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Best Drinks to Order on an Airplane

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Most people don’t enjoy flying on airplanes. And that makes sense, after all, who wants to be cramped into some tiny seat, surrounded by babies crying, people coughing, crappy movies, and bad food? Probably no one.

That is why the solution clearly is to drink. Alcohol, that is.

There are some rules about bringing flasks on a plane, but there is no rule against ordering alcohol. Otherwise no one would fly!

Without further ado, we present to you a list of best drinks to order on a plane.

And by best drinks, we mean the most numbing.

The Leap Frog

The strength and severity of this drink totally depends on how much gin the flight attendant puts into it, which is the core ingredient. The drink consists of 3 basic elements: ginger ale, gin, and a slice of lemon. We also recommend this drink because ginger ale is good for an upset stomach. And after eating some stale airline food, ginger ale might be just the thing your stomach needs.

Bloody Mary

There is no better way to mask the taste of vodka with a thick vegetable juice or tomato juice. Some might say that you can’t have a true Bloody Mary without a stick of celery. But on an airplane, beggars can’t be choosers. All we really need for a tasty Bloody Mary is vodka and a can of V8. On the off chance that they have some Tabasco sauce, you can spice it up that way. Pepper might also be a good addition.

Cape Cod

If you ever wondered what the proper term for a cranberry vodka was, well, it’s a Cape Cod. Adding a slice of lemon or lime will top off this drink nicely. The problem is that this drink will remind you of a fun night out in which you probably bought a few of these for yourself as well as the girl that you were hitting on. Well, at least you’ll be able to savor the taste!

Presbyterian

With airplanes, it’s all about simplicity – which is why the Presbyterian is a great drink. It’s super simple and very tasty. Just mix some whiskey and ginger ale together, and viola, you’ve got yourself some hard alcohol which will go down easy, and be nice to your stomach too!

Beer

It’s not the most original drink, but sometimes sitting back in your tiny airline seat with a cold one is the way to go. Combine a cold beer with some of those tasty and salty peanuts they offer, with hopefully a decent movie on, and you can actually enjoy yourself on a plane ride. Though those peanuts come in really tiny bags – you may want to ask for another to enjoy with your beer.

The Kindness of Cocktails

Thursday November 13 is World Kindness Day. While one doesn’t need a specific day for us to be kind to each other, it’s good to have a day where we can pamper each other and be pampered.

If coming home after a day at work and being greeted by a cocktail isn’t your usual practice then World Kindness Day is a great way to get the ball rolling.

Martini Spash by geishaboy500, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  geishaboy500

Martini
For a while, the Martini was the in-drink and it’s very Mad Menesque to commence your evening by drinking one. Containing gin and vermouth it was made famous by James Bond and his catchcry of shaken, not stirred.

Bloody Mary
If you prefer things a bit spicier, than the Bloody Mary may be the drink for you. The basic ingredients are vodka and tomato juice followed by seasoning such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, pepper, lemon juice and horseradish. Often there will be a celery stalk sticking out of the glass.

Green but... by solarisgirl, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  solarisgirl

Kamikaze
If your night is only beginning you may like to kick things off with a Kamikaze. With vodka, triple sec and lime juice it is just the drink to get the ball rolling.

Gin & tonic by cyclonebill, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  cyclonebill

Gin and Tonic
For someone who hasn’t had the best of days and is in need of somewhat of a pick-me-up, there is no better way to do this than a Gin and tonic. You can drown your sorrows and deal with the pain via this classic drink. Following a couple of these, everything is going to feel better.

Tequila Sunrise
For those of you in the southern hemisphere, November 13 is in the spring and it will still be sunny outside when you get home. If you want to take advantage of the remaining daylight hours, the Tequila Sunrise may be just the drink to do it with. Containing tequila, orange juice and grenadine, it is a drink that feels very summery.

When it comes to cocktails, there is going to be some preparation involved. When one goes out to a bar, one doesn’t appreciate how much mess is involved in cocktail preparation.

You need to cut things up, squeeze them, pour and shake and blend. It is important to clean up after yourself so the person isn’t greeted by the mess of cocktail making. Clean up after yourself so those surprised by the cocktails can be greeted by a spotless kitchen.

