Apéritifs and digestifs are drinks, typically alcoholic, served before (apéritif) or after (digestif) a meal. An apéritif is served to stimulate the appetite, and is therefore usually dry rather than sweet. A digestif is intended to aid digestion. When served after a coffee course, it may be called ‘pousse-café.’ Digestifs are usually taken straight and typically contain carminative herbs, which are thought to aid digestion. ‘Apéritif’ is a French word derived from the Latin verb ‘aperire,’ which means ‘to open.’ The French slang word for ‘apéritif’ is ‘apéro,’ although in France an ‘apéro’ is also light food eaten in the late afternoon/early evening.
Common apéritif choices include dry vermouth, champagne, pastis (an anise-flavored spirit from France), gin, and dry sherry (e.g. fino and amontillado). ‘Apéritif’ may also refer to a snack that precedes a meal. This includes an amuse-bouche (a single, bite-sized hors d’oeuvre), such as crackers, cheese, pâté or olives. Common kinds of digestif include: Brandy, Cream Sherry, Sweet Vermouth, Port, Grand Marnier, Jagermeister, Kahlua, limoncello, ouzo, and tequila. In certain areas, it is not uncommon for a digestif to be taken before a main course. One example is le trou Normand, a glass of Calvados taken before the main course of a meal.read more »
Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is the flagship brand of bourbon whiskey owned by the ‘Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery’ company (which does not actually own or operate a distillery, but rather has it produced under a contract with another company). It is distilled and bottled by the Sazerac Company at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. It is often regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world, and is rare to find on the market due to its very low production and high demand. The product has a cult-like following. Famous chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and David Chang have favored the product.
‘Food Republic’ reported that Chef John Currence said: ‘There’s Pappy Van Winkle, then there’s everything else.’ Bourbon aficionados have shown up in droves to get a small chance in a lottery to purchase some. It has been called ‘the bourbon everyone wants but no one can get.’ A writer for ‘The Wall Street Journal’ said ‘You could call it bourbon, or you could call it a $5,000 bottle of liquified, barrel-aged unobtanium.’ Jen Doll wrote in ‘The Wire,’ ‘It’s an age-old dilemma (supply and demand) leading to an age-old marketing dream (a product that can’t be kept on the shelves … money in the pockets … bourbon in the bourbon snifters).’read more »
Alcohol powder is molecularly encapsulated ethanol. The powder produces an alcoholic beverage when mixed with water. According to food chemist Udo Pollmer of the European Institute of Food and Nutrition Sciences in Munich, alcohol can be absorbed in cyclodextrins, a synthetic carbohydrate derivative. The cyclodextrins can absorb an estimated 60 percent of their own weight in alcohol while remaining dry to the touch. A US patent was registered for the process as early as 1974.
Alcohol powder can be used to reconstitute alcoholic beverages or inhaled through a nebulizer (mister). In Germany a product called Subyou reportedly was distributed on the Internet. The product was available in four flavors and packed in 65 – 100 gram sachets. When mixed with 0.25 liters of water it gives a drink with 4.8% alcohol. It was assumed a German producer manufactured the product from imported raw alcohol powder from the US.read more »
Nitrogen narcosis [nahr-koh-sis] (also known as ‘raptures of the deep’ and the ‘Martini effect’) is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while diving at depth. It is caused by the anesthetic effect of certain gases at high pressure. The Greek word ‘narcosis’ is derived from ‘narke,’ ‘temporary decline or loss of senses and movement, numbness,’ a term used by Homer and Hippocrates. Narcosis produces a state similar to intoxication caused by drinking alcohol or inhaling nitrous oxide. It can occur during shallow dives, but usually becomes noticeable at depths greater than 30 meters (100 ft).
Except for helium and probably neon, all gases that can be breathed have a narcotic effect, although widely varying in degree. The effect is consistently greater for gases with a higher lipid solubility (the ability to diffuse directly through the fatty part of a cell membrane), and there is good evidence that the two properties are mechanistically related. As depth increases, the mental impairment may become hazardous. Divers can learn to cope with some of the effects of narcosis, but it is impossible to develop a tolerance. Narcosis affects all divers, although susceptibility varies widely from dive to dive, and between individuals.read more »
Psychoactive toads are amphibians from which psychoactive substances from the family of bufotoxins can be derived. The skin and poison of Bufo alvarius (Colorado River toad or Sonoran Desert toad) contain 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin, which both belong to the family of hallucinogenic tryptamines. The skin or poison of the toads may produce psychoactive effects when ingested. To obtain the psychoactive substances the toxin of psychoactive toads is commonly milked from their poison glands. The milking procedure does not harm the toad — it consists of stroking the animal under its chin to initiate the defensive poison response.
Once the liquid toxin has been collected and dried, it can be used for its psychedelic effects. The toad takes about a month to refill its poison glands. Rumors dating from the 1970s claimed that groups of hippies, some including teenagers, were licking the psychoactive toads to get high. Albert Most, founder of the Church of the Toad of Light and a proponent of recreational use of Bufo alvarius poison, published a booklet titled ‘Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert’ in 1983 which explained how to extract and smoke the secretions.
Soju (lit. ‘burned liquor’) is a distilled beverage native to Korea, typically 20% alcohol by volume. Jinro and Lotte soju are the first and third top selling alcohol brands in the world. It is usually consumed neat. It is traditionally made from rice, wheat, barley, but modern producers of soju use supplements or even replace rice with other starches, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tapioca.
