Do Hangover Cures Work?

At America’s Alcohol Certified Education Association, we provide alcohol server classes for servers and bartenders to get their Class 12 permit in Washington. We are also committed to providing information that promotes responsible alcohol service.

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There are many folk cures that are supposed to help cure hangovers, and often these "cures" are designed to help replenish the vitamins and liquid you lost over night. Try all the cures you'd like - exercise, greasy food, juice - there really is no true cure for a hangover, but there are things drinkers can do to avoid having a hangover, and things drinkers can do to make themselves feel better afterwords.
  • Get hydrated: Before drinking, hydrate with both clear water and sports drinks that contain sugar and important minerals and salts.
  • Don't drink on an empty stomach: Before drinking, eat fat-containing foods and foods with high carbohydrate content. These ingredients slow absorption of alcohol in the stomach.
  • Avoid sugars: Sugar increases the speed of alcohol absorption.
  • Drink slowly: Sip the drink, and try to minimize the amount of total intake.
  • For those who get headaches right after drinking: Drink "headache-safe" beverages, such as white wine and light or clear-colored liquors.
  • Have an Ibuprofen: To prevent the effects of the hangover, you may be able to take anti-inflammation agents before drinking.
  • If soon-after or hangover headaches occur: Take an anti-inflammatory agent like Ibuprofen (you must wait several hours if you took one in advance of drinking) or an anti-migraine agent if you have them available.
  • Rehydrate: Drink water and sports drinks after your night out on the town. Avoid narcotic-containing painkillers or any ingredient containing acetaminophen (aka Tylenol). Alcohol can make those drugs deadly, and acetaminophen-containing products may cause serious liver damage when mixed with alcohol, which can sometimes be fatal.
  • Get a little exercise: A low-impact, or easy exercise may help boost your mood by releasing endorphins that are being suppressed by your hangover. A little light exercise can help alleviate that. Just make sure you're continuing to hydrate, since exercise and dehydration can cause serious problems.
While there's no one cure for a hangover besides rehydration, time and rest, the above tips may make your hangover hurt less. Another tip is to ask your bartender for a glass of water when you order an alcoholic beverage and space each drink out with a glass of water in between.

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Where Do Liquor Sales Tax dollars Go?

With all this talk about liquor tax dollars, it's interesting to know where your tax dollars have been going. The WSLCB provides this graphic as a breakdown of the typical bottle of liquor:

In the 2011 fiscal year, Washington State collected $22,482,821 in liquor taxes. The site notes:

The revenue flowing to the state General Fund is used for education, healthcare and other related programs. Revenue returned to local governments is used for prevention programs, law enforcement, emergency medical services and many other local needs.
The retail price of liquor currently being sold in state and contract liquor stores is determined by five elements:
  1. Distiller's, brewer's or vintner's price to the Board
  2. Federal taxes - excise tax rates on all liquor, plus custom duty rates on imported liquor
  3. Freight costs
  4. Markup (see table below), which is controlled by the Board. Markup covers operating costs of the state liquor control system and provides a yearly profit that is shared by the state and local government. The Board's markup is comparable to the wholesale and retail markup applied by private businesses and is also expressed as margin on sales for comparative purposes
  5. State sales taxes (see table below), which is set by the state Legislature
To recoup much of the income WSLCB loses on the sales of alcohol after I-1183, the state is mandating a 10% fee to distributors and a 17% fee to retailers. These costs could be transferred on to patrons of these establishments. A Washington State fiscal report noted, however:
The fiscal impact cannot be precisely estimated because the private market will determine bottle cost and markup for spirits. Using a range of assumptions, total State General Fund revenues increase an estimated $216 million to $253 million and total local revenues increase an estimated $186 million to $227 million, after Liquor Control Board one-time and ongoing expenses, over six fiscal years. A one-time net state revenue gain of $36.4 million is estimated from sale of the state liquor distribution center. One-time debt service costs are $5.3 million. Ongoing new state costs are estimated at $158,600 over six fiscal years.
Governor, Christine Gregoire has argued that expanding sales would help generate more revenue for the state but cautions that more sales may generate new costs to the state - for example, in treatment for drug and alcohol abusers.

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From Cava to Prosecco; A Primer on Champagne, Part 2

You may have read our first champagne primer and wondered, "Well what about all the OTHER types of sparkling wine." You've asked a great question. There are many types of sparkling wines hailing from around the globe that are often more affordable than champagnes, and just as delicious.

wikipedia.org

Like champagne, these sparkling wines carry a carbon dioxide content that make them fizzy. Like champagne, carbon dioxide can be added through a methode champenoise - a second in-bottle fermentation that gives the drink its bubbles. It can also be added during a second fermentation in large tanks that will withstand pressures (Charmat method) or by carbon dioxide injection.

Some of the most popular alternatives to champagne are Cava, Prosecco, Asti, Spumante, or just plain, "sparkling wine".

A white Italian sparkler, Asti is often made from the Moscato grape, and is a low-alcohol, sweeter, dessert-style sparkling wine. Asti often has a peach-flavor, a floral aroma, and just enough acidity to balance out the sweetness of the wine. It's great as an apertif, but can also be paired with hors d'oeuvres or salads.

Lambrusco is another type of sparkling Italian wine, produced from a red wine grape. Traditional Lambrusco is almost entirely a dry (secco) red wine, however there are varieties of amabile (slightly sweet) and dolce (sweet) that are imported to the US. It's mostly made through the Charmat method.

