbs, fats, or cholesterol. (18) Learn about the content of other beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, at Nutritional Labeling.
19. There’s a cloud of alcohol with enough alcohol to make four trillion-trillion drinks. But it’s about 10,000 light years from Earth.(19)
20. Johnny Appleseed distributed apple seeds across the U.S. frontier. People didn’t want to grow apples to munch. They wanted them for their juice. They fermented it to make”hard” cider.(20)
21. As they age, white wine gets darker and red wine gets lighter.
22. The first major whiskey distiller in the U.S. was also its first President, George Washington.
23. Early colonialists in North America made alcohol beverages from what was available. Thise included tomatoes, goldenrod, onions, carrots, corn silk, squash, celery, beets, and dandelion.
24. Sloe gin isn’t gin at all. It’s a liqueur made with sloe berries (blackthorn bush berries).
Now you know 24 surprising facts about alcoholic drinks! Have fun with them. Share them with your friends.
1. Limon, E. Tequila: The Spirit of Mexico. NY: Abbeville, p. 34.
2. Johnson, H. Wine. NY: Simon & Schuster, p. 19.
3. The facts of beverage alcohol equivalence are recognized by federal agencies. They include the FDA, DOT, DOE, HSS, CDC, USDA, NHTSA, NIAAA, TTB, U.S. Surgeon General, and the U.S. Pub Health Serv. Private groups include Am Dietetic Assn, Nat Coun of Alco and Drug Dep, Nat Con League, and MADD.
4. Femand. Capitalism and Material Life, 1400-1800. NY: Harper, p. 167.
5. Mingo, J., and Barrett, E. Just Curious, Jeeves. Emeryville, CA: Ask Jeeves, p. 269.
7. Limon, ibid.
9 Bryson, B. The Mother Tongue. NY: Morrow, p. 15.
10. McCarthy, E. Champagne for Dummies. Foster City, CA: IDG, p. 35.
11. Ford, G. Wine, Beer and Spirits: the World’s Most Versatile Health Foods, in press, ch 14.
13. Ronksley, P., et al. Association of alcohol consumption with selected cardiovascular disease outcomes. Brit Med J, 324, 671.
14. Elias, P., et al. Alcohol consumption and cognitive performance in the Framingham Heart Study. Am J Epid, 150(6), 550-589;
15. Ellison, R.
16. C. Does Moderate Alcohol Consumption Prolong Life? NY: ACSH, p. 108.
17. Kahn, H. S., et al, Stable behaviors associated with adults’ 10-year change in body mass index and likelihood of gain at the waist. Am J Pub Health, 87 (5), 747-754.
18. U.S. Dept Ag nutrition tables, p. 15.
19. Elliott, P. 100 Proof. NY: Penguin, p. 28.
20. Elliott, id, p. 13.
21. McNie, M. Champagne. London: Faber and Faber, p. 109.
22. Ten Facts about Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon.
23. Mendelson, J. and Mello, N. Alcohol. Boston: Little, Brown.
24. Roueche, B. Alcohol in Human Culture. In: Lucia, S. (Ed.) Alcohol and Civilization. NY: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 167-182.