Everyone we know is familiar with the concept of "beer goggles" - that moment when your reproductive standards plummet after a few drinks. We've always wondered exactly what calls it, and sort of just chalked it up to "booze impairs your judgment" and left it at that. The judgment thing, after all, explains why we're much more prone to get into trouble after half a bottle of gin than half a bottle of iced tea, right?
Turns out that might only be the half of it, and the real culprit could be symmetry. Yes, we know, you've never elbowed your buddy in a bar and said "check out the symmetry on that girl," but the truth is, you're definitely factoring it in, even unconsciously.
A recent study in the journal Alcohol has found a reason why some of us might find people we normally would consider ugly to be handsome: we stop noticing facial symmetry.
Symmetry probably isn't a feature that you'd list as a must-have when dreaming up your ideal man or woman, but we tend to find more symmetrical faces to be the more attractive ones, possibly because symmetry is an indicator of good genes and good health.
Ever since we did our initial story on the canned blackout that is known as Four Loko, we can't stop hearing about the stuff. Is it just perception, like when you get a new car and suddenly see them all over the roads, or is there some kind of media saturation going on with the stuff? Either way, that's not what we're here to talk about. We're here to talk about the fact that even though it's being banned six ways from Sunday, people have figured out how to make their own blackout juice.
That's right - the folks over at BuzzFeed have made their own homebrew Four Loko, involving watermelon Jolly Ranchers, caffeine pills, malt liquor, Sprite and energy drink. In other words, pretty much exactly what we would have thought the real stuff contains, if we'd ever stopped to think about it. Check out the recipe and watch the results of their blind taste tests with the real stuff here.
Oh and also - if you're contemplating making the stuff for yourself, maybe the "honest advertising" video from College Humor after the jump will help you make the right decision. Thanks to interns Tom and Andrew for letting us know about these two awesome pieces of Web history.
Never heard of high-alcohol, caffeinated beverage Four Loko? We hadn't either. But apparently college kids are hearing a whole lot about it, and drinking the pants off it for a couple reasons. The first is that it's cheap. The second is that it comes in flavors that sound like something you'd order at a nine year old's birthday party. To Wikipedia!
The drink is available in nine flavors: Citrus, Grape (Uva Berry), Fruit Punch, Orange Blend, Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Lemonade, Cranberry Lemonade, and Lemon Lime. It is sold in the US in a 23.5 oz aluminium can, as a caffeinated, alcoholic, malt beverage. Its alcohol content varies from state to state, ranging from 6% ABV in Indiana up to 12.5% in Ohio.
Intern-on-the-street Andrew has supplied us with an article from Chronicle.com about the stuff, and he offers his own summary:
The story takes a dark turn when you find out Ramapo College (in NJ) has banned it from campus due to its popularity and dangerous side effects deeming it "blackout in a can". Overall, the author of the article seems not to know whether he wants the piece to serve as a serious warning or a comedy routine (given the frequent use of ridiculous Animal House-style quotes by moronic students and the section lower down subtitled 'Liquid Crack').
We think the appeal/danger/horror of this drink can be summed up by the following quote from the article, from a student who has obviously lost a firing synapse or two:
"Every time I drank it I got, like, a blackout," says Alex. "Now I usually just drink beer."
Yes, beer, the cause of and solution to all life's problems - luckily no one has ever blacked out from that. It's fairly obvious the drink is being aimed at college kids and maybe even high schoolers, who are only chasing the buzz and have not developed any real taste for good booze yet, and that's pretty shitty.
However, as consenting adults who are also constantly chasing a buzz, we can only say - if you pick some up, spot us a few cans of Fruit Punch and a Cranberry Lemonade. We'll pay you from our allowance.
That's right, kiddies, our fearless Editor in Chief will be getting on a plane tomorrow to head to Sin City. He'll be there a couple days, and in between bouts of blackjack and bedspins (kidding) he'll be attending a "shot drink showcase" being held by Harlem Liqueur. If you haven't heard of Harlem, it's a Dutch kruiden liqueur named after Haarlem, a town outside of Amsterdam.
