Ginger Beer: A Touch and a Kick

Ginger Beer

Ginger is a vegetable with countless benefits. It’s often used in cooking and medicine, notably, ginger ale which helps with stomach problems. It has a strong flavor, so much that even a few slivers can affect the flavor of food. In fact, its flavor and effect is so profound that people thought of turning it into a kind of liquor.

It was popular during the 18th century, around the times when the spice trade was booming. The drink’s taste quickly made it popular around Britain and became popular in America during the 19th century.

The drink has plenty of variations, but it’s more commonly known for two kinds of flavors. The first is the gentle, tickling and refreshing beer, not far from ginger ale. The second is a strong, carbonated hammer that stops on your tongue as soon as you take a sip.

Though tasty and bracing, Ginger beer contains alcohol. It’s easy to get carried away while drinking, so always remember to drink in utter moderation. According to the WHO, moderate means 2 drinks per day max, 5 times a week max.

How Ginger Beer is Made

It has four primary ingredients, water, ginger spice, yeast, and sugar. It’s prepared similarly to most wine.

For homemade versions, the first step is to extract the juice from the ginger. This is done by a food processor, juicer, or simply using a grate and mashing the small strips. As a substitute, you can also use ginger powder. Add the sugar, yeast then a good helping of water. Place everything in a bottle and shake to dissolve the sugar. The fermentation process can be as short as 2 days, to as long as a month.

With some home-brewed methods, they recommend placing them in plastic bottles. The mixture creates carbon dioxide and one way to know if the bottle has too much gas is by squeezing it. When the bottle is difficult to squeeze, slowly open the cap until it hisses just to remove a bit of the gas.

Other recipes include the adding of lemon juice, salt, jalapeno, and even cinnamon. The end result depends on the amount of sugar and length of fermentation. Higher yeast with a bit less sugar will result in dry ginger beer, more commonly known as ginger ale. Higher sugar and less yeast/fermentation results in a slightly golden brew known more as ginger beer.

The supermarket version of ginger ale is non-alcoholic. It’s normally composed of carbonate water, sugar and ginger flavoring. There are, however, still companies that create brewed ginger beer and ginger ale. Their alcohol content is at 0.5%, which meets FDA’s requirements.

Mixes for Cocktails

Ginger beer is known to be mixed with two cocktails. One is the Moscow Mule. It’s made from vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice. The drink is served in a copper mug to keep the flavor from being altered by the chemicals in the drink.

The second drink is known as the Dark ‘N’ Stormy. This highball cocktail is made simply by combining ‘dark’ rum and ginger beer, which produces the ‘stormy’ flavor along with some lime juice.

Too Young to Get Sober: and Other Common Myths and Misconceptions

getting sober

Sometimes it’s the things we grew up believing and tell ourselves, sometimes it’s the things we hear from others – but almost everyone has heard at least one of these common misconceptions. Many use them as excuses to remain in denial, to continue using and abusing substances despite the knowledge that something is wrong. Some are discouraged and give up before giving themselves a chance. The more fortunate have taken control of their own recovery having discovered that no-one else can dictate the course of their addiction nor their sobriety.

Myth: You’re Too Young to Get Sober

Reality: Sobriety, recovery, and reversal of addictive behavior can begin at any time in a person’s life. It is true that many people realize their alcoholism and addictions later in life after a long, slow progression or many years of denial, yet there are plenty of younger people who want and need recovery. Especially with the popularity and wide availability of highly addictive drugs such as crack/cocaine, <href=”#heroin_facts”>heroin, and <href=”#crystal_methamphetamine_facts”>methamphetamines which cause a rapid progression of addictive behavior and social, physical, and economic consequnces, younger populations are now frequently seeking help from both treatment centers and 12-step programs – and finding a great deal of success.

Myth: An Alcoholic is a bum on “Skid Row”

Reality: An alcoholic can live in an apartment, own their own home, be CEO of a major corporation, a stay-at-home mom, a professional or a student. Alcoholism, or any type of chemical dependency, knows no social or economic boundaries. Although the stereotype of the wine-o with his bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag is slowly fading, many still keep this image tucked away as reassurance that they or their loved ones surely can’t be an alcoholic since they are not destitute on the streets begging for change to get the next drink.

Myth: Hitting Bottom Means Losing Everything

Reality: “Hitting Bottom”, a term often used to describe the definitive turning point when an addicted person realizes defeat and is then able to make changes, is different for everyone. It is true that in some people’s experiences, they first had to lose homes, have children taken by the state, lose marriages & friends, or go to jail before they could accept that their alcohol or drug use was causing so much damage. But many, many others have experienced varying degrees of what they describe as their “bottom”. For one man, it may be the look in his daughter’s eyes as she watches him reach for another beer; for his neighbor it may be the cold, empty feeling she cannot drink away no matter how hard she tries.

Myth: If You’re Court-Ordered to AA, You Won’t Stay Sober & Won’t be Welcomed

Reality: Throngs of alcoholics and addicts have been referred to Alcoholics Anonymous & other 12-step meetings as part of release conditions for DWI/DUI’s and other drug and alcohol related convictions. Just as with anyone who walks in of their own will off the street, there is no guarantee that a first attempt at sobriety and recovery will be 100% successful for court appointed attendees. Yet there are plenty of sober, happy, successfully recovering alcoholics and addicts whose first meeting was at the firm request of a judge or probation officer. Were they welcomed to AA? It is rare to find an AA or NA member who would not extend open arms to any newcomer, no matter what brings him or her to the rooms. A great deal of them once had to have attendance slips signed themselves! The most important thing to remember, and often the reasoning behind court ordered attendance, is that by simply being at a meeting a person is getting exposure to a path of recovery and ideas that promote sobriety instead of substance abuse.

