Beer or Wine: Pick Your Poison

Beer or Wine: Pick Your Poison

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It’s almost like comparing apples to oranges, but to some extent beer and wine are comparable if we talk about market shares. A Gallup survey just this August showed that wine is encroaching into beer country, with the difference between beer and wine as America’s beverage of choice shrinking from 20 percentage points in 1992 to just a point last year for beer. The survey hinted that wine is becoming more popular among the younger generations and minorities.

But in numbers, beer still outsells wine by a mile, largely because beer is consumed in large quantities as opposed to wine. In fact, for every glass of wine consumed, nearly 3,500 bottles of beer were drunk in 2011. Interestingly, the infographic from FinancesOnline.com shows which countries drink beer or wine most.

Brewers are hopeful, though, that the emerging markets offer an ample room to grow their business. China and Brazil are the biggest and third-biggest beer markets today, respectively (the U.S. is second). To show how big the Chinese market is, the world’s number one beer brand is Snow Beer; hardly known in the States, yes, because it’s mostly sold in China, but it’s consumed nearly twice as much as Budweiser last year.

Still, brewers lament that wine lobbyists have made a good campaign to position their alcohol as the "healthier" drink. With more people jumping into the health and wellness lifestyle, beer, it seems, only belongs to that guy with the big belly. Not so fast, though, because beer advocates are fighting back with their slew of health claims, mainly the silicon in beer that supposedly makes bones stronger. Check the infographic for more details.

As for the matter of sophistication, wine drinkers may not be all show. A look at the top wine varieties in 2012 indicate that wine drinkers’ preference is more spread out among cabernet, merlot, and pinot noir for red, and chardonnay, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc for white. For beer drinkers’ preference, it’s mainly pale lagers and pilsners.

So which one is better? Well, we already know the answer: it’s wine for the wine drinker and beer for the beer drinker.

How to Make Wheat Beer

First, what are wheat beers? Wheat beers are brewed with a blend of wheat and barley where the wheat portion is anywhere from 30-70% of the total. Wheat extract malts are typically 40% wheat and 60% barley. Wheat has more proteins than barley and contributes to great long-lasting heads, but also gives more haze. Wheat also is lighter in color and contributes less flavor than barley, so it makes for a great summer brew and a smooth transition to craft beers for the “Bud” and “Miller” crowd.

Belgian Witbiers (white beers) are similar to the German Hefeweizen style. Belgian Witbiers use a special yeast that ferments crisp with a little tartness to it. They also add coriander and orange peel in the last 5-15 minutes of the boil as well as some flavor or aroma hops not used in the German Hefeweizens. All-grain brewers will usually use white wheat to give an even lighter color.
  • steep a bag of grains in 2 gallons of hot water(about 160 degree) for 20 minutes
  • remove and discard the grain bags
  • stir in your malt extracts
  • turn the heat back on and bring to a boil
  • add your bittering hops and boil for an hour
  • maybe add some flavor and/or aroma hops at the end of the boil (per your recipe)
  • cool your wort down, then pitch the yeast

How, When, And Why to Rim Your Cocktail Glass

Presentation is important, but thoughtfully rimming your cocktail is about more than good looks. That ring provides texture, color, and contrasting flavors to canonical drinks like Margaritas, where a dose of salt on your glass offsets the sweet-and-sour concoction within.

“This is something that, when done without thought, is often done poorly,” cocktail legend Dale DeGroff reportedly warned about salt rims. It’s a valid point. When executed carefully, rims balance your drink. If applied incorrectly, a rim can overpower or dilute an otherwise tasty cocktail.

Fortunately, with a few key tips, you’ll be serving flawlessly executed cocktails in no time.

Pick Your Poison

Every rim is comprised of two or more components: liquid and solid(s). Choose and use your ingredients wisely, because everything that touches the rim of a glass will affect the flavor of the drink.


Water, juice, beer, or syrups are all perfectly suitable liquids to use for rimming your cocktail. If you opt for anything but water, of course, be mindful that its flavor will come through in the final drink.

In other words, pilsner is a great way to moisten your glass when you’re adding a lemon-sugar rim to a shandy, but less ideal for, say, an Apple Cider Mimosa. (For that, you should go with water or leftover cider.)


