Category: videos


I’m not going out tomorrow. No matter who calls, what delicious beers they promise me along with all of that good company.

No, fuck that.

I will be staying in and maybe I’ll open that second bottle of Fuller’s Vintage 2006 I have in my closet. Maybe I’ll be really Irish and listen to Elliot Smith covers (like the one below) and be as dour as I possibly can be.

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Or I’ll just clean the house and go for a bike-ride. It’s going to be a lovely day tomorrow; loads of sun and temperatures hovering around the 15 celcius. I’ll probably get thirsty too and than of course I’ll have to stop at a bar. Maybe Betty’s but seeing as eyeing the traffic is the best part, I’ll probably settle for a patio on Queen St. West.

No sense drinking alone so I might as well call some of those friends and see what they’re up to and before I know it I’ll be where I said I wouldn’t be, having the time of my life.

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Do I stay in with Emily Haines or go out with Shane MacGowan and The Pogues? I think I know what by what power I’m compelled… Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t bogart your liver!

Rachel Maddow makes a cocktail

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I love Rachel Maddow. Here, she teaches you how to make the Jack Rose with a healthy dose of snark.

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Over at Sloshed! they want to make sure that you get the perfect gift this Christmas and I can’t help but agree with their choices. Please… get me some o’ that.

Must be a slow news day over at The National Post ‘cos they’ve got “a short etymology of inebriation” for y’all. Enjoy and employ whenever you feel like appearing excessively clever.

Brewdog from Scotland’s got the strongest beer in the world!

As far as Chowhound’s concerned, you’ve been making your punch all wrong.

And, despite my lack of a camera, I’ve got two very fine recipes to share with you!

First off is a drink I tossed off to a girl I was flirtin’ with online. I’ve never tried it but she said she liked it and so I thought you folks might too. Honestly, it’s never passed my lips but it sounds damned good to me and I’ll buy you a drink myself if it’s shit.

KAT O’ NINE

1 oz rye
1 oz passion fruit juice
splash of Jager
splash of orange juice
Soda water

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in the first four ingredients. Top up with soda and stir.

Next up is something I made while over at my boy’s house. We were high and he had some interesting bits in his fridge for me to play with.

UNFRIENDLY STRANGER

1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari (I used this strange soda I’d never seen before but regular Campari would work just as well)
splash of brandy
lemon soda

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in the first three ingredients. Top up with lemon soda and stir.

Enjoy! The second drink in particular takes some getting used to but it’ll reward you in the end.

For those of you stuck on a street with no corkscrew and a crowd of friends eagerly awaiting to imbibe.

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Do you know the difference between whiskey and whisky? The Kitchn fills us in.

The Pegu Blog reveals just how close we came to losing Angostura Bitters in the latest economic crisis.

In case you can’t find enough uses for apples this fall, SLOSHED! gives us the Bum’s Rush. I think I like apple juice with tequila even more than with Zubrowka

In more serious news, we’re now being told that mixing cocaine and alcohol is bad for you ‘cos it forms a whole new chemical in your liver. There’s a definite British vibe, seeing as this is the Guardian and all, but I can’t say Canada’s on the level with our neighbors across the pond, seeing as our coke’s really quite shitty at the moment (hearsay, I swear!).

In Spain, there’s a bit of a debate going on regarding teenagers and their right to throw public parties called “botellons”. Neighbors talk of noise and vandalism, teens say they’re being scape-goated. Regardless, it sure beats that period of my youth where I hung out in this public park in Whitby, furtively smoking joints and wishing I had some kind of booze.

And proving yet again that Canada’s one of the most efficient squelchers of fun ever, the City of Richmond, the B.C. liquor board and even Ottawa are burying the Dutch in red tape when all they want to do is bring their beloved Holland House tradition to the 2010 Olympics.

God forbid we should let people have a good time. I’m sure these policy-Nazis are afraid that if Canadians realize how much fun the rest of the world is having, they’ll stop putting up with some of the most draconian alcohol laws around.

One day, I’d like to walk around town with a beer in my hand. One day, I’d like to be able to bring my favorite bottle of wine with me to a restaurant for a reasonable corking fee without having the owner jump through bureaucratic hoops. One day, I’d like to be able to decide for myself which liquor store to patronize (and that will be the one that offers stuff I can’t find anywhere else). Hell, I want to be able to buy it at the corner store and then walk back up to my apartment and share it with my friends! One day, I’d like to be able to drink past 2 in the morning because I had work till last call and maybe I’m not quite done yet.

One day…

It seems like it’s been a busy day for booze and I have some more links. Instead of putting up another post, I’m going to add ‘em to this one.