How Do You Know When You’re Over-Drinking? Signs That Alcohol Consumption Might be Out of Control

over drinking

Alcohol is a social drug. Accepted as it is in regular doses, it can be difficult to discern when drinking has become a negative habit and a problematic pattern.

Alcohol is a social drug, nearly as acceptable as coffee, especially when consumed later on in the day. Drinking alcohol is not stigmatized like much other drug use and is often encouraged. People are nearly required to drink with co-workers, friends and other social contacts in order to maintain community cohesion and connections. The dark side of accepted alcohol consumption is that it becomes very difficult to judge when one is drinking too much, even if this consumption doesn’t lead to regular hangovers, blackouts or negative behaviors.

How Much Alcohol Consumption is Okay?

Everyone processes alcohol differently. Fat doesn’t absorb alcohol thus women need to drink less than men to get drunk or to have alcohol problems. Young people who aren’t fully grown need to drink less than older individuals to become inebriated or see health issues occur. How alcohol affects one depends on height, weight, age, race, gender and personal disposition or genetic history.

As a general rule, women shouldn’t drink more than two units (equivalent to two glasses of wine, beer or spirits daily) and men shouldn’t drink more than three to four. Ideally, several days a week should remain alcohol-free for maximum health benefits.

What are the Signs that Alcohol Consumption Might be Out of Control?

When people think about alcoholism, they often picture a raging individual with temper problems, sexual issues or other social disorders, someone unable to manage his own existence. In fact, the great majority of people with a drinking problem are functional and capable of concealing their own tendencies.

Drinking alcohol can quickly become a pattern and a habit. This is the first sign. If an individual is dependent or reliant on having regular drinks, with dinner, after work or in social situations, then alcohol is beginning to rule his or her life. Routine drinking habits easily lead to excessive drinking patterns, sometimes involving secretive or day-long consumption.

Over time, drinking on a daily basis, even if not in excessive amounts, establishes a bodily dependency, leading one to be less capable of determining when one has drunk too much. Feeling one needs a drink before public events, intimate experiences or other challenging situations will inevitably lead to long term overconsumption.

What are the Consequences of Regular Alcohol Consumption?

Even if one doesn’t excessively binge drink, drink all day or drink in secret, regular alcohol consumption still has consequences. Alcohol is very hard on the liver, as well as the brain and other body parts. It takes a long time for the body to process. Side effects can include sleep disruption or deprivation, depression, weight gain, anxiety, poor memory and other negative results.

Keep a drinking diary if concerned about the effects of daily consumption or of alcohol becoming a habit in one’s life. Seeing the pattern and knowing its consequences can be the primary step in changing one’s harmful consumption of alcohol.

FDA Deems Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages too Dangerous for Sale

caffeinated drinks

The United States Food and Drug Administration declared that caffeinated alcohol products do not belong in stores for sale. The addition of caffeine and other stimulants is said to be an “unsafe food additive” (that’s an understatement) and all alcoholic products of this nature have been ordered to be taken off the market.

Why are Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks Dangerous

These types of alcoholic beverages come in a variety of brands and tastes, many in fruity flavors. All drinks of this kind are carbonated, tasting almost like a fizzy soda and don’t seem as harmful as they really are. Some of the more well-known brands include Joose, Moonshot, and Four Loko. All of them promptly nicknamed by some as “blackout in a can” and “liquid cocaine.”

What makes the drinks truly dangerous is that they are marketed towards young adults, mainly college students. They are commonly found among campuses and have been the cause of many alcohol abuse related incidents, even various deaths. Several colleges have taken steps to try and ban the drinks from school grounds.

They come prepackaged with tons of stimulants and when combined with alcohol – a depressant – it creates a devastating combo, more so than creating a similar drink from scratch. “It’s one thing if you make it on your own, it’s another thing when it’s packaged in this formulation,” says Dr.Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA.

A beer is only about five percent alcohol. These caffeinated, alcoholic drinks have been measured at around 15 percent alcohol … yikes. Essentially having one can is the equivalent of ingesting several beers and then downing the taste with coffee.

Thoughts and Aftermath

Regardless of whether or not these things can be bought pre-canned, alcoholic caffeinated beverage consumption isn’t going to stop overnight. Alcohol and caffeine have been a loved party combo for years, ever since the energy drinks came along.

Such caffeinated cocktail combos are extremely popular and in some parts of the world, have actually sparked up enough controversy to get government regulation involved. Jagerbombs specifically, are banned in Australia from being served at all pubs and nightclubs due to the risk involved.

These kinds of drinks have existed way before people could conveniently purchase them off shelves and freezers. Making these things aren’t exactly rocket science and as long as people have access to both alcohol and energy drinks, they will remain popular.

However, the main issue the FDA is addressing is the banning of these brand name beverages being sold in stores. In that regard, the Food and Drug Administration has certainly taken a huge step forward. While the a number of brands have already been banned from being sold in the United States, it’ll be awhile until we stop seeing them altogether in liquor stores.