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Archive for January, 2010

Gin & Juice & Music

Calvin knows a thing or two about the booze business. Not to mention all manner of other intoxicants. (I need to warm up to calling him by his assumed name.)

Sixteen years ago Cordazar Calvin Broadus (aka Snoop Dogg) released a little song called “Gin & Juice.” It set off a big chain of events. It helped to launch his career, garnering a 1995 Grammy nomination. It also unleashed a slew of covers, such as this country version by The Gourds (it is slightly less obscene than the original, if only because it’s a little harder to make out the words).

And most to the point, it also apparently unleashed the Gin & Juice product line as above. It’s possible that Seagram got there first, but I would tend to doubt it, based on not much more than the age of the song. The song specifically refers to the Seagram and Tanqueray brands of gin. There is a whole lot in the song to horrify right-thinking persons, such as flagrant disregard for women, drug laws, mom’s wishes. But even more pernicious is the nonchalance about drinking and driving. In the original video, Snoop doesn’t quite cruise down the boulevard while sipping his gin and juice, but he might as well, as he sits behind the wheel and re-fills his cup.

Most of the lyrics are too obscene, even for this adult publication, but the most pertinent and repeatable are as follows:

Now, that, I got me some Seagram’s gin
Everybody got they cups, but they ain’t chipped in

Later on that day
My homey Dr. Dre came through with a gang of Tanqueray

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distilled spirits specialty, gin


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Adult Beverages

Here it is, in all its glory, at long last. TTB’s “areola” policy.

From time to time, depending on the circumstances, TTB will say these particular body parts are “obscene” or “indecent” and must be covered. Here is a recent example of such a rejection. It says “Please cover the areolas on the woman.” And these, by way of another example, are certainly well covered.

The label above is Amethystos dry white wine, from the Drama region of Greece.

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alcohol beverages generally


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Champortini

On many labels, it can be difficult to draw the line. For example, it is tough to say whether this PimpnHo label (also by Weibel) goes too far.

But then again, it is fairly clear that Champortini went quite a bit too far.

It suggests Champagne but does not qualify to be labeled as Champagne. It suggests Port but does not qualify as Port. It sounds a lot like martini, but has none of the traditional martini ingredients. This puts the brand out in some rough waters, without the safe harbor of an approval before the crucial 2006 grandfather date set forth here.

Any one of these issues might have been enough to sink this brand, but putting all these issues together, it would be a great surprise if the brand did not sink. It apparently lasted from April 27, 2007 (the date of the first approval) until a little after February 20, 2008 (the date of the third and final approval, as above). There is no trace of this brand’s survival at the Champortini website shown on the label.

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sparkling wine


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Beer made with Saliva

We were perusing some lists of shockingly exotic alcohol beverages. Nestled among the Baby Mouse Wine and the Mare’s Milk Wine, we found, at long last, the beer made with human saliva. It is otherwise known as chicha and it goes back thousands of years, to roots in the Andes region.

The above video does an excellent job of describing why anyone would chew up maize, add some saliva, and then brew it into beer. The Dogfish site further explains:

The most exotic and unique component of this project, from the perspective of the American beer drinker, happens before the beer is even brewed. As per tradition, instead of germinating all of the grain to release the starches, the purple maize is milled, moistened in the chicha-makers’ mouths …, and formed into small cakes which are flattened and laid out to dry. The natural ptyalin enzymes in the saliva act as a catalyst and break the starches into more accessible fermentable sugars. On brewday the muko, or corn cakes, are added to the mash tun pre-boil along with the other grains. This method might sound strange but it is still used regularly today throughout villages in South and Central America. It is actually quite effective and totally sanitary. Since the grain-chewing (known as salivation) happens before the beer is boiled the beer is sterile and free of the wild yeast and bacteria you would find in modern Belgian Lambics.

The New York Times adds that “In other words, they spit in the beer.”

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malt beverage


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Liquor Sicle

This Liquor Sicle label features a prominent reference to “Liquor.” This has become rare. Where did the term come from, and where did it go?

The Online Etymology Dictionary defines “liquor” this way:

early 13c., likur “any matter in a liquid state,” from O.Fr. licour, from L. liquorem (nom. liquor) “liquid, liquidity,” from liquere “be fluid.” Sense of “fermented or distilled drink” (especially wine) first recorded c.1300. To liquor up “get drunk” is from 1845.

It is semi-ironic that this term is being applied to one of the few TTB products that is not intended to be consumed in a “liquid state.” From way back in 1892, here is a court struggling with the term, and trying to find the distinction between beer and liquor.

In a further irony, the term is probably used more commonly, these days, on malt beverages (such as Colt 45) compared to distilled spirits. “Malt liquor” goes back to at least 1937, and Alvin Gluek secured a patent on it in 1948.

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alcohol beverages generally, malt beverage


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