PLUS ÂĄViva la resistencia! Pulque as the ultimate rebel drink * Divine intervention How the monks transformed drinking habits * Honey, I drunk the meads The bee brewâ€™s back
Exploring the origins of good drinking
Contents Hot Rum Cow – Issue 10 – #HRC10
Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved. Medieval German saying
Ape�tif 06 Me and my drinking Dan Aykroyd
18 Strange magic A short history of distillation
08 Quaffing quackery Four of drink’s more dubious medicinal claims
20 Selling stout How advertising became the true genius of Guinness
09 Lies, damned lies and statistics US drinks advertising versus consumption
26 Cofftail culture Luke Gibson on coffee cocktails 28 Salute the strange Three cheers for the weird and wonderful world of toasting
10 Drinkers through history No. 10: Boris Yeltsin
32 Booze brothers What did the monks ever do for us? Allow Hot Rum Cow to explain
12 How to ... master sabrage Learn how to open a bottle of bubbly with a great big sword 14 Science or fiction? Can a cup of joe and a fry-up sober you up? 16 A thousand words The world’s largest glass of beer
42 Liquid lunch Food historian Seren EvansCharrington lays on a boozy medieval banquet
52 ¡Viva la resistencia! What has 400 breasts, is rife with debauched rabbits and smells of revolution? The story of pulque
Editorial enquiries Simon Lyle firstname.lastname@example.org
Design and illustration enquiries Eric Campbell email@example.com
56 In search of the medieval pint We brew up a forgotten pleasure
Advertising enquiries David Riddell firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscriptions Ewen Hosie email@example.com
Hot Rum Cow is published by White Light Media. 54 Timberbush, Edinburgh EH6 6QH. Tel: 0131 555 6494 www.hotrumcow.co.uk
Hot Rum Cow – Issue 10 – #HRC10
Fraser Allen EDITOR
Simon Lyle EDITOR AT LARGE
Matt McArthur EDITORIAL
Christina McPherson, Malcolm Triggs, Ewen Hosie DESIGN
Matt McArthur, Ross Daniel Russell, Sarah Tucker DIGITAL
Tom Adams BUSINESS MANAGER
International Media Sales David Riddell 0141 563 1381 / 07899 790818
WHO? Published by White Light Media Ltd, 54 Timberbush, Edinburgh EH6 6QH. Printed in the UK by Cambrian Offset Ltd. Hot Rum Cow is distributed by MMS. THE LEGAL BIT All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All prices are correct at time of going to press but are subject to change. The paper used for this publication is made from FSC certified sources using 100% ECF pulp. This magazine can be recycled through your kerbside collection or at a local recycling point. Cover illustration: Matt Sloe
Fea�ures 62 Perpetually playful potations Opening up a compendium of drinking games through the ages 68 The sausage of the spirits world How whisky links the world and World Whisky Day links its drinkers
84 Interesting drinks worth trying No. 10: Escubac 86 Of myths, magic and mead A mead renaissance inspired by a psychedelic past
72 Find your style Perry
96 Time, gentlemen, please An extract from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part II
78 Liquid legacy Exploring the lives of the latest in three long family lines
98 Ask Eric Our resident expert answers your questions
Printed on FSC mixed sources paper
A gentle introduction to a flavoursome magazine > Dan Aykroyd > Booze Quackery > Lies, damned lies > Drinkers through history > How to ... sabre champagne > Science or fiction? > A thousand words
ME AND MY DRINKING
DAN AYKROYD WAS ELWOOD BLUES IN THE BLUES BROTHERS AND RAY STANTZ IN GHOSTBUSTERS. THIS IS QUITE ENOUGH FOR ANYONE’S CV, BUT THE ACTOR, SCREENWRITER, COMEDIAN, MUSICIAN AND ENTREPRENEUR ALSO NOW SELLS HIS CRYSTAL HEAD VODKA IN 42 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD.
Other than your own vodka (naturally), what is your favourite tipple? That would have to be Patrón Tequila, which is the logical choice for any premium Margarita. Launching Crystal Head Vodka all started when I brought Patrón Tequila to Canada because Canadians didn’t have a premium tequila for them to enjoy. Then it dawned on me that there was no ultra-premium vodka that didn’t contain sugars either. I just wanted something better to serve my guests – something to rise above some of the less expensive products. My thought was surely a better, more naturally smooth taste and mouth-feel were achievable. You must have propped up the bar with some colourful characters over the years. Who was the best drinking companion? It’s always wonderful to enjoy a drink with John Alexander, my co-founder and American artist of the brilliant skull bottle design.