If there are leftovers, you can pour them into the nearest flask.

Happy Birthday to Harry Connick Jr

Today is the 47th birthday of Harry Connick Jr.  A child prodigy, Harry can do it all whether it be sing, act or be a reality TV judge.

He burst onto the scene as a young boy, and by the time he was a teenager, he was a well-known performer in New Orleans.

Working on the soundtrack for When Harry Met Sally is what brought him national and international stardom. His rendition of It Had to Be You was a classic and saw him win his first Grammy Award.

He graduated to acting and has appeared in movies such as Little Man Tate, Independence Day, New in Town and Dolphin Tale as well as TV shows such as Will & Grace, Law & Order and American Idol where he joined the judging panel.

When it comes to New Orleans, he is an institution. He performed a concert to raise funds following the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Speaking of Hurricanes, it is a drink that it associated with New Orleans. It is a sweet drink that contains rum and some sort of fruit, be it in the form of syrup or fresh juice. The story behind it is that well-known bar owner Pat O’Brien needed to improvise a drink in the 1940s given the lack of scotch and an abundance of rum. It was served in a Hurricane glass, hence a New Orleans legend was born.

Hurricanes from the Heights by justgrimes, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  justgrimes

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 2 ounces dark rum (if you don’t have light, just use four ounces dark)
  • 2 ounces passion fruit juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • Juice of half a freshly squeezed lime or lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon grenadine
  • Garnish: orange slice and cherry

Mix all the ingredients and pour into a Hurricane glass.

Another drink also associated with New Orleans is the Sazerac.

It is a drink that is a couple of hundred years old and is known as America’s oldest well-known cocktail. It is a mix of the traditional whiskey or cognac cocktail. Antoine Amadie Peychaud is credited with the invention of the cocktail and in 2008 it was proclaimed as the office cocktail of New Orleans.

Recipe:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Absinthe
  • 1 sugar cube

Mix the two bitters with the sugar cube. Add the whiskey to the mixture and add all this to the an old-fashioned glass containing the Absinthe.

Happy Birthday Harry! We hope you enjoy it with some Hurricanes and Sazeracs.

5 Cocktails That Won’t Stain Your Wedding Dress

Jacqueline Kennedy wedding dress

Jacqueline Kennedy on her wedding day, September 12, 1953.
Photo Credit: Toni Frissell

Adding some interesting cocktails to your wedding reception is sure to get the party started, but syrupy concoctions could permanently stain your wedding dress. You’ll want to keep your dress as a reminder of the most important day of your life, so it’s a good idea to opt for cocktails that don’t stain. Your bridesmaids are sure to thank you when their bridesmaids dresses stay pristine, too. Here are five delicious cocktails that fit the bill.

  • Martini:  This classic cocktail offers the added benefit of being completely clear. There’s no need to worry about staining when you’re sipping a combination of gin and vermouth, and your wedding reception will get that much-needed touch of class that every special event should have.
  • Daiquiri:  Skip the super-sweet additions to serve this cocktail as it’s meant to be enjoyed. The classic ingredients in this cocktail include rum and lime. Sugar is added to the mix to make this a drink worthy of the sweet tooth.
  • Margarita:  This is another cocktail that can keep away the stains when kept simple. A margarita on the rocks is simply a mixture of tequila, triple sec and lime juice. If your menu focuses on Mexican cuisine, margaritas are the perfect addition to the festivities.
  • Sidecar:  A sidecar is basically a margarita with some added class. Swap the tequila for cognac to create the warming effect that is characteristic of this cocktail. Lemon is the preferred citrus for this drink.
  • Lemon Drop:  The clear characteristic of vodka makes it a perfect choice for cocktails on your wedding day. Vodka, lemon juice and sugar combine to make a slightly sweet sip in this refreshing cocktail.

There’s no need to nix the open bar to avoid staining your wedding dress during cocktail hour. While you will need to steer clear of that Bloody Mary or Irish coffee, there are many great options that will keep the party going. Opt for one or more of the delicious, simple and fun cocktails listed above to enjoy a classic drink with your friends and family on your big day.