Salt is the most commonly used solid on a cocktail rim, but it’s not the only garnish in town. You can use sugar, crushed candies, spices, herbs — anything goes, so long as the flavors don’t overpower your cocktail and are palatable enough to consume straight. (After all, who among us hasn’t treated a chili-flecked rim on a Margarita as our personal salt lick?)

Put a Ring on It

“The biggest mistake that everyone makes when making rims at home is you get the salt on the inside of the glass,” Don Lee, a partner at NYC cocktail destination Existing Conditions, says. Rimming only the outer portion of a glass is important because it keeps your garnish from falling into your cocktail and throwing off its flavor.

To sidestep this gaffe, wet only the outside of your glass with a dampened paper towel. Or, for better adhesion, pour some of your preferred liquid into a shallow saucer. Lay your glass on its side in the saucer and roll the outer circumference of the glass in the liquid.

You want about a quarter-inch or less to be moistened feel free to dry any excess liquid with a clean towel before adding your solid. Most bartenders prefer to rim only half or a portion of a cocktail glass, so that you can taste your drink with and without the garnish if you so choose. “That way everyone has the option,” Lee says.

Next, put your chosen solid in a similarly shallow saucer and repeat the process with the moistened segment of your glass. If any errant salt flakes or solids fall into your glass in the process, give the interior a quick swipe with a clean napkin or cloth.

Congratulations! You are now a total pro at rimming glassware. Now you just have to make your cocktail. (Don’t worry, we have plenty of ideas on that front.)

10 Best Cocktails In a Can to Get Your Beach Party Started

It used to be a lot harder to drink on the go. Having an alcoholic beverage anywhere that was not a house or bar required bringing liquor, a mixer, and ice, depending on what you wanted to drink. Now, thanks to the Internet, we can get pretty much everything in a convenient amount of time, in whatever packaging we request. Sites like Drizly make it so that you literally don't have to leave your lounge chair by the pool, just order and wait&mdashno DD necessary. And somewhere along the line, we stopped putting just soda and beer in cans and moved onto wines, malt beverages, tequila, vodka, even coffee.

I'm not against a canned drink (known as tinnies in the U.K.), but I taste-tested every option below (and more), and learned that not all canned beverages are created equal&mdashand also that four 250ML cans equals 1.3 bottles of wine, so pace yourself. Or don't. Either way, I hope these help you pick something to sip on before you switch to the hard(er) stuff.

Oh Malibu, how I love thee. I hold a special place in my heart for Malibu&mdashit helped ease everyone I know into their first hangover. I personally was more of a Smirnoff Ice gal (we'll get to them later), but pineapple and Malibu was always my sister's go-to. One major thing to keep in mind with these pre-mixed rum cocktails is that they have .05 percent more alcohol content than most other cans, coming in at 5 percent alcohol, and that's sure to get you buzzed a little faster. Expect the same coconut-y flavor in all three delicious flavors: fizzy pink lemonade, piña colada, and strawberry kiwi.

I can't do a story on canned drinks and not mention Lime-A-Ritas. After Four Loko was recalled, there was a major void in the canned industry. You think I'm kidding, but I'm dead serious. That was until Lime-A-Rita came around. Now you can get strawberry, mango, passionfruit, coconut, lemon, cherry-lime, and they've even gotten into the spritz game. You can get one at your local liquor store or an MLB game&mdashthe Lime-a-rita is officially mainstream and I am not mad about it.

While canned drinks are typically reserved for beer or soda, you can now also get a spiked kombucha with 4.5 percent alcohol. Flying Embers organic hard kombucha comes in three yummy flavors: Lemon Orchard, Ginger & Oak, and Ancient Berry. I was a little skeptical at first as I had never tried kombucha, but it is super refreshing. I can definitely sip on one or two of these.

Always down to try a new drink, I was excited about this zero-sugar options. They use a mix of ancient grains and cassava root (a.k.a. yuca), which piqued my interest. These cans have the lowest alcohol content at 4 percent, and are naturally gluten-free, so, score. If peach is not your thing, opt for the strawberry lemon, coconut pineapple, or mango flavors.

