DailyDirt: Beverage Marketing At Its Highest… Altitudes?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Putting all sorts of things into space to see how they’ll react in a micro-gravity environment has been done for decades now. Sometimes, it’s really unpredictable what exactly will happen to stuff — eg. will seeds exposed to space grow differently? But some things are not really too consequential. Do whisky drinkers really care if their favorite beverages are aged in space? Are astronauts allowed to get drunk on the International Space Station?

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Beverage Marketing At Its Highest… Altitudes?”

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5 Comments
Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Proper Tasting

The appropriate way to taste any strong alcoholic beverage would be in a blind tasting (the taster does not know which beverage is which) and cut by 50% consistently (very important that it is consistently 50%) with water (preferably pure distilled water made from turning water into steam and collecting the distillate (no flavor added)) and then spitting out the tasted sample. Once the tasting is finished, go for it, but while the tasting is in progress, one does not need the influence alcohol has on ones perception.

Aging can have added benefit, as well as cost, but if you mix your bourbon with anything, then that added benefit is totally lost by the added flavors of the mixer (except where ego counts), even if it is local water. What that bourbon is aged in is also important. It is usually oak, but sometimes they do the aging in something else, like glass or stainless steel, which adds no flavor or value. Some purists even object to ice, or at least an over abundance of ice (two cubes or it waters the essence down).

Now local water can be ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but the issue is how much does it add to the tasting process. I went sailing with a PHD chemist who worked for the water department in San Francisco (a break in his circumnavigation to restore the cruising kitty), and I asked him how the water was in SF. His answer was “fucking great”. That however does not change how much it might influence a tasting. While it might be pure, even copper can add flavor to that very pure water.

Blind tasting is the only way to go, and bottled waters often have more bad in them than the local water source, like in San Francisco. Send your local water to a lab and ask them what is in it. Send a blind sample of some bottled water to that same lab, and ask them what is in it. I know some folks in SF that did just that. They wanted nothing to do with any bottled water, and wanted the local water to run through NSF approved filters, before they made coffee with it.

As I have mentioned before, read the labels. If the word blended is on the label, almost all other claims are mute. Know your local and national labeling (maybe even the laws of the source community) laws to know exactly where you stand.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Proper Aging

One of the biggest factors I see in aging alcohol is that in a gravity, everything settles. You’d be disgusted at what’s normally in wine (for example) that settles as the bottles sit. In space, nothing will settle (assuming no centrifugal forces), so all that nastiness will be in every sip. I would guess that any beverage that requires aging will be the same. Space juice probably NEEDS to be in a centrifuge to age “properly”.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Proper Aging

I do believe that almost all aged beverages are filtered before bottling.

You are not wrong about things left when making, say wine. Once the grapes are crushed, the remaining skins, pulp,, stems, etc. (called the must) was once thrown in the corner as waste. Once it was observed that that ‘must’ actually fermented, wine makers started to create a new beverage called grappa from what was once considered detritus. Grappa is now made purposefully from the leftovers of wine making (a byproduct) and is marketed, at a price that defies cost considerations.

A centrifuge is probably not necessary for aging. It probably is necessary for bottling. Ever seen a cloudy bourbon, or one that has sediment at the bottom?

Wine can, but that sediment (known as lees) is from bottle aging, and is separated through a process know as decanting, whereby the wine is poured into another container in front of a candle (or other light) so that one may stop when the sediment comes to the pour. Wines that are susceptible (older red wines) are typically set upright for several hours before decanting, to allow the sediment to settle, and then opened carefully so as to not disturb the sediment.

Decanting has the added advantage of oxygenating the wine, which is similar to the ‘breathing’ that happens through the cork (if the cork is cork). Even if the wine is stored on its side for long periods, oxygen exchange still takes place, but slower. Decanting, oxygen exchange takes place but faster. Open a wine, taste it immediately. Then swirl the wine in your glass and taste it again. Then wait an hour and taste it again. If one pays attention, there will be differences, even if one is not a super taster. Another experiment would be to open a wine, taste it, then decant it and taste again.

The only beverage I know of that is not ‘strained’ is Chimay Ale, though there may be others. The thing about Chimay is that the yeast is still in there, and continues (for a while at least) to ferment in your stomach. Or so the mythology goes.

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