Prosecco is another Italian sparkling wine, generally produced as a Dry or Extra Dry sparkling white. It has recently become one of the most popular substitutions for champagne in the US, and is one of the main ingredients in Bellinis. Prosecco is also an ingredient of the Italian mixed drink Sgroppino, in which it is mixed with vodka and lemon sorbet. This Italian sparkling wine is made using the Charmat method of secondary fermentation (which takes place in stainless steel tanks) making the wine less expensive to produce. Prosecco should be consumed "as young as possible" - within three years of it's vintage. It's said to be aromatic and crisp (yellow apple, pear, white peach and apricot). Yet it still has a rich taste and complex secondary aromas. Prosecco is fresh, light and comparatively simple, making it an anytime wine in Italy.

Spumante is often just a general term for Italian sparkling wines, though in the US many popular varieties of Spumante are the sweeter Asti Spumante (aka Moscato Spumante).

Cava is the name for a Spanish sparkling wine, mainly produced around Catalonia. Cava generally uses the methode champenoise as a means of secondary fermentation (adding the bubbles), and is produced in several levels of dryness: brut nature, brut (extra dry), sec (dry), semisec (semi-dry), and dulce (sweet). It may either be white or rosé depending on the grapes used.

Born in the USA!

The US produces its fair share of sparkling wines as well - often using the methode champenoise, or the Charmat method. Many higher-end sparkling wines from the US are made using the former, while the lower-cost bottles use the Charmat method. Most now use the traditional champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, plus Pinot Blanc.

Most US sparkling wine producers tend to follow European standards with Brut wine having less than 1.5% sugar up to Doux having more than 5%. Still, there are distinct differences in their techniques, and the production of grapes that can have an effect on the taste of the sparkling wine produced. For example, cuvées produced in the US use fewer vintages (years) of grapes than their european counterparts. The sparklers in the US may age from 8 months to six years, with no minimum aging time - in contrast to standards in Europe. Not only that, the climate in grape-producing regions (especially California) will produce a vintage every year, while European producers may have to wait longer to produce a vintage (a year) of their bubbles.

Currently the US has banned the use of the term "Champagne" on any wines not produced in Champagne, except if the label was in use before 2006. Those labels that are 'grandfathered-in' are required to also state their region of production on their label next to the term "Champagne".

In addition to Domaine Chandon, there are a few French champagne producers who have set up shop in the US, including Domaine Chandon and Tattinger in Napa Valley, and Roederer in Mendocino.

America’s Alcohol Certified Education Association provides online alcohol server training – to get your alcohol server’s permit or to take alcohol server training classes in Washington and Oregon from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.

Extra Dry or Brut? A Primer on Champagne, Part I

"Come quickly, I am tasting stars..." Dom Perignon, after his first taste of Champagne,
Do you know the difference between an extra dry and a brut champagne? Can you tell a Cava from a Prosecco? Do you know what bubbles from Napa are called, or what makes it bubbly in the first place? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you're not alone. The confusion may stem from the bubbly elixr's ubiquitos misrepresentation (not all sparkling wines are champagnes), and the confusion between the name, and the taste.

Champagne Campaign!

Champagne is a sparkling wine that comes ONLY from the region of Champagne, France.

Champagne, France courtesy of Drinknectar.comAny other bubbles calling themselves champagne that do not hail from the region north of Paris are not. They're generally considered "sparkling wines". As Drinknectar.com notes, "While it might sound like French snobbery to some, they developed the process, so I think they deserve to lay claim to the name." We agree.

For sparkling wines that come from outside the Champagne region, the French have reserved the terms "Mousseux", "Crémant" and sometimes "Blanquette". Blanquette is generally a white from Limoux and the sparkling Blanquette actually pre-dates champagne.

When buying, look for the words "méthode champenoise", which means the wine has a second-fermentation in the bottle. This extra fermentation is where the bubbles come in. This is in opposition to the charmat method (and most any other kind of fermentation), which actually requires a large tank. Here, the carbon dioxide is injected while the wine is in stainless steel tanks (rather than fermented in its' own bottle), and is bottled under pressure in a continuous process.

Dry or Brut?

These terms often confuse bubble-buyers. Many would think of a dry wine as being just that - not sweet. However, when it comes to champagne and other sparkling whites, this option is often the sweetest. When looking for a drier bottle, keep this in mind:

  • Extra Brut (The driest - Pucker up! Many enjoy this extra dry sparkling wine)
  • Brut (Highly recommended)
  • Extra Dry (Which is not as dry as Brut)
  • Dry/Sec (Much sweeter than Brut)
  • Demi-Sec (A great dessert wine)
  • Doux (Maximum sugar)
Most champagne is made as a "cuvée" - a blend of 3 types of grapes, typically 2 white and one red. A Blanc de Blancs will be made entirely of white grapes, and is generally more delicate, while a Blanc de Noirs is a white wine made of red/black grapes. The Blanc de Noirs is generally more robust, with a golden color. You may also see bottles of Rosé Cuvée which means just a touch of red wine is added to give it the pink color. Rosé Cuvée is not to be confused with rosé wines.

Serving Recommendations

Champagne is best served cold - between 43 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit. To get your champagne to this temperature, leave it in the fridge for a few days before opening. Never put champagne in the freezer, since contents are under pressure and bottles have a tendency to explode in freezers. We've also read that the quick chill can ruin the aromatics. If you need to chill champagne quickly, put it in an ice bucket filled with half ice and half water for about a half hour.

When pouring, always pour the glass 3/4 full, in tall champagne flutes.

America's Alcohol Certified Education Association provides online alcohol server training - to get your alcohol server's permit or to take alcohol server training classes in Washington and Oregon from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.

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