Of course, every gin is made with a different combination of ingredients, but besides the main berry, juniper, gin can include coriander, sage, cassia, nutmeg, rosemary, and angelica root. It’s like a much more fun version of the paleo diet…right?
2. Juniper berries are jam-packed with health benefits.
The main ingredient in gin is taken by many people as a daily supplement due to it’s medicinal properties. It combats infection(gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria), renal insufficiency, bad coughs and lung congestion, and can jump start a late period.
3. It’s a natural remedy for arthritis.
The stuff that helps chronic conditions is found in gin and cantherefore help with loss of tone in tissues and organs, as well as joint pain, gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Many people haverecently started to eat gin-soaked raisins at night as a homeopathic formula to keep inflammation at bay.
4. It can help eliminate wrinkles in your skin.
Alcohol, in general, contains antioxidants, but the added juniper-boost aids your body in regenerating cells, which in turn is great for maintaining smooth, line-free skin.
5. It fights kidney and liver disease.
Gin contains diuretic ingredients, which eases kidney filtration and therefore helps get rid of bad bacteria.
6. A gin and tonic can help prevent malaria.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get shots before travelling, but the cocktail was used in the days of the British Empire to prevent catching the disease that was ravaging both its colonies and colonizers. Quinine, which is used to make tonic water, was consumed religiously by English colonial people in order to stay healthy, and it didn’t take too long for people to realize that adding a bit of gin would make the tonic water a little more exciting.
7. Your digestive system will thank you.
The bitter herbs contained in gin can cause increases in digestive enzymes and stomach acid secretions, which helps break down food quickly and improves digestion.
8. It fights cancer.
The high antioxidant levels in gin help to “neutralize free radicals in the body,” which are some roots of cancer. These same kinds of benefits are found in fad drinks like kombucha, but wouldn’t you rather skip the ‘buch and get tipsy?
9. It won’t jeopardize your waistline
Gin happens to be one of the least calorific types of alcohol atabout 97 calories per 1.5 ounces. Since your digestive system is being revved up by the juniper, you’re also less likely to bloat and develop a urinary tract infection as it helps flush out toxins. That’s the kind of cleanse we can get behind.
10. A decent gin will not cost you an arm and a leg.
11. Frank Sinatra liked it. How much more classy can you get?
Anthony Bourdain is, without exception, my favorite living go-to guy for travels. I was a big fan of No Reservations and his new show on CNN is just as good. Now, if you’ve ever watched Bourdain you know that not only does he have an iron stomach but he has the capacity to consume and hold alcohol unlike anyone I have ever seen. In an episode of No Reservations, he goes to the Ukraine and drinks several bottles of vodka with his friend Sameer and then goes sightseeing like nothing happened. Because, why not?
So last night I happened to catch an episode of No Reservations where Bourdain went to Croatia. Having been to Croatia and loved it, I thought I’d share the episode with Mrs. Wine so she could see some of what I saw. Unfortunately, but really I shouldn’t have been surprised, Bourdain avoided all of the usual spots. But something remarkable did happen: he drank so much he hit the floor. Literally. I never thought that was possible for him. I’d advise you start watching around the 37 minute mark. In the words of Dean Martin, “you’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.” Here’s to you Anthony Bourdain.
I bottled the Slivovitz last night. I ended up making 1/3 cup of simple syrup and adding that in while I bottled it. From the very small sample I took, that seemed to be just the right amount. The plums imparted a beautiful ruby red color to the vodka. It has a wonderful plum aroma.
The plums had turned an off white and didn’t look so good. I considered saving them for Drunken Plum Pudding but decided against it. As much as I hated throwing them out, if I made that pudding and it wasn’t a hit in my household, then I’d be throwing out even more food. All in all, this was a simple recipe and fun to make.
In the summer of 2006 I traveled to Serbia to study the language in Belgrade and Novi Sad. While it was a language institute, the instructors recognized that language and culture are intertwined so I was fortunate enough to go on school excursions. On one excursion into the deep back woods of Serbia we stopped to visit a church.
(Not this church, but it looked like this)
While we were waiting around afterward–actually, I think we were supposed to be listening to our tour guide but I’ve forgotten by now an old man came rambling up the dirt road. He had with him a glass bottle and a couple of dirty shot glasses. The bottle contained gasoline, though he claimed it was slivovitz. Throughout Eastern and Southeastern Europe, everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) makes slivovitz. Slivovitz is Plum Brandy. It is ubiquitous with the culture, so much so that one morning while visiting a family they asked if I wanted some coffee and I said yes, and they gave me a glass of coffee and a shot of slivovitz because, ya know, that’s normal?
Anyway, everyone gathered around this stranger and started drinking slivovitz with him and before you knew it the bottle was empty and he was gone. I had one glass of it and immediately ran to a blackberry bush and started eating blackberries in the hopes of putting out the terrible burning spreading throughout my body.
What’s the point of this story? Well, me and slivovitz have never got along but I’ve always wanted to try to reach a point where we have a healthy relationship. Mrs. Wine purchased a bunch of plums to turn into baby food but never did anything with them so I made my own version of slivovitz today. Please understand I’m using the term very lightly here.
Pseudo-Slivovitz (Plum Brandy)
2 cups of vodka (New Amsterdam)
6 plums thinly sliced.
Immerse the plums in the vodka and then store in a dark, cool place for 2-3 weeks. I’ll probably leave it for 3 weeks. After the allotted time, strain the vodka into a new container and possibly add 1/4 cup of simple syrup to make it more palatable. But I’ll taste it first to see if it needs that.
Because Christmas is right around the corner I bottled a batch of limoncello today which we will give away as gifts. Limoncello is a great Italian liqueur that is best enjoyed on a hot summer afternoon. It is also super easy. Here is the recipe:
1 bottle of bottom shelf (literally!) Vodka
1 bag of lemons
Zest or peel the lemons, make sure you don’t get any of that white junk that is on the other side of the peel. Pour your vodka into a mason jar or bowl you can cover and then dump all of the lemon peels in there. Let that sit for approximately 2 weeks.
Then make up some simple syrup.
3 cups water
2 cups white sugar
Pour the lemon vodka through a strainer to remove all of the lemon peels. Then add the (now yellow) vodka to the simple syrup. Stir to combine nd bottle! That’s it. Store it in your freezer and (I prefer) to serve it over ice.
The last time, my limoncello was more yellow in color. I’m not sure if that is due to the type of lemon or the season (it is now December) but it still tastes good.
Incidentally, that is also how you make basically every other type of liqueur. I’ve experimented with pineapples (which I didn’t really care for) but I know there are recipes for peach, cherry, walnut, apricot, and hazelnut just to name a few. All of them follow the same principle: super cheap vodka with the ingredient soaking in it for a couple of weeks, then strained and sweetened with simple syrup.