Monday, February 7, 2011

Adventures in Alcohol

Lemonade Lucy
For the record, I am a teetotaler.  And I just found out that I can also call myself a teetotalist.  The spell check doesn't like that, but Wikipedia does.  I can spell it teetotaller, too.   And the spell check really hates that - it gave me the red wavy underline and a scolding.   Geez.    Wiki says that the word possibly came from the manner of signing the pledge to abstain from alcohol during the temperance movement:  T- total.  Meaning, total temperance.    Now you know.

Other notable non-drinkers are Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife Lucy, who was known as Lemonade Lucy because she refused to serve alcohol at White House functions.   Also, Gene Simmons.  Yes, the one from KISS.   If you want to hear a great song about alcohol, I recommend Brad Paisley's song:  Alcohol   I heart Brad Paisley.  Just sayin'.

Now, just because I do not drink does not mean I do not buy alcohol and use it in other ways.

I have in my house at this moment vodka, brandy and wine.   I have forgotten where the vodka is but when I find it again, I'll use it for making perfume and lotions and stuff.   I also hear it's good for keeping fruit soft when you're making ice cream.  Haven't tried that yet.  If I do, I'll let you know.   I use the brandy for making my own vanilla extract and I'll devote an entire post to showing you how to do it yourself later on.   I use the wine for vinegar.    I tried to make vinegar starting with juice, but then I found out that acetobacter - those bacteria that make vinegar - only eat alcohol so I was going to have to turn my juice into wine anyway before the acetobacter would come populate my vinegar jar.    I tried, but only succeeded in growing blue and white mold - really spectacular blue and white mold.   I did achieve fermentation, but then the mold took over and never let go.  I dumped it.    More on vinegar in another post coming very soon.

It took me a while to get brave enough to buy booze and I only did it when I was truly desperate for really good vanilla.    I considered wearing a mask when I went to buy it, but liquor stores in Indiana frown on that.   They insist that your face actually looks A. Lot. like the photo on your driver's license.  Go figure.   So, I sucked it up, realized that I live in a small college town for heaven sake with, count them, eighteen liquor stores, not to mention the liquor at the drugstores, and grocery stores.   Puh-leeze.   There was booze everywhere.   I am happy to report that buying liquor is no longer hard for me at all.

I bought my first wine last year for vinegar.   It was the first time I had ever really looked at the wine aisle at the grocery store.  I went to Walmart - I figured they'd have a pared down selection.  Wrong.  They have  miles of wine.  Acres of wine.  I swear.   Wow.   I called Eric and said 'wow' about forty times and asked which one to buy for vinegar.   He had no idea either, so we did a google search.   I heart google.  Sweet wines are what we were looking for. 

I confess that I was distracted by all the pretty colors.  Wine comes in red, white and pink.   Cool!   Wine bottles are really pretty greens and blacks and browns and clear ones that show the pink wine inside.   Oh, Yeah!  Wine labels are gorgeous.  They took my breath away.   I think I walked around for the first half hour just looking at all the wine labels..  My favorite is  Yellow Tail  (photo left).   Those label colors made me very happy.    All of those different colored kangaroos sitting in a row made my heart go pitter pat.   The problem was that I'd have to buy one of each and that is impractical for reasons both fiscal and physical.  Also, I wasn't there to buy color inspiration,  I was there to buy acetobacter food.  [Focus, Robin, focus!]   

I ended up buying a shiraz because it was on the sweet wine  list and because it sounded cool.   That's a dumb reason to buy wine. Also, I learned that  it isn't pronounced sher-ahz, it's pronounced, sher-ahh.  It was too peppery and we ended up going back for a box of merlot.   Merlot is good. I already knew how to pronounce mer-low.  Merlot is sweet. Merlot is ubiquitous. Merlot in a box is dirt cheap.   Awesome.   It was a match made in heaven and it has made great wine vinegar.  For white, I chose a bottle of Barefoot Wine's muscato, too, only because it said 'sweet' in the description.  It was and it has made a nice white vinegar.

I just read yesterday that someone is making vinegar with beer, so maybe that will be my next alcohol adventure.


  1. Can't wait to learn how to make good vanilla!

  2. I hearted this post. Vanilla! I am excited for that. Perhaps I'll have you buy my alcohol and send it to me . . .


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