Nothing like a malt beverage to get your party started. Since my green apple Smirnoff Ice days, the brand has really stepped their game up. Like, a lot. They now offer cranberry-lime, piña colada, four different rosés, watermelon, and orange mango flavors in their sparkling seltzers. There's something for every member of the crew, no matter how picky they may be. You can expect a crisp, fresh taste that tastes dangerously close to water after the first one is down.

It was only a matter of time before tequila came in a can. It seems that everywhere you go, people are obsessed with margaritas, while palomas come in a close second. Cutwater Spirits is based in San Francisco and offers a lime version with 12.5 percent alcohol content, so I recommend treating this as you would any other margarita (carefully!). Cutwater also offers Gin & Tonic, Vodka Mule, Vodka Soda, and Rum & Cola. Gangs all here!

Rosé is the drink of summer. Remember when people were actually worried about a rosé shortage in the Hamptons. Thankfully, those dark days are behind us and now we can get rosé in a bottle, on tap, and in a can. This bubbly drink will keep you pleasantly buzzed as you go from lunch to afternoon snacks before it's time for fireworks. FYI the price on this is for a 24-pack because rosé really should be bought in bulk.

Bonterra is based in Sonoma, California, and it's committed to an organic approach to wine. The winery has decided to appeal to the masses with their canned options. Wine is very much a personal preference so pick your poison accordingly, but the brand is currently offering sauvignon blanc, rosé, and young red varieties. Warning: Just because it comes in a can does not mean it will drink like a beer. This canned wine has 13.3 percent alcohol content so please drink responsibly.

Archer Roose has the largest variety of canned spirits for sure. Based in Boston, the brand sources wine from all over the world, so there is sure to be something for you to enjoy. The brand currently features Bubbly from Italy, Rosé from Provence, Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, Malbec from Argentina, and red, white, and rosé spritzes. The spritzes all are only 90 calories and 6 percent ABV, while the wine ABVs vary. If you're in the mood for something more refreshing, go with the spritz, it will keep you alive all day so you can actually see, and remember, the fireworks.

My memories of Kahlúa involve family carne asadas that ended with the iconic liquor being added to coffee. This is essentially a fancier and on-the-go version of that. Made with nitrogen, this espresso features a bit of a foamy top after opening. I recommend for either starting or ending your night&mdashdefinitely not something to sip on all day unless you love a caffeine rush.

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Aperol float

My editor expressly forbade me from writing about the Aperol spritz, the drink publicists have been insisting is the flavour of next summer for three years running ("It's just boozy Fanta!" my editor told me).

But he said nothing about an Aperol float, so technically I'm still within the brief.

Thanks to the creeping Americanisation of our language, the term "Spider" has fallen out of fashion, but that's essentially what this is: boozy Fanta — with ice cream!

While most of our recipes have focused on more "adult" flavours, some summer nights just cry out for a tub of Neapolitan and a soup spoon.

Aperol's an interesting ingredient because it has all the hallmarks of a spirit, but it's not actually that high in alcohol. Sitting at 11 percent ABV, it's less heady than most glasses of red, and about half the alcohol you'll find in its cousin, Campari. And while it does have some of the hypercolour sweetness of post-war Germany's favourite orange drink, it's balanced by its powerful bitterness.

There are also some unusual botanicals thrown in there: gentian, rhubarb and cinchona, for instance.

So instead of reaching for the cognac at the tail end of your next dinner party, why not combine dessert and after-dinner drinks with this outrageously Instagrammable little number?



  1. 1. Heat your scoop (or spoon) under hot water and make your best quenelle of ice-cream. Dump in your prettiest glass.
  2. 2. Pour over 50ml of Aperol, and top with blood orange soda. Be careful here — it's going to bubble.

Okay. Let’s Make This Pumpkin Pie

I started off with my Great Grandmother’s Pie Crust, not the crust in the cookbook. It’s a dough I’m familiar with and I knew it would be a good fit for the pie. Check out my pie crust post for full details and instructions, but my best tip is too keep everything cold. I used the food processor to pulse the shortening and flour/ salt mixture together.

In order to save myself a bit of stress, I made the dough the night before, flattened it into a disk, wrapped it in cling wrap and popped it in the fridge. The next morning, I let the dough rest on the counter for about 20 minutes before rolling out.

The pie crust recipe is great, but I should have added another teaspoon of water (I did 4 tablespoons). Flour can behave differently every day depending on weather conditions, that’s why the recipe gives you a range of 4- 6 tablespoons. The more often you work with a dough, the easier it becomes to tell exactly how much moisture you need to add on any given day.