Alcohol etiquette is tied to South Korea’s strict culture of respect, particular for elders. When accepting a glass from an older person, the recipient must hold the glass with two hands (left palm on the bottom, right hand holding the side) and bow the head slightly. When drinking the younger person must turn away from the elder and cover their mouth and glass with their hands. There are a few rules unique to Soju: never pour your own glass, and don’t refill your glass until it’s empty.
Chifir’ is a type of strong tea brewed in Russia. The etymology is uncertain but is thought to come from the word ‘chikhir” meaning a strong Caucasian wine, or a Siberian word for spoiled wine that has become sour and acidic. Chifir’ is typically prepared with either two or three tablespoons of loose tea per person poured on top of the boiled water. It is brewed for 10–15 minutes without stirring – until the leaves drop to the bottom of the cup. Chifir’ drunk without sugar is highly unpleasant; sweets can be held in the mouth before, during or after drinking to soften its bitter taste.
It is similar to Egyptian Sa’idi tea, a somewhat similar beverage (essentially a 1/9-strength recipe, but consumed in larger quantities).
Cannabinoids [kuh-nab-uh-noid] are a class of diverse chemical compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors (molecules on the surface of a cells in the brain and throughout the body, which receive chemical signals). After the receptor is engaged, multiple intracellular signal pathways are activated; researchers are still unraveling the precise mechanism at work.
Cannabinoid receptors are activated by endocannabinoids (produced naturally in the body), phytocannabinoids (found in plants), and synthetic cannabinoids (produced chemically in a lab). The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis. However, there are known to exist dozens of other cannabinoids with varied effects. Before the 1980s, it was often speculated that cannabinoids produced their physiological and behavioral effects via nonspecific interaction with cell membranes, instead of interacting with specific membrane-bound receptors.read more »
An entheogen [en-theo-gen] (‘generating the divine within’) is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context. Historically, entheogens were mostly derived from plant sources and have been used in a variety of traditional religious contexts.
Entheogens can supplement many diverse practices for healing, transcendence, and revelation, including: meditation, psychonautics, art projects, and psychedelic therapy. Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years. Examples of traditional entheogens include: peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, uncured tobacco, cannabis, ayahuasca, salvia, iboga, morning glory, and Amanita muscaria mushrooms.read more »
Hallucinogens [huh-loo-suh-nuh-juhns] are drugs which can cause hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or otherwise perceiving things that are not real). They are a general group of pharmacological agents that can be divided into three broad categories: psychedelics (drugs with perception-altering effects), dissociatives (drugs that produce feelings of detachment – dissociation – from the environment and self), and deliriants (drugs that induce a state of delirium in the user).
These classes of psychoactive drugs have in common that they can cause subjective changes in perception, thought, emotion and consciousness. Unlike other psychoactive drugs, such as stimulants and opioids, these drugs do not merely amplify familiar states of mind, but rather induce experiences that are qualitatively different from those of ordinary consciousness. These experiences are often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, dreams, or insanity.read more »
Melange [mey-lahnj] from French ‘mélange’ (‘set of diverse elements’) – also called the ‘spice’ – is the name of the fictional drug central to the ‘Dune’ series of science fiction novels by Frank Herbert, and derivative works.
In the series, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe is melange, a geriatric drug that gives the user a longer life span, greater vitality, and heightened awareness; it can also unlock prescience (foreknowledge of events) in some humans, depending upon the dosage and the consumer’s physiology. This prescience-enhancing property makes safe and accurate interstellar travel possible. Melange comes with a steep price, however: it is addictive, and withdrawal is fatal.read more »
Alcohol Without Liquid is a process introduced first in Asia and Europe that allows people to take in liquor (distilled spirits) without actually consuming liquid. The machine vaporizes alcohol and mixes it with oxygen, allowing the consumer to breathe in the mixture. The machine has been dubbed AWOL, a play on the military term AWOL (Absent Without Leave). The AWOL machine produces a very fine alcoholic mist. The continual intake of this mist over a twenty-minute period is the equivalent of taking one shot of distilled spirits. The machine was introduced to the United States in 2004. The possible health and safety risks of inhaling alcohol vapors are unknown and many legislators are promoting legislation to ban alcohol inhalation machines. Michigan has made it illegal to possess, sell or use an AWOL machine, and as of 2008, 22 other states have banned the device. Support for such legislation comes from groups fighting underage drinking and drunk driving, including alcohol companies such as Diageo and industry groups such as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), among others.
The machine’s marketers say it produces a ‘Euphoric High’ and the effects of alcohol consumption with decreased intake of calories, carbohydrates, and hangovers associated with common liquid consumption. Hangovers are allegedly prevented because the amount of alcohol delivered is small and this prevents the metabolic effects of alcohol from taking place, such as being a diuretic and leading to a state of dehydration which in part is responsible for the feelings of hangover. Vaporized alcohol also enters the bloodstream faster and its effects are more immediate than its liquid counterparts. If this is true, this will result in an enhanced euphoric effect, similar to drinking liquid on an empty stomach. (For similar rapid absorption, stimulants are insufflated instead of ingested. The rate of change is sensed by the nervous system.) Marketers encourage purchasers to use the machine no more than twice in a 24-hour period to avoid overconsumption, as this might be dangerous.