Nikola Tesla: Man of Science, Lover of Alcohol?

Nikola Tesla – Who Is This Dude??

This July 10th would have been Nikola Tesla’s 158th birthday. As a protege of Thomas Edison and a proverbial man of science, Tesla accumulated more than 275 patents during his lifetime. The most noteworthy covered a brilliant alternating-current induction motor that became a mainstay in early 20th century industrial processes, leading many to refer to Tesla as “the father of modern electricity.”

Tesla’s innovations also improved radio communication, medical radiology and power generation. He even developed a prototype jump jet and worked – unsuccessfully – on a means to wirelessly transmit electrical currents between ground-based towers. Tesla accomplished much during his 86 years, and his birthday should undoubtedly be a day of global celebration.

More Than Meets the Eye – Tesla’s Views on Alcohol and Health

Towering scientific achievements aside, Nikola Tesla was also sophisticated and worldly. Although he was a nonsmoker and avid walker who adhered to a vegetarian diet for much of his adult life, he couldn’t shake his love for one unhealthy vice: alcohol. He was particularly fond of whiskey, but fine wines and other spirits suited him fine as well.

It’s also worth noting that Tesla had no time for stimulative drinks like coffee and tea. His writings are littered with quotes to this effect:

“I myself eschew all stimulants. I also practically abstain from meat. I am convinced that within a century coffee, tea, and tobacco will be no longer in vogue,” he said in the early 20th century. “Alcohol, however, will still be used. It is not a stimulant but a veritable elixir of life.”

He also wasn’t convinced that alcohol consumption was unhealthy. When a man of science makes a pronouncement after “careful observation,” it’s important to take notice:

“People have been led to believe that alcoholic beverages cause serious injuries to mind and body, while other stimulants, as tea and coffee, are almost harmless. I know from careful observation and lifelong experience that the reverse is more nearly true.”

Nikola Tesla in his Colorado Springs laboratory

Nikola Tesla sitting in his Colorado Springs laboratory circa December 1899. Photo Credit: Dickenson V. Alley

In fact, he believed that alcohol’s benefits far outweighed any risks: “Alcohol is not a poison, nor is it a drug…[i]n small quantities, it cleans and sterilizes the alimentary channels; thereby preventing infections, and proves a beneficial stimulant to thought, speech and physical exertion.” Tesla also claimed that moderate drinkers are “as a rule, long lived and considered by life insurance companies the safest policy holders.”

Tesla’s respect for the rule of law led him to become a teetotaler during Prohibition, but this change wasn’t without tremendous sacrifice. “Only a few days of abstinence made me a very sick man,” he said, “and my health became precarious.” In a separate writing of unknown origin, he claimed: “Had I not given up [daily] whiskey during [Prohibition], I would surely live to 150 years of age.”

Tesla did not make it to the age of 150, a circumstance he would probably credit to his abstention from alcohol in the early 1900’s. He died at age 86, leaving behind a legacy that will last for generations to come. He was universally regarded as being ahead of his time and clearly had his social priorities in order :). So, let’s raise a glass (or flask) to this bold man on what would have been his 158th birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NIKOLA TESLA!

 

4 of the Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Happy Fathers Day

Photo Credit: Flickr (scribbletaylor)

Not all dads are easy to shop for. If there is any gift that would count among the best Fathers Day gifts, he probably already owns it, or it’s a big-ticket item that falls under “the family must vote on this” rule. Nonetheless, there are many items that would still delight dad on his special day.

1. Gizmos & Gadgets

Dads love their electronic gear, especially if it’s something that makes life easier and healthier. Give him a Fitbit wristband in cool colors to help him keep track of fitness information such as physical activity, calorie intake and sleep. The statistics can be synchronized with data from other devices for a comprehensive wellness plan.

2. Music

Give dad the best noise-cancelling headphones available. The Bose Quiet Comfort 15 is one of the better Fathers Day gift ideas because it features high grade noise-cancelling circuitry along with the best sound quality. This set of headphones feature fully-padded, over the ear headpieces in a comfortable design that can be worn for hours of listening to music or blocking out the kids’ noise.

