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"Prohibition" Series Looks at Illegalizing Alcohol

From 1920 to 1933, the US 18th Amendment, or Volstead Act banned alcohol countrywide. Now, a new series on PBS titled "Prohibition", and produced by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick shows the motives, methods, and melee that occurred when alcohol was banned in the US according to Zap 2 It.

Alcohol was considered one of the original sins of America, spurring the movement to ban the substance. Burns and Novick's series highlights the consequences of the Volstead act, including the criminalization of the alcohol industry and the rise of violent gangs as a result. Its prohibition gave rise to gangsters like Al Capone, and police were paid to look the other way. Speakeasies popped up, around the country, and in the more elite populations, cocktail parties became popular.

The support of and opposition to Prohibition represented competing strains of American thought. Where the "Roaring Twenties" introduced more progressive thought, the Temperance Movement which supported Prohibition, looked to take away certain American freedoms. The filmmakers note that while alcohol can cause social problems, it has also been a large part of human society for ages.

Says Novick, "There were many, many problems with Prohibition, but one was a fundamental misreading of the place of alcohol and also the fact that alcohol, inherently, is not bad for everyone."

"It coincided with this great liberation of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties economically," Burns says. "The only thing that's going backwards is Prohibition. Everything else is going forwards; half the country becomes lawbreakers. It is a descent into hell paved entirely with good intentions."

At AACEA, we're committed to bring you news and reviews on events in the hospitality and beverage industry. AACEA provides online alcohol server training and certified bartending classes. To get your mandatory alcohol server training certificate today vist www.aacea.com. Each month, AACEA raffles off $100 to one of our MAST students.

A Drink a Day May be Good For You

Recently Boston University Medical Center produced a study suggesting that alcohol use reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, even at consumption levels considered "hazardous". Hazardous levels were defined as more than 14 drinks a week for men, seven a week for women. A drink is considered to be 1-1/2 ounces of whiskey or other hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer, wine cooler and similar beverages. Says the Times, "The researchers noted that if the risk of coronary disease does not increase despite heavier drinking, it may be that higher heart risks reported in some studies are actually the result of other kinds of heart problems, such as heart rhythm or structural defects, rather than clogged arteries." In the study, researchers found that the rate of heart disease among moderate and hazardous drinkers was about the same as those who remained abstinent; even when factoring in differences in lifestyle. Unfortunately, the study could not take into account differences in exercise or diet. The article notes, however, "Alcohol may help the arteries long-term, but a report published last summer by Harvard scientists found that the risk of stroke appears to double in the hour after consuming just one drink of any type of alcohol." "At this point, we don't have enough evidence to say that people who don't drink should start, or that people who drink in small amounts, on the order of one drink a day, should stop," said Dr. Murray Mittleman, senior author of the study and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard School of Medicine. Though a drink may increase circulation, too much is never a good thing. AACEA promotes responsible alcohol service and sales and offers online alcohol server training in Washington. For more information about your alcohol permit visitwww.aaccea.com

A Primer on Underage Drinking

A recent report on Medscape News Today notes that teen drinking is down in 2011 - in fact, underage drinking has fallen to its lowest point in 3 years. This is good news for law enforcement and those in the alcohol industry who have been vigilant in attempting to crack down on underage drinking. Selling alcohol to minors can result in criminal charges, fines and most likely the loss of your job. For alcohol, it is your legal responsibility to make sure the person is 21 or older. If you intentionally help someone under 21 obtain or attempt to obtain alcohol, it's considered "aiding and abetting." This means you cannot help an underage person buy alcohol, you cannot buy for alcohol for them or give them any alcohol.

washington acceptable id

Reducing the number of underage drinkers can be as easy as knowing what to look for on a customer's ID. At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we provide alcohol server training that teaches prospective bartenders and servers how to quickly identify proper identification as well as spotting intoxicated customers, and knowing just how much alcohol is in a beverage. With the widespread use of fake IDs, it can be difficult to make sure you're serving to an of-age customer. There are a few guidelines for spotting fake IDs though:
  1. Compare the person in the picture to the one who is presenting it. Often, this is the biggest clue.
  2. Feel the ID for cuts in the birthdate and/or picture area. They can be subtle.
  3. Compare the identification document to the ID checking guide.
  4. Look for different types of ink on the ID, color contrasts, smudges and misprints.
  5. Overall, trust your instincts. Servers have the right to refuse sale to anyone for any reason.
Together we can help stop underage drinking and promote responsible alcohol sales and service. If you're looking to get your mandatory alcohol server training certificate, choose online alcohol classes that you can take from the comfort of your own home with AACEA. Sign up for one of our convenient classes at www.aacea.com!

