Flower power: Infusing cocktails with chamomile

Chamomile is an herb that contains plenty benefits and uses, which is why it has been used since ancient times. Its popularity got a boost back in the Middle Ages as people found it helpful in relieving different types of diseases, such as fever, nausea, inflammations, and others. For some, it was the European counterpart of Ginseng, the Chinese do-it-all herb.

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                                              Image source: worldoffloweringplants.com

It can be applied or ingested in various ways, the most common of which is as tea. But another way to drink chamomile is to infuse a cocktail with the herb.

To do so, you can concoct a honey syrup blended with chamomile. Just add chamomile to cold water in an enclosed container and let it infuse for three to four hours; every 30 minutes, it should be lightly shaken.

After which, remove the chamomile by straining, otherwise, the syrup would become too bitter. Heat the resulting chamomile water and mix it with honey until the substance has settled to create the chamomile honey syrup.

This syrup can then be added to your choice of cocktail mix.

For example, you can create the classic Bee’s Knees cocktail by adding the chamomile honey syrup to gin and lemon juice, resulting in a light, fragrant, and sweet drink.

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                                                             Image source: pinterest.com

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, an Indiana-based craft distillery that produces premium spirits made from locally sourced ingredients. For more cocktail recipes, follow this Twitter page.

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Some interesting facts about beer

Beer is the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. It’s not surprising that it’s the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. People all over the world just love beer. But do you know how much an average American consumes beer in a year? Find out below and other interesting facts about beer.

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                                       Image source: conservativecountry.net

1.The average American consumes 23 gallons of beer a year.

2.Steven Petrosino of New Cumberland holds the title for World Beer Chugging Champion. He downed 1 liter of beer in just 1.3 seconds in 1977.

3.Beer is one of the world’s oldest prepared beverages, dating back as far as 9500 BC.

4.In 1814, several streets in London were flooded by 400,000 gallons of beer after a huge vat ruptured in the parish of St. Giles.

5.Beer prevents kidney stones. A study published in American Journal of Epidemiology estimates that a bottle of consumed a day reduces the risk by 40 percent.

6.If you’re wondering why people in beer commercials in the U.S. don’t actually drink their beers, it’s because it’s illegal that people be shown consuming an alcoholic beverage on television.

7.Zythology the scientific name for the study of beer and beer-making. It came from the Greek words “zythos” (beer) and “logos” (study).

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                                                 Image source: thelondonegotist.com

Follow this Adam Quirk Twitter page for more on the world’s favorite wines, spirits, and beers.

How fermentation works to create the best spirits

Fermentation is virtually the only thing that determines the success of wines and spirits.  This is crucial in any wine distillery’s success in the business of winemaking.

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Image source: roughdraftfarmstead.com

Successful fermentation should always start with the proper sterilization of equipment to be fermented.  This is because any foreign object can potentially compromise the fermentation process.  Biological elements particularly contaminate the whole chemical process involved in fermentation.

Once sterilization is done, the next step is the selection of yeast.  One must understand that yeast is the element responsible for processing the sugar content of fruit ingredients.  The sugar is broken down into alcohol and water.  The manner and speed by which these two are separated are dependent on the quality of the yeast.

Temperature is yet another factor that needs to be considered in fermentation as this affects the process too.  If the temperature of the wash is too high, it might kill the yeast.  If the processing is done in much warmer climates, it is best to use a heat-tolerant yeast.  If this is not gauged correctly, the whole effort will go for naught.

Maintaining a distillery is not something that can be taken lightly.  It is all about doing the proper calculations that involve any number of variables in the fermentation environment.  This is why creating wines and spirits is considered as an expertise in the food and beverage industry.

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Image source: creationwines.com

Adam Quirk co-founded Cardinal Spirits, a distillery that is well-known for producing from locally available ingredients.  Learn more about wines and spirits on this blog.

Crack Open a Cold One: Tips For Every Drinker

The question why people drink has different answers for everyone. But any man who’s ever cracked opened a cold one is hoping to summon a slightly better version of himself. Not everyone is born a drinker though. So here are tips to check out for your next weekend session.

1. Drink only enough

Don’t get ahead of yourself and chug down a bottle in seconds. You’re not going to enjoy it. Savor it. You don’t want to be the first guy to go down.

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See others lightly.

When you start to pry open a pop top, you are dropping our guard. You raise a glass in honor of just about anything. Alcohol opens the heart, and when that happens, men start saying things that they will probably regret after. So, take it lightly.

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Only get in a car with sober drivers

This can be difficult if everyone wants to have a good time and drink. If no one was left sober, try staying the night in your host’s house. But the best way is to assign a designated driver before you go out.