3. Cool & Hip

Remind him of the days when he was hip, young and cool with a pair of Ray-Ban Outdoorsman Craft sunglases. Inspired by the iconic aviator sunglasses that started it all, this pair features crystal lenses, an elegant brow bar and cable temples for a comfortable fit. Choose black frames for a conservative dad or gold frames for a dad who likes to show off his sense of fun.

4. Family Time

The most creative personalized Fathers day gifts are the easiest to give. Plan a Father’s Day celebration that revolves around his favorite activities. Buy tickets to the ballgame, and share a day of sunshine, hotdogs and wild cheering. Take him to an IMAX theater to experience the latest blockbuster movie, or reserve a table at his favorite diner.

Whatever you decide to do for your dad this year, eschew those ties and go with the well-planned, practical and personalized gifts that show you really care about him.

Brandy: History and Facts

There are some interesting tidbits about Brandy we think you should know. Some are historical and some are just generally awesome facts. Have you ever ordered the famous dessert Crêpe Suzette? Brandy is the liquid used to flambe the dessert just prior to serving.

Concentrated alcoholic beverages were known to be in existence in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. Brandy began to appear, because of distillation, sometime during the 12th century and became generally popular during the 14th century. At first, merchants distilled wine, to make it easier to transport, but then discovered that by keeping it in wooden casks, it improved over time.

In 1647, in England, Thomas Daffy came up with Daffy’s Elixir, which was a patent medicine that became quite popular. And guess what… it contained brandy :).

Cognac

Photo Credit: Sergey Melkonov

Cognac is a brandy that only comes from the Cognac region of France, and is always double distilled using pot stills. Some of the most popular brands of Cognac include Martell, Camus, Rémy Martin, Hennessy, Frapin, Delamain, Hine, Otard, and Courvoisier.

In Turkey they have Kanyak, a variation of “cognac”, which means “burn blood” because it warms you in cold weather. There is also a coconut brandy made from the sap of the coconut flowers. Delicious!

Applejack is an American variety of apple brandy made from the distillation of hard cider from apples. In the French region of Lower Normandy they have a brandy derived by double distilling fermented apples, and it’s called Calvados. In Romania, they have fruit brandy made from plums, apples, pears, apricots, mulberries, peaches, quinces, or mixtures of these, and they call it Tuică.

The first alcoholic drink believed to be consumed in outer space was the Greek distilled spirit Metaxa. This was first created in 1888 by Spyros Metaxas. I wonder if he ever believed his drink would be propelled into and consumed by astronauts floating around in the stratosphere! We’ll make sure to send the guy a memo ;).

How is Brandy Made?

Did you ever wonder what brandy is made of? If so, here’s how, and if you’ve never wondered, we will tell you how anyway, because it’s good to know!

The Lowdown on Brandy

Brandy on its side

Photo Credit: Sami Keinänen

Brandy starts out as wine, which gets distilled. The term “brandy” is derived from the Dutch word “brandewijn”, which means “burnt wine.” Brandy is usually an after dinner drink, and usually ranges somewhere between 35 and 60% alcohol by volume. Some brandies are made with caramel coloring, and some are aged in big wooden casks, and some employ both methods.

Sometimes other fruits besides grapes are fermented to make brandies, but these differ from traditional brandy, and in French they are called eaux-de-vie. Brandy is sometimes served “on the rocks” (over ice) and is usually served “neat,” which means at room temperature in a glass by itself. Brandy is usually enjoyed from a special glass called a Brandy Snifter. The unique shape of the glass allows the drinker to cup their hand under the glass and warm the brandy a bit with their body heat, which makes the drink more enjoyable.

The Science of Brandy – percents and barrels

Wine is usually boiled in a pot still, and the water and vapors of alcohol, as well as the aromatic properties rise and are caught in the condenser coil, where they are cooled and turned back into liquid. The alcohol and aromatic components vaporize at a lower temperature than does the water, so the distillate is usually of a much higher concentration of alcohol by volume. The wine only has about 8 to 12% ABV, and after the first distillation, the liquid will have about 30% ABV. Then it is distilled a second time, when it will become a distillate of about 70% ABV.