We haven't tasted Harlem yet, but the reviews say it's similar to our beloved Jagermeister, but with more of an orange vibe. According to the info we got, "Over the past month, HARLEM® in connection with The Tasting Panel has challenged the finest bartenders across the country to go head to head in the quest for the best 2 oz. drink using HARLEM combined with innovative ingredients of their choosing." And we get to go to Vegas to be part of the final showcase of said 2 oz. (read: shot) drinks.
Harlem is imported by the same folks who brought you the Ketel line of vodkas; you'll notice Ketel makes its way into the drink recipes below. Check them out, and we'll make sure to keep you updated on the blog, on Twitter, and probably on Facebook too (yes, we're attention whores...errr, dedicated to keeping you informed).
We're not sure if we're supposed to tell anybody yet, but Liquor Snob is going to be the Foodista featured drink blog for September 15. What's Foodista, you ask?
We didn't know much about it before this honor was bestowed on us, but apparently it's like Wikipedia for food and drink - and we're joining an esteemed crew of drink bloggers who've been featured. How bout'cha?
Liquor Snob's Editor in Chief was interviewed a while back about liquor and hip hop, and we recently were tapped for another Q&A about our Pickle Back Challenge. We enjoyed talking about the trials and tribulations of that review, but if you take just one thing away from our site, please let it be this: stay away from pickled egg brine.
...liquor blogger Jake Jamieson has tried this with commercial brands, recently taste-testing several store varieties. "It kind of intrigued me because it sounded just so disgusting," he says.
The pickled egg brine was a tactical error. But other brines worked out fine. His favorite was Claussen New York Deli Style Half Sours, which turned out to be "pretty excellent."
Full article at ABC News, including info about the Picklet (pictured), another pickle juice-related libation.
That's right, our very own Editor-in-Chief was interviewed recently about the connection between liquor companies and hip hop, and he's pleased as punch (not to get too street on you) to be included in the story. He also said that "according to Mos Def, Hennessy is runnin' this rap shit," but apparently that didn't make it to print.
To Jake Jamison, editor of the blog liquorsnob.com, these associations make perfect sense. "It started with [musicians] talking about what they're interested in. Then liquor companies got savvy," he said of the evolution. "It's like athletes sponsoring shoes. The name checks get the brand name out there."
Be afraid, be very afraid...for Zane Lamprey's liver. Yes, it's true, the man who has our dream job has pulled another Lazarus, and the excellent TV show Three Sheets has been picked up by the Travel Channel. Three Sheets has been on a few different networks now, and Travel channel seems like a good fit considering the show's an orgy of globe-hopping drunkenness. If nothing else, we're just excited it's on a channel we actually get now.
Episodes will begin airing on Travel Channel on Wednesday, April 14th, at 11 E/P. We are launching with back-to-back episodes, starting with Hawaii. Ever heard of beer made with cane? What about porter made with coconut? Next Zane heads to Tuscany, the birthplace of Chianti. Zane encounters a wine lover's answer to a pub crawl, and goes barefoot in a grape-stomping competition against the locals.
Get more info at the Travel Channel's Facebook page, and you can also check out the video below, from ZaneLamprey.com, for a little more flavor. If nothing else, now that they've hit the big time, they can afford a stunt man now.
We got an invite a while back to take a class called BarSmarts Wired, the online version of the BarSmarts Advanced seminars for professional bartenders. We've heard good things about the program, but after the summer we had, it had slipped our minds. It took a well-written (and positive) review from Colleen at About.com to jog our memories, and sign up for the online course.
Besides the knowledge, skills and theory that you get from BarSmarts Wired, you receive with your tuition a bag filled with professional bar tools. This bar set is a pretty nice one, not some cheap freebie, and includes a Boston shaker, jiggers, a bar spoon, strainers and a very nice zester. The set alone exceeds what you would pay $42 for and since that is the price of the course.