AACEA is an Approved Alcohol Certification Program in Washington and Oregon!

If you're a server looking to get your mandatory alcohol server training certificate in Washington or Oregon, look no further than AACEA. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Washington State Liquor Control Board both require a "server permit" for anybody who is employed by a licensee - a business with a permit to serve alcohol (Restaurants, Bars, Restaurants, Deli's, Wineries, etc.) - and who participates in any way in mixing, sale or service of alcohol for consumption at that business. In short, anybody who may/does/will handle alcohol is required to have a servers permit and complete alcohol server training. AACEA provides daily OLCC and WSLCB-approved classes in the Portland/Metro area and Northwest Oregon, the Seattle area, and online! You can complete online alcohol training from the comfort of your own home or come to one of our popular classes. At the end of our classes you will have your temporary permit in-hand, whether it's a new or renewal permit. If you're looking for your Washington State alcohol server's permit, check out our online training. The course can be completed from home in only 3 hours, and you can be at work in the service industry that day! America's Alcohol Certified Education Association is dedicated to promoting responsible alcohol sales and service through our course pack. Find out more today at www.aacea.com.

AACEA Launches the First Washington State Approved Online Courseware for Alcohol Server Training.

Americas Alcohol Certified Education Association (AACEA) is the first online alcohol server training provider to be approved by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The founder of AACEA, Len Riggs is the founder of Len Riggs Alcohol Server Training (LRAST) and has operated in Washington State since 2001. This online alcohol training and certification program has also been approved by the OLCC’s Alcohol Server Education Program. “When I first became certified by the WSLCB I can remember reading the approval letter and thinking “Now what?” I started out with a shoe string budget, rolled up my sleeves and went to work. I had one goal in mind and that was to become the number one provider in Washington. When I mentioned that goal I was met with a lot of skepticism.” said Len Riggs, founder of AACEA. “As I began my quest I found myself digging deeper into the culture of alcohol service and could see where I could make a difference by teaching those in my class with more than just enough information to pass the test and get their permit.” Riggs continued. Riggs submerged himself into the LCB Rule book and asked a lot of questions. He believed that if he was going to teach it, he should know what he was talking about. Then came the stories of the impact of DUI and the lives that drunk driving has shattered and continues to shatter. “When I teach a class or when I train a trainer for AACEA / LRAST, I do my best to get the fact across that they (the student) can make a difference and save lives. Many times I have been contacted by past students who either went through a class that I taught, or through one of our trainers to thank us for teaching us what we taught.” said Riggs. The AACEA Program was written with the same dedication. Wisdom from many years of working in the Hospitality Industry, humor and a basic understanding of the LCB Rules, make the AACEA Program what it is. A few years ago LRAST became the number one Provider in Washington State and issued twice as many alcohol server permits as the next closest Provider. It is with the same dedication that LRAST was built on, “Customer Service and Comprehensive Education” that AACEA will move forward with. To register online for an alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

Across the US, Alcohol Consumption is Up.

According to USAToday:
Consumption of alcohol hit a 25-year high in 2010, when 67% of Americans reported drinking alcoholic beverages, according to a Gallup poll. That's a level unseen since the late 1970s, when 71% of Americans said they drank.
It's interesting to note:
Americans drank more wine than ever last year, 2.3 gallons apiece. That's up 35% since 1994. Spirits climbed 18% to 1.5 gallons per person for the same period, while beer intake dropped 7% to 20.7 gallons, says the Beer Institute.
What does the increase in alcohol consumption mean for certified alcohol servers? 1. Your establishment may be busier! Due to economic downturn, many people are looking for ways to blow off steam, or to get some valuable socialization time if they've been recently laid off. This might translate to an increase in customers who are looking for a cheap drink. 2. You may see an increase in intoxicated customers. Americans are consuming more alcohol on a whole - and more alcohol generally means more intoxication. It's important to have tactics for dealing with intoxicated customers and it's important to know when to say no. 3. You may see an increase in attempts at underage drinking. It's best to scrutinize scenarios in which you think your patron may be underage. It helps to familiarize yourself with local drivers' licenses and to adopt a policy for dealing with underage drinking. If you're looking to become a certified alcohol server and take online alcohol certification classes to get your Washington Server Permit or your Oregon server's permit, visit www.aacea.com. Each month, we raffle off $100 to a lucky student - put your name in the hat today by signing up for your mandatory alcohol server training with America's Alcohol Certified Education Association.