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits distillery based in Bloomington, IN. Read similar articles here.

Top 5: World’s Most Popular Cocktails

A good selection of cocktails always makes for an epic party. Today’s most popular cocktails are based on a combination of iconic drinks. Here are five of the most popular cocktails in the world.

1. Caipirinha

The national drink of Brazil. It’s made with cachaça (spirit from sugar cane) or white rum, brown sugar, and lime juice. Caipirinha’s origin goes back to 1918 and is based on a remedy that was commonly used to treat Spanish flu.

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Image source: epicuriius.com

2. Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a symbolic cocktail of the South America and is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. The mixture of bourbon, a little bit of water, powdered and granulated sugar and plenty of mints has been the popular way of consuming drinks made with this whiskey. Mint Julep’s origin goes back as far as the late 18th century.

3. Mai Tai

This Polynesian0-style cocktail has a tropical fruit punch. This drink came from the indigenous people of the Western Region of the U.S. It’s made by mixing light and dark rum, orange curacao, orgeat syrup, and lime juice. It has since been a symbol of Tiki or Tahitian culture ever since it was concocted.

4. Mojito

It became popular because of its fresh minty taste. The concoction of white rum, mint, sugar, soda, and lime juice is perfect for those who want to take it slow with the alcohol intake.

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Image source : barmano.com

5. Cosmopolitan

A modern drink, cosmopolitan surged in popularity during the last 20-30 years. The tart taste is accomplished by mixing vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice.

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, a craft spirits distillery based in Bloomington, IN. Visit this blog for more on liquor.

Ways To Add Flavor To Vodka

The problem many people have with vodka is that they perceive it to be a “boring drink”, with very little flavor. But that need not be the case. There are ways for you to add flavor to vodka. Let’s check out the steps.

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First things first, look for a cheap bottle – the cheaper, the better. Then secure the vessel. Look for wide-mouth mason jars, which are great for infusing alcohol. Plastic jars give off “funky” flavors to alcoholic drinks, and mason jars don’t. What’s more, the wide opening of these jars can allow fruits the size of apples through it.

Next, choose your flavor. There are a multitude of flavors to choose from. Citrus has always been good with vodka. Vanilla beans with syrup or maple adds a warmer, cozier feel. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can put in chili peppers. If you’re going for spices, go for whole spices. The ground variety makes for a murky and gritty vodka. If you’re aiming to combine flavors, do your research on the measurements so as not to shock your taste buds.

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Now, put these ingredients in the jar and fill it with vodka before covering it tightly. It should be covered for around 3 days to a week. Do taste tests every now and then to see if it’s achieved the taste you want. Also shake the jar to speed up the process. Keep in mind that fresh ingredients make the process go faster than dried ones.

Once you feel it’s good enough, strain it and store it.

I’m Adam Quirk, and I own Cardinal Spirits, and excellent place for liquor lovers. For more on the stuff I love, follow this blog.

Healthy Drinking: The Best Liquor For The Body

Yeah sure, alcoholic beverages have earned a bad rap, with research showing them causing a number of diseases. But there have also been a number of studies, which indicate that some alcoholic beverages can, in fact, be good for the human body. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

Vodka soda: Vodka plus soda water can keep a person from gaining those unwanted pounds. It may not be the drink of choice because many seasoned drinkers find it bland and boring, but it has fewer calories than many of the drinks out there.

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Image source: hangoverprices.com

Gin, bourbon, and whisky: Gin, like bourbon and whisky, are a lot like vodka in the sense that the caloric range is around 90 to 120 calories for every 1.5 ounces. However, gin, bourbon, and whisky are much more preferred by people simply because they have more flavor.

Mimosa and bellini: These two drinks combine champagne with either orange juice (mimosa) or peach juice (bellini). They aren’t as low calorie like vodka soda, whisky, or gin, but they have more nutritional value. For example, champagne in itself is highly antioxidant. It makes up for its calories by protecting the body. Orange juice, of course, is loaded with vitamin C (immune system fortification), potassium (muscular function improvement and hypertension reliever), folic acid (good for red blood cells), calcium (bone development), and many other healthy nutrients. Peach juice has fewer minerals, but it too is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid, among others.

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Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, a company specializing in producing premium spirits using local ingredients. Learn more about Cardinal Spirits and alcoholic beverages by checking out this blog.

Malting our way to the finest spirits

Malt is a central ingredient in making some of the finest spirits in distilleries across the world. Without it, we’d all probably be suffering from some of the most uneventful celebrations and cheers, if we’d be having them at all.