We’re based in Scotland. Your character Elwood Blues supposedly has a Scottish uncle, and your own family also has some Scottish ancestry. Have you ever visited? Scotland is a wonderful place that I’ve visited many times. I filmed parts of The House of Mirth with the brilliant Gillian Anderson in Glasgow. Speaking of Glasgow, you’re clearly a big music fan – did you know there used to be a band from that fair city named after you called Dananananaykroyd? What’s the weirdest thing a fan has done in your honour? Fans always give me the most amazing gifts. One fan made a lounge chair with Crystal Head bottles in the armrests – a truly unique creation. I have even seen several fans tattooed with Elwood on them.
If you were getting a round of drinks in for Elwood Blues and Ray Stantz, what would you get each of them? Elwood Blues would enjoy our signature cocktail – the Canadian Mule, made with Crystal Head Aurora, our new ultrapremium wheat-based vodka. The new vodka offers a drier, bolder and spicier flavour. Ray Stantz is a man, much like myself, who enjoys a simple creation. Crystal Head Vodka, dry vermouth, two olives and a pearl onion. Shaken well with ice. And how do you feel about the new female-led Ghostbusters film? I know the women in the Ghostbusters movie are going to deliver a new and exciting film! Melissa, Kristen, Kate and Leslie are doing amazing things with the franchise. You were nominated for an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy. If you could play someone you admire in a film, who would you choose? General Cutis LeMay [World War II US Air Force General]. If you were a condemned man, awaiting your fate, what would your last drink be? Crystal Clear – Crystal Head on the rocks with fresh lime.
CRYSTAL HEAD’S LATEST EXPRESSION IS AURORA – VISIT WWW.CRYSTALHEADVODKA.COM/AURORA FOR MORE www.hotrumcow.co.uk
QUAFFING QUACKERY Booze and medicine have shared a long and chequered history. Many drinks developed from medicines while many ‘medics’ made dubious claims about the health-giving qualities of drinks – here are four of the most outrageous
Decades before it received its reputation as a bohemian drink, absinthe was used during the French Revolution as an all-purpose elixir. Allegedly invented by a French doctor, this anise-ﬂavoured spirit was considered to have medicinal purpose due to the presence of trace amounts of wormwood, used in Europe as a medicinal herb. The more outlandish historical uses made of absinthe include its application in the treatment of kidney stones – ironic considering both alcohol and wormwood are bad for the kidneys – and epilepsy – which is also ironic, as wormwood contains the compound thujone, known to exacerbate seizures.
Gaétan Picon, a French soldier stationed in Algeria, invented this caramel-flavoured bitter, popular now as an aperitif in France. He originally designed the drink as an elixir to aid his recovery from malaria. It was distilled using macerated orange zest, bitter gentian, quinine and caramel. While the drink did not provide any notable defence against malaria, Picon made his own recovery, and later found success with the drink as an aperitif. He died in his seventies in the year 1888.
LIES, DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS 40 years of US alcohol advertising expenditure and how much alcohol people there actually drank
Brandy was a popular medicinal drink in the 19th century. An extreme overview of its healing properties can be found in the Rev. Samuel Fenton’s snappily titled 1847 journal The Excellent Properties of Salted Brandy as a Most Efﬁcacious Medicine and Sedative for Internal as Well as External Diseases, Inﬂammation and Local Injuries. In it, Fenton cites salted brandy as a cure for just about everything, from plague and gout, to the common cold.
ALCOHOL AD SPENDING ($m) 500
400 300 200
Wine has been used medicinally for thousands of years, with accounts stretching back to the days of ancient Egypt. In more recent terms, however – if you can call two millennia ago recent – vermouth was prescribed for several ailments. One historical base for what we know now as vermouth hails back to 400 BC; this ‘Hippocratic Vinum’ was formulated by famed Greek apothecary Hippocrates to treat – among other things – intestinal worms.
ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION Gallons per capita 1971 22.2 gal
28 26 24 22 20
2011 24.6 gal
SOURCE: BEER, WINE OR SPIRITS? ADVERTISING’S IMPACT ON FOUR DECADES OF CATEGORY SALES, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING, 2015
DRINKERS UGH HISTORY O THR
No. 10 BORIS YELTSIN
Each issue we take a look at a notable drinker from history. This time it’s the turn of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin
he first president of post-Soviet Russia, Boris Yeltsin left behind a mixed legacy; at the end of his presidential tenure in 1999, he was believed to have held a public approval rating as low as two per cent. While he helped to usher in an era of post-glasnost Russian prosperity, he was ruthlessly corporate, creating massive wealth disparity among the Russian population. While he forged new ties with Western allies, he was also the orchestrator of violent conflict in Chechnya. Aside from his controversial politics, however, Yeltsin is well remembered for his drinking. A PR’s nightmare, Yeltsin was often prone to displays of jovial-yet-inappropriate public inebriation, and YouTube probably has a server dedicated to space for his drunk-dancing videos alone.
