During the Renaissance, some aristocrats used liquor such as Cognac X.O. as a cure for the flu. Despite possessing such alleged medicinal properties, alcohol is mostly consumed for its mood enhancing effects.
Although the nationality most associated with vodka are Russians, there is also Finnish and Polish vodka. The agua ardiente contains 40% of alcohol; the only alcohol purer is Everclear with 95% statistics. Ingesting pure alcohol may cause extensive damage; drinking industrial or rubbing alcohol leads to blindness in the mildest of incidents.
Bear can be blonde, red or dark - jokingly referring to hair colours redhead, blonde and brunette. Germans pride themselves on their alcoholic beverage production and beer gardens. Belgian and Dutch beer is also praised.
Wine may be red, white, and rosé (pink). The colour has to do with the grapes the wine is made from. After harvest, grapes are crushed and after a while (the longer the better) the wine is ready to drink. The mechanics of the process are complex and will be left out of the present discussion. Courses in wine chemistry could easily answer any technical questions one may have on the subject.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Bordeaux, Shiraz… possibilities are almost endless. Price ranges from 10 dollars to several thousands. The usual alcohol content is in the proximity of 15%. Only champagne from France is genuine champagne, the rest is wine mousseux. Bollinger Blanc de Noir, Crystal Rosé and Dom Pérignon are popular high-end champagne brands.
In Montreal, there is a bartending school - École des Maîtres – where for between 400 and 900 dollars, approximately, depending on the programs, one becomes a certified bartender. Bartenders make good money in tips and have the luxury of working in an environment that most consider fun. In fact, the guests are all presumably in a bubbly mood and just looking for a good time.
Alternatively, the barman is traditionally associated with strangers telling sad stories. He patiently and sincerely listens - or just stands there wiping glasses - while the lonesome cowboy drowns his sorrows in alcohol like so many before. Barmaids enjoy the same privileges, but there is more emphasis on appearance. Many a barmaid is, or at least looks like, a femme fatale.
Piña Colada Cocktail Recipe
- 7 ounces pineapple juice
- 4 ounces light rum
- 2 ounces cream of coconut*
- 3 cups crushed ice
Shake well (preferably mix in a blender) and strain. Decorate with an umbrella or a maraschino cherry.
***For a lighter, fewer calories version, replace with coconut milk