Category: Spirit & Alcohol

Sober October

Sober October

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Autumn is October and to mark the start of this season, a worthy UK charity  Macmillan (cancer relief) has suggested that we make this month ‘Sober October.’

Instead of buying and imbibing alcoholic drinks, we should take up the challenge of being teetotal and donate the money we would otherwise spend on booze to charity instead.

A worthy cause we hope many will try.

A good friend who likes his lager will give it a go ;).

Drinking Alcoholic beverages  in large amounts can be a cause of cancer.

Alcoholism is a problem

These recent sobering statistics from Alcohol Concern highlight the problem.

Statistics on Alcohol

  • More than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits
  • In the UK, in 2014 there were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths
  • Alcohol is 10% of the UK burden of disease and death, making alcohol one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK, after smoking and obesit
  • An estimated 7.5 million people are unaware of the damage their drinking could be causing
  • Alcohol related harm costs England around £21bn per year, with £3.5bn to the NHS, £11bn tackling alcohol-related crime and £7.3bn from lost work days and productivity costs
  • A minimum unit price is one of the most effective strategies of reducing alcohol-related harm. Selling alcohol for no less than 50p a unit would tackle health inequalities, reduce alcohol related crime, hospital admissions, lost productivity days and save lives.
  • Alcohol was 61% more affordable in 2013 than it was in 1980

Alcohol and Health

  • Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression
  • In the UK in 2012-13, there were 1,008,850 hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis
  • However, if you include deaths where alcohol was a contributing factor (such as various cancers, falls and hypertensive diseases), the figure increases to 21,512: 13,971 for males and 7,541 for females
  • Males accounted for approximately 65% of all alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2014
  • Alcohol now costs the NHS £3.5bn per year; equal to £120 for every tax payer
  • The alcohol-related mortality rate of men in the most disadvantaged socio-economic class is 3.5 times higher than for men in the least disadvantaged class, while for women the figure is 5.7 times higher
  • In England and Wales, 63% of all alcohol-related deaths in 2012 were caused by alcoholic liver disease
  • Liver disease is one of the few major causes of premature mortality that is increasing
  • Deaths from liver disease have reached record levels, rising by 20% in a decade
  • The number of older people between the ages of 60 and 74 admitted to hospitals in England with mental and behavioural disorders associated with alcohol use has risen by over 150% in the past ten years, while the figure for 15-59 years old has increased by 94%

We hope as many will take the time to digest the above and reduce digestion of alcohol this month and beyond.

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Commandaria (Nama) ~ Greek Wine

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Commandaria (Nama) ~ Greek Wine

Look what I found hiding at the back of the shelves of our wine cabinet, a couple of bottles of 25 years old Commandaria wines, which we bought from Cyprus 15 years ago. Commandaria is a sweet dessert wine which taste a bit like sherry.

We bought these Commandaria wines near a monastery in Cyprus. I remember having to put a makeshift skirt from a scarf to cover up my bare legs in order to be allowed to tour the monastery which housed beautiful icons and artifacts.

After the tour, we bought lots of lovely cypriot laces, embroidered tablecloths and matching napkins and of course the commandaria.

Commandaria is so popular in Cyprus. Apparently commandaria or Nama as it was originally called is drunk in bucketloads during the feast day of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who we knew was born off the sea of Cyprus.

As early as 700 BC, the farming poet, Hesiod, described how Nama was made. First of, the red and white grapes are dried in the sun for at least a couple of weeks. The wine made from these dried grapes was stored in great earthenware jars and left to ferment until the desired potency or taste was achieved! It was previously believed that this red dessert wine had healing properties.

Modern way of fermenting the wine no longer use earthenware jars but leave the wine to mature using oak cask.

As mentioned above, the original name of the wine was Nama but after the Knights Templars took over and controlled an island in Cyprus which was called Commandaria, the popular nama was renamed Commandaria. And this happened more than 800 years ago, which makes Commandaria the oldest existing name for a particular wine.

