Bar Belle: A thirst for knowledge
This may come as a shock to you, but ever since I turned 21, I’ve been enamored with the nightlife scene. I love to explore new bars and learn about the latest cocktail trend. I want to know why it’s taking my hipster mixologist 10 minutes to craft my drink. I want to know how the bloody mary got its name and which frat boy invented the keg stand. This makes me a “collector,” not a hoarder. Drinking is not a vice I take up when I’m bored; it’s a hobby. At least that’s what I tell my mom.
I’ve learned so much over the years about my favorite pastime — either through classes, by talking to experts or researching on my own. Most of you smart folks — you know, the ones who always get the Final Jeopardy questions right — probably already know this shit. But for the rest of us, here are a few things I’m sharing so I don’t have to be the only nerd at the bar.
• Limes were first used in beers in Mexico to keep flies away and to disinfect the mouths of the cans or bottles that may have been stored in unsanitary warehouses.
• Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, no fear. I’m not sure how this works with an Irish car bomb.
• This year is the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, marked by the passage of the 21st Amendment on Dec. 5, 1933. That must have been a long 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, 17 hours and 32.5 minutes of sneaking around pocket flasks and drinking in backrooms — which sounds a lot like my 20s.
• The screwdriver cocktail got its name by construction workers who would add tasteless, odorless vodka to their orange juice in the mornings and stir it with their screwdrivers.
• People who do shots of Rumplemintz are crazy.
• Champagne was discovered by Dom Perignon, who was a blind Benedictine monk. When he first tried it, he proclaimed, “I am drinking the stars.”
• The hole in a bourbon barrel is called a bunghole. Contrary to popular belief, it does not need tee-pee.
• Fernand Petiot claims to have invented the bloody mary in 1921 while working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. It’s also been called “the world’s most complex cocktail.”
• Next year marks the 50th anniversary of when Lyndon B. Johnson declared bourbon a distinctive product of the United States.
• When drinking to forget, it’s better to pay up front.
• Kentucky produces 95 percent of all bourbons.
• The liver processes about 1 ounce of alcohol per hour.
• A bourbon can be a whiskey, but a whiskey cannot be a square. Or something like that.
• 10 percent of alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth, 20 percent through the stomach and 70 percent through the small intestine.
• A third of all divorce requests in England list alcohol as a contributing factor.
• The phrase “mind your p’s and q’s” is said to have originated in English pubs in the 17th century — bartenders would keep a watch on the alcohol consumption of the patrons, keeping an eye on the pints and quarts that were consumed.
• Estrogen slows down the body’s ability to process alcohol. Women have the most estrogen right before their period, which is why they can get drunker quicker than usual. This is also the time when most of my bad decisions have been made. Another reason to blame Eve.
• Admiral Nelson, who died in the Battle of Tralfager, had his body preserved in a cask of rum before it was laid to rest. Alcohol abuse!
• Vodka means “little water” in Russian.
• Tonic originally was conceived as an anti-malaria concoction in colonial India. Quinine was added to carbonated water and then mixed with gin to make it more appealing.
• Favorite drinks of our presidents: gin and tonic (Gerald Ford); martini (Herbert Hoover); rum and Coke (Richard Nixon); and bourbon (Harry Truman).
• Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass. I think I have that.
Drunk Texts of the Week
• Where can I get one of those 4-hour hard-ons?
• My snap dragon needs seeded
• Nothing says happy anniversary like Buckcherry
• You’re on the short bus of love and you’re licking the window