Malting is the process of converting raw grains into malt. Essentially, malt is germinated cereal grains that are activated by soaking in water. Later in the process, the germination is halted by means of aeration, or further drying with hot air.

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Malting grains develops the enzymes required for modifying the grain’s starches into various types of sugar, including sugar alcohols. This is why alcohols that result from malting tend to have a sweet taste. Timing is also key in producing the different types of fermentable sugars. Virtually any stage of the process has a unique yield.

Malted grain is utilized in malting beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic drinks. Essentially, a particular region’s produce is dependent on the endemic local farm produce that can come from it. Arguably, spirits are truly authentic if these are made from the best ingredients coming from a particular locale.

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Today, the standard in the craft distilling industry is that production adheres to the authentic appeal that can only be provided by a chosen place’s naturally grown ingredients, malt most of all. This is the truly the only way to create the finest spirits in craft distilling.

A former operative a tech startup, Adam Quirk co-founded Cardinal Spirits, a distillery which is well-known for producing from locally available ingredients. Learn more about wines and spirits here.

A Beginner’s Guide To The Many Whiskey Varieties

Whiskey is one of the most popular drinks in the world. The distilled alcoholic beverage is made from grain and is typically enjoyed by older people. The grains used for the traditional whiskey variety are rather strong on the palate. What people need to recognize is that the type of grain used, along with the cask it is fermented in, determines the variety, taste, and overall note of the beverage. Listed below are some brief descriptions of the more common varieties.

Image Source: complex.com
Image Source: complex.com

Malt whiskey: As the name suggests, this is made from malted barley and is distilled in pot stills. Most manufacturers still use the traditional method of fermenting, which makes the process very long and physically demanding.

Grain whiskey: This drink can contain any type of grain and can be a mixture. Most grain varieties today contain wheat since it has a higher utilization than corn.

Image Source: Bloomberg.com
Image Source: Bloomberg.com

Blended whiskey: Most blended whiskies are differentiated not by their grain but from the distillery they come from. This is because each distillery has their own formulation and ratio.

Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey: Most bourbons are produced in Kentucky, USA. Bourbons must contain at least 51 percent corn. The rest can be a mixture of barley, rye and/or wheat. The drink must also be aged for at least four years in a fresh, toasted cask made from American white oak. Tennessee whiskey differs from bourbon in that it needs to have a charcoal-filter in the cask.

Unlike vodka, there are many taste differences among the various whisky varieties. In particular, how long the beverage matures in the cask impacts the later aroma of the whiskey. As such, distilleries say that there are many possibilities for variation. Those interested are suggested to try each variety at least once to see which one they prefer.

Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits and takes the extra measure to know his drinks. He posts a lot of his learnings on this blog.

A Spirited Discussion: The Cultural Differences Between Whiskies

What’s in a name? When it comes to whiskey, apparently, a lot.

That which is one letter off may seem like just another run-on-the-mill transatlantic spelling difference, and the English lexicon has many of them, so for those familiar enough with the transatlantic differences in English dialect, whisky may sound like an Americanization whereas whiskey is the one native to the British Isles. This is actually backwards.

Image source: scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk
                            Image source: scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk

Not only do these spelling differences refer to specific types of drink, the longer word “whiskey” is the one currently used in America. “Whisky” is native to the island of Great Britain (specifically Scotland, from whence it received its alternate name, Scotch) and has currency in Canada and Japan.

The spelling difference between whisky and whiskey is largely the result of a difference between how the spirit is spelled in the Scottish Gaelic and Irish languages. That which is spelled “whisky” refers to the Scottish variant whereas the ones spelled “whiskey” refers to an Irish derivative, which gained currency in the United States through Irish immigrants.

Image source: irelandwanderer.com
                                      Image source: irelandwanderer.com

The differences between the three main traditions of the spirit go beyond just a letter. Irish whiskeys tend to be smoother affairs due to being typically being distilled thrice (as opposed to American whiskeys and Scottish whiskies, which are distilled twice). Scotch whiskies use a wide variety of stills (and a more diverse set of flavors) whereas Irish and many American ones prefer rounded ones and have typically softer flavors as a result.

Moreover, whereas Scotch whiskies are based on solely on barley, Irish and American whiskeys use blends of grains unique to their nations of origin. Irish whiskeys incorporate barley and any number of other grains due to its historically poor agrarian economy, whereas American whiskeys use entirely different raw materials as a whole.

Former tech startup operative Adam Quirk is the co-founder of craft distillery Cardinal Spirits, which produces premium spirits using locally acquired ingredients. For more discussion about the distilled beverage industry, follow this Tumblr blog.