Peter had a big glass of Commandaria over Christmas but he found it too sweet.

I had a bit and must admit I am rather partial to it (I like the taste) but in small measure.

Wine, Alcohol and the Spirit

Wine is bottled poetry.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Wine fermenting and wine drinking are as old as the earliest as the human race. Apparently, archaeological digs have unearthed evidence that wine & beer fermenting was already in existence during the neolithic age.

What it is about wine that it has continued to rule, calm, ruin, obsess humans?  Why men whine about wine?  Why get addicted with alcohol?  Why make merry with the spirit?

Let us hear from some known word smiths who had something to say about this enthralling liquid that can soothe or burn the throat.

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The Wine Cabinet, Photo by JMorton

Wine, Alcohol and the Spirit

Drinking is a way of ending the day.
– Ernest Hemingway

In the matter of wine you must go by the taste and let everything else go hang.
– Hilaire Belloc

I’m not a heavy drinker; I can sometimes go for hours without touching a drop.
– Noel Coward

… the healthiest and most health-giving of drinks.
– Louis Pasteur

Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives.
– Julia Childs

Wine maketh merry but money answeret all things.
– Ecclesiastes 10:19

You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
– Dean Martin

Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe

Bloody Mary, photo by JMorton

 

Bloody Mary is a special favourite. I do like tomato juice with a bit of a spiritual kick of vodka, Tabasco and Worcestershire Sauce. I would drink this slowly with a stick of celery to swirl this blood-red concoction round and round.

Did you know?

Bloody Mary was named after Mary Tudor (1516-1558), daughter of Henry VIII with Katherine of Aragon.

Mary was the last Catholic Monarch.  During her reign, she tried to restore Catholicism as the official state religion.  She was intolerant of any form of criticism what she burned hundreds at the stake and hanged many Prostestants.

Her tyranny earned her the  sobriquet as ‘Bloody Mary’

Anyways, here is the recipe.

 

 Bloody MaryIngredients

  • 2 ice cubes
  • vodka, double shot
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 150ml/5fl oz tomato juice
  • pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
 Method of preparation:

  • Place the ice into a tall glass and add the vodka.
  • Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and tomato juice. Stir well.
  • Adjust the seasoning, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve straightaway.

 

Mango Daiquiri

This is an all-season cocktail. Imagine sipping a mango Daiquiri, a cocktail that has the taste of the sunny Caribbean, during the Christmas holidays while looking out of the window watching the snow falls down.

Mango Daiquiri

Mango Daiquiri for two.

This recipe  which serves one can be prepared as quick as 5 minutes.

1 ripe mango, chopped coarsely

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tsp Cointreau

1 tbsp mango liqueur

60ml white rum

1/2 ice, crushed

orange or lime slice to decorate

  1. Process the mango with the lime juice, Cointreau, mango liqueur, rum and ice untill blended.
  2. Pour in a cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of lemon or lime
  3. Enjoy

 

Champagne Cocktail

 

Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.
– Madame de Pompadour

When it is good, it is really good. This basic recipe of a champagne cocktail has stood the test of time. It is as elegant and sophisticated now as when it was sipped by the Hollywood glitterati of the 1940s.

Champagne Cocktail

To make this nectar you will need:

1 white sugar cube
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
25ml brandy
Dry Champagne

Place the sugar cube in a champagne flute.

Moisten with the Angostura Bitters

Add the Brandy.

Stir

Gently add the champagne.

Serve and enjoy!

Rossini Champagne Cocktail

Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.
– Graham Greene

Rossini Champagne Cocktail

This is a delicious cocktail which would be appreciated by even the most discerning of palates.

1 tbsp raspberry puree
1 tsp Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
2 dashes of orange bitter
chilled champagne

In a champagne flute, add the puree, liqueur and orange bitter.

Stir in gently the chilled champagne.

Cin cin

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