Alcohol Content in Wine

We found a great piece in the Seattle Times Wine Adviserwine alcohol levelabout alcohol levels in wines. Alcohol levels must be printed on wine labels according to Federal regulations. The Washington Wine Report notes that wines fourteen percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and under are allowed a 1.5% margin of error – provided the alcohol content does not exceed 14%. Wines over 14% are allowed a margin of error of 1%. In other words, a wine listed at 15% alcohol may be as high as 16% without running afoul of the feds. For this reason alone, there is a good chance that the percentage listed on the label is not entirely accurate. In this case, the printed numbers err significantly and still fall within the letter of the law. Wine Adviser, Paul Gregutt writes,
"So, what's too high? And what's wrong with high-alcohol wines anyway? "When a wine finishes with a burning sensation — that's too high. When the alcohol level is such that it must be masked by winemaking tricks such as massive amounts of new oak, or unwanted residual sugar — that's too high. When a wine loses all traces of varietal character or the more subtle elements that contribute to its aroma, complexity, texture and balance — that's too high. "Worst of all, when a wine reaches such ridiculous levels of alcohol that one glass makes you punch drunk — dry zinfandels pinning the meter at over 17 percent — that's waaay too high. "...When unfortified wines climb above 15.5 percent, they almost always lose subtlety and finesse. Nuances are gone, replaced by the dynamic trio of alcohol, fruit jam and lumber. Apart from the bludgeoning such wines give the palate, they are almost impossible to match with food."
In general, we've found the following to be a helpful guide: Table wine: 8 – 14% Sparkling wine: 8 – 12% Fortified wine: 17 – 22% Part of Responsible Alcohol Service is knowing how much punch a drink packs. It's important to pay attention to alcohol levels in various wines and liquors to avoid over-serving. AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com If you're working in the Hospitality industry and are currently enrolled or enrolling in college, tell us what it means to you to be the first line of defense in drunk driving and you may win a scholarship for $500 through the Len Riggs and AACEA Scholarship to Save Lives Contest. Entries will be accepted until July 1st.

Bartender Question: How do I Cut a Customer Off?

In the bartending industry, certified bartenders may find themselves facing rowdy customers who have had a little too much to drink. Knowing the signs of over-intoxication, and when to say no are part of responsible server training. America’s Alcohol Certified Education Association asked bartending pro Jeffrey Morgenthaler how to cut someone off - on the subject, he says, "Telling someone “No more” can lead to an uncomfortable situation. So that’s why I now try to approach the denial of alcohol from a hospitality-centric perspective: I’m the one who helped get you into this mess, and now I’m going to be the one who helps you get out of it – a bartender in every sense of the word." Some of the best methods for cutting unruly customers fall into the category of simply caring for your customer. You want them to continue to come back for a long time to come, which means that in no condition should they get in their car while inebriated. Jeffrey suggests simply explaining this to them - and then by suggesting food, soft drinks, water or coffee to over-inebriated guests, you keep them in a safe place, while giving them a little bit more time to sober up. The next step after diffusing the situation is to alert the rest of your crew, so that nobody continues to over-serve your guest. Bartenders who seem caring, who de-escalate the situation, and who offer to help clients seem to have the best results when cutting off customers. Many of Jeffrey's very smart readers also provided insight on this bartending conundrum. One reader mentioned "actively managing" your clientele. Heath says: "When I probably have had too much, bartenders often take far longer to come back to ask for my next drink than they usually do, or they forget the drinks I’ve ordered, or introduce me to someone who’s about to go have a cigarette. I appreciate these measures that let me save face (and sometimes not even notice that it’s happening), while having the same effect of keeping me from having far too much more to drink." One clever commenter mentioned a game she created to cut off inebriated customers. Cheryl says: "I had to come up with something creative. It’s my bartender nature to always bring humor into as much of life as possible, so I went out and bought an Operation game. I used the game for guests I felt should be cut-off. I’d pull it out with a big smile and tell the drunken soul that I would strike a deal with them. The rules were simple. Get all the bones out without the red buzzer nose going off and I’d serve them another drink. The game on the bartop was a magnet of fun and as you might have guessed, a big hit. The people that loved it the best were the local cops. They called it my sobriety test." By keeping your cool and being discrete about cutting someone off, you encourage your customers to continue returning to your establishment. Not only that - you diffuse potentially unsafe situations. AACEA's certified bartenders gain valuable experience like cutting off inebriated customers at our mandatory alcohol server training classes. We provide online alcohol server training, while promoting responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your servers permit, visit www.aacea.com.