While I was rolling it out, I used my bench scraper to lift the dough and turn it in order to get a nice circle. For the first time, I used my new pastry mat to roll out my dough. This made such a difference! It has circles with measurements that show you how far to roll the dough out. I then used my bench scraper to lift the crust and roll it over the rolling pin so that I could transfer the dough into my pie plate. This is the hardest part of me and I didn’t get it quite centered, so I had to patch it up a bit. We’ll just say it had a “rustic” look.

From the bar to the lab

With Next Glass, users simply point their phone's camera at a bottle of beer and the app will scan and recognize it within seconds. (Unlike other recommendation apps, there is no need to snap or upload a picture).

The result: a personalized score that Next Glass claims can predict with 96 percent accuracy how much someone will love a beer or wine. For those aiming to be thin and sober, it also provides a calorie count and alcohol by volume (ABV) level.

It's all presented with an augmented reality interface, meaning the score will float close to the bottle as you move it around.

It certainly looks cool. But if taste is subjective, how does Next Glass come up with what it claims is a definitive score?

By running around 200 beer and wine samples through a mass spectrometer in its lab in Wilmington, North Carolina, every day. It identifies thousands of chemical compounds in each sample, uploads those into its database, and then uses that to provide a personalized score based on beers and wines that you have rated.

While you might know you like IPAs in general, the chemical analysis can really break down what is different about each one, Taylor said. Luckily for the neighbors, Next Glass only needs a small sample

"We take out about 2 milliliters from each bottle, so we have a lot left over," Taylor said. "We make a lot of friends."

Jail Break: Company with AR Wine Labels is Popping the Top on a Craft Beer Line

The affordable Aussie wine brand 19 Crimes is taking a note from its inspirational old-world criminals (the wine labels are mugshots which you can interact with through an app) and breaking out of their vinicultural shackles to take on the craft beer market. Having served five years exclusively in the wine category, 19 Crimes will add an Indian Pale Ale, a Pilsner, and a Lager to its hit-list starting March 1.

The inside job will take place in the U.S., with the beers first being tested in Ohio before expanding to more states during 2019.

Ohio? Believe it or not, The Buckeye State has the 11th most craft breweries in the country at 225 and produces the fifth most barrels each year. So yeah, it’s safe to say Ohioians will give 19 Crimes new beer a heavy and honest taste. The state is also home to the first craft brewery hotel. (In-room taps: check.)

19 Crimes

“We know that our 19 Crimes wine lovers also highly index as consumers of craft beer,” says Michelle Terry, CMO of Treasury Wine Estates, a global winemaking business with nearly 50 vineyards under its umbrella, including 19 Crimes. “Our retailers and customers have been asking us to expand into other alcohol beverages.”

The new Pilsner is brewed with an approachable medium-dry finish, while the India Pale Ale is more of a modern IPA with more complexity. The Lager is traditionally clean and crisp, “balancing bready malts with Old World and New World hop flavor,” says 19 Crimes.

“We know that our 19 Crimes wine lovers also highly index as consumers of craft beer.”

Sounds boozable, but there’s also something purely fun about having vintage mug shots on your liquor. 19 Crimes beers will rock kindred faces to the 19 Crimes wine convicts who were transported to Australia to serve hard time when the island wasn’t known for kangaroos and Bondi Beach but used as a jail for exiles.

19 Crimes beer drinkers will meet John Boyle O’Reilly, an Irish-American poet and journalist charged for treason who later escaped Australia for America, Michael Harrington, notorious for orchestrating one of the most daring escapes from Australia that involved a massive typhoon and a rowboat, and Cornelius Dwyer Kane, a law clerk from Ireland who ended up digging the land down under despite being forbidden to return to Ireland, even after pardoned.

These interesting folk are half the reason for drinking 19 Crimes. The augmented reality (AR) play used for the wine labels will also be available for the beer cans via the 19 Crimes’ Living Wine Label app. Basically, start drinking, open the app, set the camera to your beer label, and watch the mug shots come to life to tell their story.

A six-pack is about the price of a bottle of wine, so pick your poison and prisoner.