This is one of the few online bartender programs that is worth the time and effort. You will learn a lot and be able to bring that to your bar to improve customer service.
You've still got a few days to sign up at the BarSmarts Website, and don't forget to read Colleen's review to get some tips if you're planning to do it. And if you need some more convincing, check out Pernod Ricard's video demo about the program - just remember you have to sign up before the end of September if you're going to do it.
(Big ups to Colleen Graham and Samantha Harrigan for giving us info about the program)
In a piece of news we wouldn't cover in a million years if not for two awesome reasons, Scarlett Johansson is going to be fronting the bubbly. Not for nothing, Luxist, but we think our picture is better. OK, can't talk now, staring.
Moet & Chandon has a new face for its champagne, the first movie star to front for the brand. They introduced celebrity spokesperson, Scarlett Johansson at the "Tribute to Cinema" gala at London's Big Sky studio.
Ah, Massachusetts. Though it's a longtime home of liberal politics and conservative drinking laws, boozers in the Bay State recently won a victory due to a federal court overturning outdated laws about shipping wine to private homes. However, MA's Attorney General is fighting to overturn this boon, for reasons unknown (and unfathomable) to us. We're all for shopping local, but this is just the kind of throwback Puritanical bullshit that helped drive us away from Massachusetts in the first place, so we're not all that surprised.
Despite a decisive opinion and remedy order by widely respected U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley will spend taxpayer dollars to appeal the judge's decision, which promised an expansion of consumer choice in fine wine.
What can you do? If you live in Mass you can head over to Free the Grape and send a letter to good old Martha (who we picture clocking in at 200 years old). If you live anywhere else, order some wine online in solidarity for your dry-lipped brothers and sisters, who have to drive all the way to a real liquor store for their wine. If you're not sure what to get, head over to our sister site Cheap Fun Wines for ideas.
We're a little behind the 8 ball on this, but we got a tip that Sparks Energy Drink is on the chopping block. Apparently, a bunch of state district attorneys have a problem with the fact it's an alcoholic energy drink, packaged like Red Bull and other popular ones, and maybe aimed, just a little bit, at younger drinkers. We haven't had good experiences with alcoholic energy drinks (read our Tilt review) but hey...some grown up type people like 'em. Do they have to suffer?
Twelve buzz-kill state attorney generals who brought claims that Sparks -- the caffeinated alcoholic energy drink -- was being marketed to underage drinkers and have reached an agreement with booze giant SABMiller to reformulate the recipe so as not to include caffeine or taurine or any energy-drink ingredients.
As an of-age Sparks drinker whose enjoyed it on bike rides, at Christmas parties and before job interviews and hospital visits, this is terrible news.
Ever woken up after a nice evening bender, then checked your email to find replies to messages you sent out the night before in your drunken haze? You read through your fiery, or worse yet horny, missives filled with misspellings and purple prose, and wish you could take them all back? Google has put together a tool that will help you avoid that embarrassment by forcing you to solve a series of math problems before you message is sent, if you're emailing after hours.
That's OK, we guess, but what we really need is for someone to keep us from drunken shopping at Amazon - we really don't need to buy four new DVDs, three CDs and I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski at 3 AM (though the book is pretty damned awesome).
We just read a nice article about organic and sustainable cocktails, and we have to say - we're starting to be sold on them. Check out this piece on the Slow Food Nation Conference, and their new inclusion of organic liquors, for some good perspective on the future of organic, sustainable cocktails. If you're anxious to get drinkin', here are some of the organic spirits featured at the conference:
Spirits on offer included certified organic brands such as Square One Vodka and 4 Copas tequila, well-crafted spirits from artisan San Francisco producers such as eau de vie from St. George Spirits and gin from Distillery 209, and genever from Anchor Distilling.