If you’re a construction worker, you probably drink a lot. Top three professions are: construction, agriculture and general labour which is not much of a surprise. The report by the group appropriately titled Ensuring Solutions to Alcoholic Problems also found that male-dominated industries had more incidences with excessive-drinking and job absenteeism.

As far as I’m concerned, the only really interesting bit of information was that service and sales (my area if you will) ranked a solid fourth and fifth, respectively. (I knew we were all drunks but I didn’t know we ranked that high.)

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, based out of Oregon, had not 1 but 12 themed cocktails for their latest event. When not drowning your sorrows in The Yog-Sothoth, you could order everything from a Twisted Tentacle to the Pamakazi of Ibn-Ghazi. While some of them look fairly derivative, I still dig the idea.

Fancy a taste of the world’s strongest beer? Utopia, produced by Samuel Adams, reigns in at a hefty 27% ABV and is a veritable stew of yeasts, malts and hops with a bit of Triple Bock. It’ll cost ya $150 but at that strength and price range, it’s more like a spirit than anything.

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A quietly-funny beer advert from Down Under. We should be following their example instead of the Americans. If the beer still tasted bad, at least we’d be smiling.

Alan McLeod of A Good Beer Blog links to an article in the Globe & Mail where the new CEO of Molson Coors laments the diversification of the beer market in Canada.

Quite frankly, I’m appalled by his talk of brand value and loyalty without any mention of what the company’s products are doing to deserve it; I won’t shed any tears if they were to disappear tomorrow. The whole system’s rotten anyway… and is Mr. Perkins calling us cheap? I say his beers are overpriced.

According to Jamie Boudreau, we have a new gin in Canada that goes by the name of Victoria. Since it’s from B.C., I’m betting red-tape and petty provincialism will prevail but I may yet see a bottle in Ontario someday. I’d dearly love to be wrong…

Another liqueur I’ll probably never get to try is from the States and an alcoholic version of root beer (sort-of) besides. Dubbed “Root” it looks delicious and is the result of a partnership between the makers of Hendrick’s Gin and collective called Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Yet another reason for me to take a road-trip and soon.

If you’re not working, a great way to spend this Thursday evening would be crawling amongst the bars of King St. West. Besides sampling some terrific beer, you could win tickets to Toronto’s upcoming Festival of Beer.

Speaking of which, I’m actually attending for the first time this year. Most of the time I procrastinate in applying for a press pass and end up not going but my brother bought a ticket for me and so August the 9th (a Sunday) will find me throwing tokens at vendors, getting sunburnt and being very, very drunk. I’ll try and take notes. If you’re going, let me know; we might even bump into each other (literally).

Doug of The Pegu Blog writes about yet another cocktail (the Dark ‘n’ Stormy) whose name you cannot mention unless you use copyright-holding company’s liquor in the recipe. While I don’t give much of a shit for issues of intellectual property, it’s an amusing tale nonetheless and Gosling’s is good stuff.

liquorTiare over at A Mountain Of Crushed Ice gets into using vegetables in your cocktails. I’m really interested in trying out beets and plaintain but they all look pretty good to me. It might also help me feel better about not getting my eight servings a day.

The Intoxicologist takes issue with patriotic booze and so do I. The idea of exploiting an American’s patriotism to market cheap booze while making vague statements about supporting “everyone in uniform” (without saying which organizations they send money to) doesn’t sit well with me.

Science Daily talks about a new study completed in the UK that claims that “beer goggles” do not affect drinker’s perceptions of age. The idea is that this might prevent men from claiming that they didn’t know that their partners were underage. This is all very fine and well but doing a study in a pub is very different from doing one in a nightclub. And what about when you’re all on ecstasy?

Vietnamese snake wine with big-ass cobras in it!

Martin always said so but now we have some sense of what having Kingsley for a dad must’ve been like. Alan McLeod of A Good Beer Blog reviews “Everyday Drinking – The Distilled Kingsley Amis”. Like many famous British drunkards, Amis Sr. was really good at being an insufferable prick but you gotta love quotes like these:

“If asked what you think [about the wine], say breezily, ‘Jolly good,’ as though you always say that whatever it’s like. This may suggest that your mind’s on higher things than wine, like gin or sex.”

I want a copy!

For those following in his footsteps, here’s a handy method for hiding booze at the office. Helen Gurley Brown might sneer but this sort of thing is generally frowned upon nowadays.

If drinking at work is too risky and you live in London, you could always visit the Alcoholic Architecture exhibit which makes you feel like you’re walking through a giant gin-and-tonic.