The Headache Doctor&rsquos Tips for Safer Imbibing

Dr. Paul G. Mathew is a neurologist, headache specialist, and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

How do I advise my patients to avoid a headache from alcohol?

My prescriptions generally go to the pharmacy and not the liquor store. But there are a few secrets to enjoy alcohol without the headache from drinking

If you are prone to Migraine attacks or headaches and you do decide to drink alcohol, here are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of waking up in pain:

1 &ndash Make sure it&rsquos top-shelf.

Alcohol varies tremendously by the manufacturer. Top shelf brands not only taste better but they may be less likely to cause headaches.

I caution patients to order a specific brand of alcohol when ordering a cocktail rather than relying on well drinks or lower-quality brands. Watch out for punch or pre-made drinks.

2 &ndash Pick your poison and stick to it.

The risk of developing a headache from alcohol is particularly high in mixed drinks that are composed of multiple types of liquor. If you do drink alcohol, choose one kind and stick to it. In an open bar situation, choose beer, wine, or a mixed drink with a high-quality brand.

3 &ndash Alternate alcohol with food and water.

This dilutes the effect of alcohol in your system and reduces the chance of a headache from alcohol or triggering a migraine attack. Some people drink a glass of water in between glasses of wine, for example. For this reason, never drink on an empty stomach.

4 &ndash Put a cork in it.

Even people who are not prone to headaches will wake up in pain after a night of heavy drinking. One or two drinks with food and water over time might be safe for you, but three or more will produce a hangover for many people. Know your limits and respect them.

5 &ndash Track yourself.

Keep a diary of exactly what brand you drink, how much you drink, how you&rsquore drinking it, and if there are any other Migraine triggers present &ndash like hormonal or weather swings, or certain foods.

Remember that triggers are additive. That will help you know what&rsquos safe for you and what isn&rsquot.

Quantity is definitely a factor in whether alcohol will trigger a headache, and the quality of alcohol probably plays a role as well. We do not know for sure, though, how any specific type of wine or alcohol will affect people with Migraine.

Just like food triggers, alcohol headache triggers are individual, varying from person to person. Tracking your own patterns may allow you to enjoy the party after all.

A Parting Shot

I recall one of my headache patients entering the exam room saying, &ldquoDr. Mathew, thank you so much for your advice. My headaches are so much better.&rdquo

&ldquoYou are welcome&hellipwhat advice did I give you?&rdquo I asked.

&ldquoWell, I stopped drinking wine and beer. Now, just like you, I only drink Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch. My headaches have been so much better.&rdquo

&ldquoYou are welcome, but do not ever repeat that to anyone ever again,&rdquo I replied.

Although I might have said that this brand of Scotch was my preference, I never recommended she drink it.

What the Community Says

Track how much you&rsquore drinking &ndash alcohol and water.

Since every person is different, it helps to hear what tactics (not necessarily evidence-based) help others.

I Steer Clear of Sulfites: I get a 24-hour headache in the front of my skull after drinking even two sips of a wine with sulfites in it. I get the same headache after consuming dried fruits with sulfates. I do not get the headache after consuming organic wines made without added sulfites. The naturally occurring sulfites in wines do NOT bother me, but the chemicals added to wine give me a headache. &ndash Deborah

It All Depends on the Weather: For me, making the decision to drink is never just about wine, beer or vodka. It&rsquos about the barometric pressure that day, my hormone cycle &ndash two triggers I can&rsquot control. If I&rsquom at higher migraine risk from other triggers, I don&rsquot tempt fate. It&rsquos smarter to order a ginger ale. &ndash Kate

I Medicate First, Then Party: I hate to admit it, but a pre-emptive strike with a triptan works for me, if I know the night might result in three or more drinks. Thankfully, not much drinking happens in my world &mdash so, it&rsquos the social stuff. I can go weeks without a drink, but knowing when and how is really critical! &ndash Nicci

It&rsquos Not the Wine at All: &ldquoI used to think it was the alcohol triggering my attacks. Then I discovered that alcohol can interrupt sleep, and sleep impairment and fatigue can trigger an attack. &ndash Sharron

Now that you&rsquove heard from the evidence, the expert, and the community, it&rsquos up to you to make the best decision for your mental and physical health.

Watch the video: How Much Alcohol Will Kill You? (May 2022).