Cognac is usually made in a pot still, while most American brandies are made with fractional distillation in a column still. Some brandies are not aged at all, while others are aged in oak casks, and some have caramel coloring added to simulate the appearance of aging. In Spain, the brandy is aged with the solera system, which involves mixing various ages together, to obtain a desired result.

Check out the following video for a great breakdown on the process of making a tasty apple brandy at St. George Spirits!

What’s your favorite time of day to drink brandy? What’s your all-time favorite bottle? Let us know!

Prohibition Era in America & the 18th amendment: 1920-1933

For alcohol and drink enthusiasts far and wide, an era in U.S. history known as “The Prohibition Era” was a long and dark period for citizens of the United States of America. Prohibition in America was the time period between 1920 and 1933, when the 18th Amendment significantly changed life and leisure for people at the time.

Prohibition Era alcohol delivery by boat

Ships docking to unload “”Fresh Fish and Fruit” delivers bottled drinks to men at the pier during the Prohibiton. Photo Credit: Boston Public Library

Essentially, the 18th Amendment took away the business licenses from every brewer, distiller, wholesaler and retailer of alcoholic beverages throughout the United States of America in an attempt to reform an “un-respectable” segment of the population at the time. Congress actually voted its approval of this amendment in October 1919, and enacted it into law as the National Prohibition Act of 1920.

This “prohibition” put legal brewers out of business and opened the door for unintended consequences across the USA: bootlegging, gambling, prostitution, rackets, gangsters, and organized crime. All over America, illegal drinking establishments popped up, and each of these would be called a speak easy.

Secret stash of booze during the Prohibition Era

Secret stash of booze during the Prohibition Era.
Photo Credit: Alain Hubler

The idea of prohibition actually started long before the 18th Amendment. There was a whole prohibition movement that had strong roots that reach back before the dates of the Civil War. There was enough concern over the inappropriate use of alcohol and a temperance movement sprang up under the leadership of The Very Reverend Theobald Mathew. Then in 1893 the Anti-Saloon League was founded in Oberlin, Ohio. Soon the state chapters were organized across the country. The US Steel Corporation forbade its employees to partake of any liquor on or off duty. Henry Ford also prohibited the possession of liquor, wine or beer by people employed in his company. By 1916, 21 different states had each banned saloons.

Luckily, after all those “dry” years, the 18th Amendment was finally repealed with the passage of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on December 5, 1933 before the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

So you can thank the 21st Amendment, all of those bootleggers, and secret saloon owners who kept the culture alive through such a long, dark period for alcohol enthusiast nationwide!

Cheers!

Monogram & Initials: What’s the Difference in Engraved Gifts?

Initials are 2 or 3 letters of a person’s name that are in chronological order; first name, followed by middle name, and then ending with the last name. A monogram are those same 2 or 3 letters, with the exception that you reverse the middle and last name.

Also, unlike the monogram, initial engraving have all of three of the letters in the same font size.

For example, If my name is Scott Herald Jamerson, then my initials are SHJ with all the letters the same size, but my monogram would be listed as SJH with the J larger than the other two letters.

Initials are a common way to engrave something that you might be giving to someone as a gift, and many people give hip flasks as gifts. So when you order a flask with engraving, personalization, or customization of some sort, having the person’s initials included is certainly one option for you. These initials might also include the date of something significant, perhaps a birthday or graduation. The initials might appear along with a photo of something meaningful for the person, or even a portrait photo. This can make it easier to find the owner of a lost flask as well.

Many people like to give personalized or engraved gifts, because they seem to mean so much more to the recipients.

If someone gave you a birthday gift and it was some cheap item from the dollar store, you may not be inclined to keep it. However, if they bothered to take it somewhere and have it engraved, you are likely to cherish it forever. Why? Because it has your initials on it! My mom once gave me a cheap little pocket knife which belonged to my father’s father, and it had his initials on it, which happen to be the same exact initials as mine! I have always kept that knife, don’t ask me why. Perhaps because of the sentimental worth of it belonging to my grandfather or perhaps because it has my initials on it. Either way, I know I’m holding onto it for a long time.