Other incidents wouldn’t come to public attention until later on. In 2009, Bill Clinton described to a writer how Yeltsin was once found by security standing outside the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue trying to find a taxi so he could go get some pizza. In his pants. The next night, he was reportedly found by security again, stumbling around the basement of Blair House, the White House’s guest residence. Yeltsin, then, was something of a tragic drinking figure, polarising Russians and non-Russians alike with his erratic and unpredictable behaviour. After a long struggle with a poor heart (he underwent quintuple bypass surgery in 1996), Yeltsin died of congestive heart failure at the age of 76 on 23 April 2007.
TED THAI/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY
In 1992, Yeltsin played the spoons on the Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev’s head at a state banquet held by the ex-Soviet country. In August 1994 in Berlin, he snatched a baton from a conductor and drunkenly led a band, and attempted to sing along with an orchestra. A month later, he stood up the Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at Shannon Airport, when he was too drunk to leave his plane. He even compared Swedish tennis player Björn Borg’s face to meatballs at a nuclear weapons conference in Stockholm in 1997.
Yeltsin was once found by security standing outside the White House so he could go get some pizza. In his pants.
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HOW TO ... SERVE WITH A SABRE
ILLUSTRATION: Tom Humberstone
Neither the easiest nor most practical way to open a bottle of bubbly, serve via decapitation – known as sabrage – is nonetheless the coolest. It can take a bit of practice, so read on for some pointers to avoid taking your fingers off.
ASSUME THE POSITION
Hold the bottle away from your body at a 30- to 45-degree angle with offhand, and place sabre or knife in dominant hand.
PREPARE THE BOTTLE Remove the foil from the head of the bottle. Unwind the wire cage, place cage slightly above glass lip of bottle head and re-tighten.
3 THE KILLER BLOW Using the seam of the bottle as a guide, hit the lip of the bottle head using the blunt end of the sabre. Try not to sweep in an arc or at an angle – instead use a straight, punching motion with moderate force.
4 CHAMPAGNE SUCCESS If done correctly, the cork and top of the bottle should pop off, leaving a clean cut along the neck.
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~SCIENCE OR FICTION? Can coﬀee and fry-ups really sober you up? Let science explain.
ou’ve probably seen it in the movies or read it in a novel at some point – some drunk needs a quick-cut sober-up in time for that big job interview, or that high noon showdown or that meeting with bae’s parents, so they reach for a strong cup of joe. Or maybe they’ve got the hangover from hell and dive headfirst into a stonking great doner kebab. According to research, however, coffee and greasy food may not actually be as effective as you’d hope. People get the impression that coffee in particular may aid them in their attempts to get sober because it is a stimulant, but it doesn’t actually quicken the rate that the body processes alcohol. The American Psychological Association published reports of an experiment led by Temple University in Philadelphia in 2009 that looked into measuring whether intoxicated mice got better at navigating a maze containing unpleasant stimuli, such as bright light and loud sounds, when injected with caffeine. The study concluded that “caffeine failed to reduce ethanol-induced learning benefits”. The boozed-up, 14
uncaffeinated mice had general problems avoiding the stimuli compared with the sober ‘control’ mice. The mice that were intoxicated and caffeinated at the same time, though more alert, didn’t fare any better in avoiding these pitfalls either. Caffeine, therefore, is not a particularly good idea when drunk, as it can trick the mind into a false sense of sobriety, leading to poor decisionmaking. If you’re looking to
sober up quickly, you’re better off just sticking to water. Similar research from Northern Kentucky University shows that caffeinated energy drinks, often used as cocktail mixers, can also mask the effects of drunkenness. A study of 18 participants showed that people who drank alcoholic energy drinks often rated themselves as feeling more sober than people with the same blood alcohol level who had consumed only alcohol.
When it comes to food, a greasy fry-up won’t sober you up properly either – the only thing that can really break down the alcohol in your system is time – but the combination of bread, bacon (and fat) found in a fry-up breakfast can help when you’re feeling rough the next day. Protein in bacon assists the breakdown of amino acids, increasing the production of neurotransmitters in the brain that help dull the thud of a hangover headache. n
~ A THOUSAND WORDS
A large beer The world’s largest glass of beer, to be more precise
The world’s largest glass of beer was produced and poured by Angus Wood and Ed Dupuy of the Stod Fold Brewing Company in Yorkshire, England in July 2014. It contained 2,082 litres, or 3,664 pints – one for each of the kilometres in the Tour de
France cycle race which was passing through Yorkshire that summer. The beer was Stod Fold Gold ale and the glass measured 2.23 metres in height and 1.12 metres in diameter. It took one hour to fill the glass.
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