Finally, I have 116 bits of alcoholic trivia for you. While quite a few of ‘em fall into this bizarre wordplay category (otherwise known as “who gives a fuck”), the historical ones are genuinely interesting. For instance:

“33. The bill for a celebration party for the 55 drafters of the US Constitution was for 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of port, 8 bottles of hard cider, 12 beers and seven bowls of alcohol punch large enough that ‘ducks could swim in them’.”

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I like how that one white dude really digs the music.

(Image taken from wil.widner’s Flickr photostream.)

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The Telegraph recently posted an article about how some companies such as Facebook and Google, the NBA and American television companies are relaxing their restrictions on alcohol advertising in order to generate new streams of revenue.

This is apparently a big deal although I fail to see why as long as they’re not misleading and they don’t market it to minors. Facebook tends to skew to an older crowd anyway although I’d wager it’s a pretty tight demographic (18-25?) that’s likely to install any applications offered by the likes of Anheuser-Busch or Bacardi.

Apparently, most of these apps offer allow users to win contests that get them into sponsored parties. I wouldn’t know because the Bacardi Mojito Party was unavailable to me (likely due to it being restricted to American users) and Miller’s Today I’m Toasting was under construction. In fact, none of the applications that have been developed were available which leads me to wonder if they’re specifically targeted at an American and not Canadian audience because we get to legally drink two years before they do?

The only application I’ve seen anyone use is Booze Mail, a particularly stupid bit of code that allows you to send drinks to your friend’s walls which is just as retarded as those gifts that get exchanged. Two apps I find much more appealing are Bottlenotes and RateBeer, both of which allow like-minded users to rate and talk about wine and beer they like (or dislike), respectively.

This doesn’t really help us Canadians, with our limited options for purchasing alcohol, and I’d be surprised the LCBO hasn’t jumped on this marketing opportunity except that I’d bet anything that they’re a) too cheap and b) far too old-fashioned. It’s too bad because an app that tracks new product releases with links built into their website allowing people to find what stores carry them and then contact those stores seems like a natural to me… Or maybe not but I don’t think I’m the only one who finds the LCBO website irritating.

But moving on, what about television? We’ve all seen our fair share of beer ads, ranging from stupid to offensive, but how is this regulated in Canada? The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has a code that specifically deals with what can be broadcast and what cannot. Here are some highlights.

“Commercial messages for alcoholic beverages shall not:

(a) attempt to influence non-drinkers of any age to drink or to purchase alcoholic beverages;

(b) be directed at persons under the legal drinking age, associate any such product with youth or youth symbols, or portray persons under the legal drinking age or persons who could reasonably be mistaken for such persons in a context where any such product is being shown or promoted;

(e) attempt to establish the product as a status symbol, a necessity for the enjoyment of life or an escape from life’s problems, or attempt to establish that consumption of the product should take precedence over other activities;

(f) imply directly or indirectly that social acceptance, social status, personal success, or business or athletic achievement may be acquired, enhanced or reinforced through consumption of the product;

(g) imply directly or indirectly that the presence or consumption of alcohol is, in any way, essential to the enjoyment of an activity or an event;

(k) use imperative language to urge people to purchase or consume the product;

(n) contain inducements to prefer an alcoholic beverage because of its higher alcohol content;

(o) refer to the feeling and effect caused by alcohol consumption or show or convey the impression, by behaviour or comportment, that the people depicted in the message are under the influence of alcohol;

(q) contain scenes in which any such product is consumed, or that give the impression, visually or in sound, that it is being or has been consumed.”

Now, far be it from me to be a negative fuckin’ nancy but don’t they regularly break (e), (f), (g) and (q)? Doesn’t the Molson ad I just linked to fit the bill? How about this one? There are good ads out there.  Arrogant Bastard Ale released this campaign that pretty much made fun of mainstream beer drinkers and companies they support that release “outrageously conniving, intentionally misleading, blatantly masturbatory and fallacious ad campaigns.”

ale

I don’t know about you but I’ll take that their brand of arrogance over what the other guys are offering any day; even if it treads dangerously into that extreme, stressed graphic style I find distasteful. At least it has some credibility.

We’re way past the days when Anheuser-Busch et al. could lay any claim to putting out a “premium product” and in a way, their advertising is a perfect example of that. They can’t really claim to have the best-tasting beer but they sure as hell can sex it up.

So what’s my point with all of this? I guess I’m saying that I’m in favor of allowing spirits advertisers back into mainstream media and I’d argue that having those ads play during prime time television and be printed in newspapers isn’t going to raise a nation of underage binge-drinkers.

No, we have the stupid neo-prohibitionistic notion that children must be protected at all costs from the dangers of alcohol to thank for that. These ads will bring in important revenue and if the product is good, I see no harm in it. However, I have one proviso and it’s a biggie.

