Tag Archives: Vodka

Strange Highs

-Sam Bouchat

An odd and disturbing story has been floating around the news and internet, prompting grimaces, PG-13 gossip, and zombie-outbreak fears.

It happened in Florida—a man later called the “Causeway Cannibal” was seen, naked, lying on a Miami causeway with another naked man. Police arrived to the scene to witness 31-year-old Rudy Eugene gnawing on the face of his companion. When told multiple times by police to stop, and refusing to do so while providing only a short growl in the officers’ direction, police were forced to fatally shoot Eugene to get him to cease his ministrations.

The victim, 65-year-old homeless man Ronald Poppo survived. According to Wink News, a Florida news network, he was hospitalized “with severe injuries, with his nose, mouth, and eyes torn off his face.”

Doctors later suggested that both men were under the influence of a new drug: bath salts. Bath salts, termed that way because they can actually be purchased in many gift shops as bathroom accessories, are designer street drugs, mainly methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). They can be picked up in small shops all around the U.S. as bath salts, labeled “not for human consumption.” For this reason, they are not outright illegal.

How was it discovered that they make you paranoid, hot, and prone to severe and violent hallucinations if consumed or snorted? No idea. But we’ve seen in the past that humans are nothing if not disturbingly creative when it comes to getting high.

Remember the hand sanitizer epidemic? Kids were supposedly ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels in an attempt to get buzzed. It gained media attention after six Southern California teenagers were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning last April. And that’s not even the weirdest of it.

It’s one thing to show stuff into your mouth to try to get high. Hell, people even crush stuff up and snort it into their noses. But I for one thought the eyeball was off-limits. How wrong I was.

Three words: Vodka Eyeball Shots. They exists, and they’re happening. Young people are taking shots of vodka and slamming them into their eyes in an attempt to absorb the alcohol faster, falsely believing that the membrane of the eye has the ability to absorb alcohol and get one drunk. According to USA Today, not only does doing this NOT get you drunk, it can also cause severe and permanent damage to the eye.

But all this is nothing new. Glue, aerosol cans, magic markers, toads—it seems nothing is off limits when it comes to the human attempt to get wasted, if the many, many videos of people trying these things out on Youtube is anything to go by. What I wonder is how these trends even start.

Are You a Slap Tail or a Web Foot?

-Mike Munoz

It’s no secret that Oregon takes its beer very seriously. In a state that is overflowed with microbreweries, you don’t have to go much further than a 7/11 to get yourself a nice bottle of a local brand beer. So wouldn’t it be great if you could go to your neighborhood liquor store and get yourself a nice bottle of booze made right here in Oregon? Well now you can.

The 4 Spirits Distillery opened in Adair Village, Oregon last June with the goal of creating a local, small batch martini grade vodka. Owner Dawson Officer saw a rising trend in small batch distilleries popping up and jumped at the opportunity to start his own brand. Although the distillery is still in its infancy, 4 Spirits has already released to types of vodka: Web Foot and Slap Tail. If you haven’t already guessed, Web Foot is targeted towards us Ducks while Slap Tail is aimed at our rival Beaver fans up north.

The idea behind Web Foot and Slap Tail was to create high quality liquor that could compete with top shelf brand name vodkas; however you might not guess that by simply looking at the label. Each bottle has a cartoon of a duck and a beaver respectively, and let’s just say they both look as though they’ve had a long night of partying.

Although they take their vodka very seriously at the 4 Spirits Distillery, they also wanted to make sure that they had some fun in the process. “We wanted to do something that goes against typical marketing schemes,” explains Director of Sales and Marketing, Sarah Wayt. “It’s all in good slap stick fun.” Aside from the name and goofy cartoons, there’s also a serious side to the 4 Spirits Distillery’s story.

As a distillery, it’s easy for us to assume that the “4 spirits” in their name refer to four different types of liquor. But in reality, they refer to four fallen soldiers Officer knew during his military service from 2003 to 2004. The distillery is even working on a bourbon that will be released in September and will be featured in a more serious tribute bottle. Some of the proceeds will be donated to Oregon Reintegration, in hopes to better the lives of soldiers returning home from war.

So next time you’re browsing for some booze at your local liquor store, look for the bottle with a passed out duck on the label. You may be surprised at how seriously good a homegrown vodka could taste.

Getting Beer-ducated

-Jessica Ridgway

Before I tasted my first sip of alcohol (at the legal age of 21, of course) I was told that my first drink should be a beer. Inevitably, my new-to-alcohol self ignored that suggestion and reached for the harder stuff. I learned that gin, vodka, and rum are fun. Tequila and Jaegermeister are not. Beer was never my drink of choice because I never wanted it to be.

Time passed, however, and my palate changed. I decided to give beer a chance, starting with the cheap, canned beer and later moving to the nicer bottles. I started to enjoy the taste of beer so much that I went to my first Beer Festival and gave as many beers as I could a try. After sampling a few flavors I realized that I could drink as much beer as I wanted, but without some background education of the beverage I might as well be drinking PBR for the rest of my life.

So, if you’re clueless about beer and you’re about to grab some “brewskis” with beer connoisseurs, here’s a few basic things to know so you’re not a total newbie.

There are four main ingredients to beer: water, yeast, fermentable sugars, and hops. Other ingredients, like spices, sugars, syrups, grains, chocolate, fruits, vegetables, and even coffee can be added for taste.

According to my best friend, Wikipedia, hops are the female flower clusters of the species Humulus lupulus. Brandon Walcott-Ayers, who brews his own beer at home, explains that hops “give a beer its floral qualities and bitterness.”

All beers (with a few exceptions) fall into two categories: ales or lagers. The main differences between the two are the type of yeast and the process used to ferment the brew.

  • Ales are fermented with yeast that first gathers at the top of the brew. They are fermented at warmer temperatures between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They are also brewed for a shorter duration, no more than a few weeks.
  • Lagers are fermented with yeast that gathers at the bottom of the brew. They are fermented at colder temperatures between 32 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Lagers are brewed for long durations, sometimes more than several months.

Pretty simple, right? Well, here is where beer gets tricky. There are several “styles” of beer, and style is used loosely to categorize beers based on various factors like appearance, flavor, ingredients, origin, history, brewing method, etcetera, etcetera. There is no definitive guide to beer styles and the ratings vary from person to person. Fortunately, the only way to learn the different styles is to give them all a try! Cheers to education! I’ll always drink to that.

Follow Jessica at @jcridgway