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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    A Drink is a Drink is a Drink - or is it?

    In the past when a drink is called for I've usually had a shot and a beer.

    This week I decided to change it around a bit. One night I had just whiskey. One night I had just beer (a couple). One night I had - wait for it, nothing.

    This experience reminded me that while one can take in the same amount of alcohol by drinking different things, the mental effects are different. Whiskey, especially taken neat which is the only way I take it, seems to go to the head faster even if you drink it slowly. Beer by virtue of its low abv is a much lighter high unless you drink strong beer. Wine stands somewhere in the middle but usually seems even more mild than beer because, i) glasses of wine are smaller than beer glasses even though wine is double beer's abv, ii) wine is almost always taken with food. The old reputation of beer and wine as lesser evils than whiskey must derive from these facts. When I drank only the beer I kind of missed the "impact" of the whiskey but it's a question also of what you are used to. Beer is pre-eminently a sociable drink and the slower effect of the alcohol on the central nervous system facilitates this. True, plenty of sociability is in evidence at, say SB-get togethers, but that's because people are generally careful to moderate their consumption and act responsibly. I've always been impressed at how most don't overdo it and I genuinely believe people like talking about whiskey as much or sometimes more than drinking it!

    Anyway my favourite drink is still a shot and a beer but it is interesting to try these and wine on their own (and think about it, I mean). Each produces a specific kind of effect. Probably mixed whiskey drinks, if slowly consumed, approximate more to the beer experience.

    Comments?

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-28-2006 at 04:20.

  2. #2
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    I've found that Manhattans and Rob Roys go to the head rather quickly - and it's all in the rate of alcohol intake. Just as an 80-proof whiskey will hit me faster than a Stagg, a single WT 101 Manhattan will hit me faster than a couple of pours of WT 101 neat.

    Of course, my rather tall Manhattans (3 oz. whiskey/1 oz. vermouth/splashes of bitters) contain quite a bit of hooch!

    Ironically, even though my father's a teetotaler, his mother wasn't - and the Manhattan was her daily drink. Unfortunately, she passed away long before I reached drinking age, and far, far longer before I learned to appreciate distilled spirits. I don't know at all what her recipe was, but I recall seeing (this was the 1970s) Beam White, and Martini & Rossi red in her cabinet.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    There's an interesting question whether mixtures of alcohol can intoxicate faster. I used to think there was something in this but now I think "it is all alcohol" and really the quantity is what matters. I also believe that the net amount of ethanol taken in is the same, and has the same physical effects, regardless of the form it is consumed in. So beer or wine is no "better" than whiskey, if you've had one 5% abv beer and one 1 and 1/4 oz. shot you've had (more or less) the same amount of alcohol. But the factor of impact on the mental faculty can be different. A drink of whiskey taken neat or of course a martini or like cocktail will induce a relaxational or euphoric state more quickly than beer or wine. I find it interesting to consider the differing effects depending on what is being consumed. Food intake makes a difference too to the mental impact.

    gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-28-2006 at 06:54.

  4. #4
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    I always heard that introducing oxygen helped alcohol into the bloodstream quicker.

    for example, drinking a beer through a straw was something I've heard from my college days that will get you drunk, faster.

    would a mixed drink, if vigorously shaken, introduce more oxygen, than say a simple pour, that would lead to quicker Absorption?

    Also since beer is carbonated (or whatever causes the bubbles), doesn't it already contain a larger quantity of oxygen, than say straight bourbon?
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Interesting, I've heard that theory about straws and oxygen. In one of Michael Jackson's beer books he shows juxtaposed pictures of ancient Egyptians and modern Africans sipping a beer-like drink through straws. Although the scenes are a few thousand years apart they are uncannily alike down to the low chairs the people are sitting on and the communal pot they are sipping from. So those frosh had some predecessors. The bubbles in beer are carbon dioxide. But bubbly beer surely is oxygenated since it is poured into the glass and then mouth. You may be right about the extra oxygen in a mixed drink that is shaken and this shows the true value of a board like this, that in a seemingly mundane thread a jewel-like perception can emerge and I thank you for it. At least, I have never read this explanation of why the rule (for some) of "shaken not stirred" exists. Yet it makes a lot of sense, I think you've put your finger on something.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-28-2006 at 13:31.

  6. #6
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    don't know if the straw theory is science or urban legend. I am a pretty ardent "oxygen" proponent. I think that it is an important part to the bourbon experience as bottles seem to age once opened. As they are emptied the flavor seem to subtly change. I generally find the "sweet spot" to be the middle 1/3 of a bottle. Especially with older bottling, I don't even bother taking a pour off of an old bottling without at least a 1/2 hour of it sitting first.

    never thought of the shaken vs. stirred reasoning for one being preferred over the other. interesting point. As I've stated in previous threads, I'm a real novice at mixed drinks, but when I went to the shaker, wow, it was such a different end product.

    Have you ever taken a bottle of bourbon and shaken the beejebus out of it? I have and when you do, then take a pour, the flavor smells are much more intense. Totally different than if you just took a pour from a sedentary bottle.
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorCalBoozer
    Have you ever taken a bottle of bourbon and shaken the beejebus out of it? I have and when you do, then take a pour, the flavor smells are much more intense. Totally different than if you just took a pour from a sedentary bottle.
    NCB, I think the flavor change you are describing is attributable not to oxygenation (forced suspension of oxygen in the liquid), but to exposure of a greater surface area of the liquid to air. Wouldn't you guys agree?

    I'm also skeptical of the straw "urban legend". It would seem likely that you would ingest more air swallowing liquid poured from a glass than if you got a reasonable seal around a straw.

    Jeff

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by contrarian
    NCB, I think the flavor change you are describing is attributable not to oxygenation (forced suspension of oxygen in the liquid), but to exposure of a greater surface area of the liquid to air. Wouldn't you guys agree?

    I'm also skeptical of the straw "urban legend". It would seem likely that you would ingest more air swallowing liquid poured from a glass than if you got a reasonable seal around a straw.

    Jeff
    I don't know Jeff, I'll defer to others here that have a much stronger background in chemistry than I. All I know is some sort of reaction is happening.

    Maybe your right, maybe it's not that there is more oxygen, but that the oxygen is forced into a reaction with the alcohol.
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  9. #9
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    The only thing in my college days that the straw would have affected was bph consumption. We fixed that by replacing the diminuative little soda straw with a couple of feet of large plastic tubing and a similar sized funnel. That or just pouring from the keg tapper directly down the gullet. Drinking in the manner we were accustomed to with cups slowed the process down and resulted in a lot of wasted beer running down our chins. In those days, you could get a lot more beer for the dollar and a lot of what we purchased we didn't particularly want to taste anyway. Anyone here ever buy 9-0-5 beer in bar bottles? A buck and a quarter a case back then (not counting the deposit) and worth every grimace.
    Dane
    I don't drink to excess. But I'll drink to most anything else.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8erdane
    We fixed that by replacing the diminuative little soda straw with a couple of feet of large plastic tubing and a similar sized funnel. That or just pouring from the keg tapper directly down the gullet.
    ahhh 2 of the classic college activities...Beer Bongs and Keg Stands.

    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

 

 

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