The ads should deal directly with the quality of the product. They should make you want to drink it because, goddammit, it’s the best product of its kind and you’d be a fool not to. The ads can be funny, serious or clever as long as they’re honest. Maybe I’m asking too much but I don’t think so. I’d like to see both advertising and it’s retarded cousin, Facebook apps, up their  game and start treating consumers with a little respect.

They can be the cooler, older brother if they want to.

Over at bevlog, they’re asking what readers think of a ongoing proposal by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to change the labels of all beer, wine and spirits by including “Servings Facts” information on each and every bottle.

monavie_nutritionBasically, it would indicate “typical serving size, number of servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat”. It would also be divided into two sections, ingredients and alcohol facts.

Even though this is an initiative proposed by the TTB of the USA and doesn’t effect Canada (at least initially), I’m generally in favor of more information being released to consumers to help them make decisions about the products they want to purchase.

First and foremost, the “alcohol by volume” percentage which is already printed on the label is supplemented by a box informing you of the “fl oz of alcohol” per serving. Despite some comments declaring that this might be mathematically confusing for consumers, I think it’s a fairly important piece of information to be including on the product, especially when you think about how most people don’t know how much alcohol is in individual servings of whatever they’re consuming and this can vary from product to product.

Sure, there will be lots of people who won’t give a damn but a conscientious person who wants to monitor their intake because they have to drive will be able to measure that a whole lot better or refuse a drink that would put them over the legal limit.

The other boxes don’t really matter so much although I suppose some people monitor their calorie intake closely enough that a drink will make some difference and it could be argued that people don’t pay enough attention to the empty calories they consume through drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The one exclusion that really catches my attention is the lack of any information concerning the amount of sugar in a product.

Surely this is a rather large oversight; sweeter drinks are often cheaper, mask the taste of alcohol and include more nasty congeners, the by-products of fermentation which are toxic and, along with dehydration, are largely responsible for hangovers. (On an unrelated note, I was surprised to find that bourbon drinkers like me are especially at risk; our favorite tipple contains thirty times as many congeners as vodka.)

Criticism of the proposed regulation has come from at least two different groups; another post on bevlog that featured Bluemont Vinery’s opposition from the viewpoint of a small business and a PDF posted on a government site by Wine America, a national association of wineries. Both of them are opposed because they claim adhering to these standards would result in untenable costs to smaller producers and lead to general consumer confusion due to excess labelling. They go on to state that because there is little variation in alcohol content and carbohydrates of most wines, there is no point in releasing this information and since most people already know how much they can generally handle, telling them how much pure alcohol is in a serving would also be unhelpful.

I call bullshit. I’m generally in favor of labeling for most food and drink. Most people now appreciate being able to determine the nutritional content of products they purchase at the grocery store and I would imagine they would feel the same about alcohol. Hell, I’d go further and add regulate the spread of GMOs as well as the food we’re served in restaurants but that’s another issue. As for the cost, I don’t see why it couldn’t be passed on in part to the consumers if this is something that people are truly interested in.

I’m well aware that regulations often favor the big guys like Diageo who have the money to spend on laboratory testing and label redesigns but I don’t see why both the American and Canadian (when the time comes) governments couldn’t subsidize the little guys with grants and tax breaks.

Bevlog also linked to a video of former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop talking about why adding this information to labels is important and although it’s rather dry, I agree with them; this video deserves some attention as well.

Madison Beer Review put together a great post talking about this issue and they presented several things I didn’t know at the time of writing this: one of the biggies is that the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the group who originally petitioned the TTB to change these regulations has been accused of having a “neo-prohibitionist” stance by many “beer supporters” and is of the opinion that alcohol is ruining America. I don’t doubt that their voice would be moderated by the presence of health organizations and industry lobbyists but it’s still something to consider.

However, both sides have some explaining to do. It’s also pointed out that while the Beer Institute “objects to publishing alcohol content” because said content “in most beers is in a very narrow range” this is hardly true when one considers the beer “can range from less than 4% ABV (alcohol by volume) to over 20% ABV”. As we move away from the the narrower definitions of beer that its members (who include Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors and Heineken) generally espouse, it makes sense to include this information on the label without it hurting the same folks whose products warrant its inclusion.

Also, as Madison Beer Review notes, it’s hardly realistic to reduce serving portions proportionally in terms of the ABV-2 oz for a 20% ABV brew is just silly-it would make sense to consider how beers with a higher ABV are meant to be shared and incorporate that information onto the label somehow.

In the end, I agree with them. Full disclosure of ingredients would be a nice step and would also tie in nicely with the trend to more natural, healthy products. After all, I’d take a St. Peter’s Organic English Ale over a Smirnoff Ice cooler any day.

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