Category: Spirit & Alcohol

Reality is impossible to take neat; we must dilute it with alcohol.

  • Peter De Vries

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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Champagne, the Quotes

Champagne is such a glorious, hedonistic drink that many have been driven to wax lyrical about it. Below are just a few of the many:

Champagne, the Quotes

Champagne is the one thing that gives me zest when I feel tired.
– Brigitte Bardot

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

ChampersChampagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.
– Graham Greene

In a perfect world, everyone would have a glass of Champagne every evening.
– Willie Gluckstern

I only drink Champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.
– Lily Bollinger

My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink enough Champagne.
– Dying words, John Maynard Keenes

Three be the things I shall never attain: envy, content and sufficient Champagne.
– Dorothy Parker

There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.
– Bette Davis

Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.
– Mark Twain

Why do I drink Champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone?
– Noel Coward

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.