Bartending Icons: Reggie St. Paul

As time passes, drinks change, styles change, tastes change, but one thing that never changes is the service that bartenders give their customers. Licensed bartenders through the ages - such as Reggie St. Paul - have always had to focus on responsible alcohol service. A bartender for more than 40 years, Reggie St. Paul of Cambridge, MA has poured drinks for celebrities like Miles Davis and St. Louis Cardinals Hall-of-Famer Bob Gibson.

St. Paul has watched people change, times change, and consumer tastes change over his bartending career. A former school teacher, who's served tens of thousands of customers, St. Paul says he still enjoys coming to work at The Blue Room’s ash bar in Kendall Square.

“I know every day is going to be different,’’ says St. Paul, “And I like it because I work with people who are young.’’

An article on Boston.com notes:

Through the decades, he has watched drinkers rediscover cocktails and seen smoke-filled rooms consigned to the ashtray of history.

... He remembers when drinking was serious stuff, when tastes were dramatically different, and a bar could go through eight to 10 bottles of whiskey and bourbon a night, compared with only one bottle of gin and one bottle of vodka.

Drinking habits have changed dramatically since then, often circling back to decades-old tendencies. Cocktails are popular once more, wine is nearly a given, and bartenders must learn or reacquaint themselves with the mechanics of an intricately mixed drink.

“We’re doing cocktails of the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s,’’ St. Paul says. “It’s become exciting.’’ One big difference, he says, is that “to some people now, the glass is more important than what’s in it.’’

But some things never change for bartenders, including their interaction with customers, the social psychology they develop, and their ability to defuse potential confrontations. And then there are the physical demands.

At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we tip our hats to certified bartenders like Reggie St. Paul, who continue to provide responsible alcohol sales and excellent customer service.

AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. For more information on Washington alcohol certification and bartender licensing, or to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com.

Boozy Bears: Dangerous to Underage Drinkers

Responsible alcohol sales includes being aware of underage drinking. Certified alcohol servers are constantly on the look out for minors who are trying to buy or consume alcohol. However, it's not always easy to spot underage drinking. A recent report on KFOR.com says that a new trend in underage drinking is "Boozy Bears". The substance is a mix of Gummi Bears and vodka, and can be incredibly dangerous for teens looking to experiment with alcohol. Since the alcohol is clear, the bears don't change color - making this new craze an almost imperceptible way to imbibe. The danger lies in the way the bears are consumed - many students swallow them whole, letting these "boozy bears" disintegrate once they've hit the stomach. The result is not immediate - but the buzz does come on strong. Many teens have cited the substance as a "sudden effect" and "much more intoxicating than you ever thought it would be." In the article on KFOR, sources reported that vodka seems to the most common among teens because it's clear and doesn't give off strong odors. The Oklahoma teens cited in the article also mentioned energy drinks or soda as mixers for alcohol and beer. The report cites the internet as one of the prime ways that teens are gaining access to alcohol. In fact, an online survey conducted by Teen Research Unlimited for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. found that millions of teens across the country have bought, or know other minors who have purchased alcohol via the Internet. Specifically, more than half a million teenagers admitted to have purchased alcohol from online alcohol shops and more than 3 million minors said they have a friend who has obtained alcohol in the same way. Alcohol servers need to constantly be on the lookout for underage drinking - staying ahead of the trends helps. AACEA is committed to providing alcohol server training focused on responsible alcohol service. For more information, or to find out how you can become a certified alcohol server, visit www.aacea.com.

Cocktail Culture is Killing Bartending

An article on SeriousEats.com asks if cocktail culture is killing the art of bartending. The writer, Michael Neff, says that the nostalgia for vintage cocktails has birthed a "cocktail culture" where drinks like the Manhattan are king - despite whether or not anyone actually likes them. This nostalgia is alienating the only people who can tell us whether or not these drinks are any good. Those people are the consumers. Neff states:
"Much of the current cocktail trend is based on nostalgia, and it is difficult to say it, but many cocktails that we now call "forgotten classics" are forgotten for a reason. They have the shine of history, and we're told we are supposed to love them, but they're too sweet, they lack balance, and they kind of suck. The Jerry Thomas Manhattan (2-1 Whiskey to Vermouth, Angostura Bitters, with a dash of Cointreau) tastes like syrup. It certainly doesn't taste like whiskey. But it's the earliest written recipe of the Manhattan, and people are told that it's how a Manhattan is supposed to be made. Choke it down if you can, but don't dare say you don't like it. Who the hell are you, anyway? This is a big problem for all of us. The consumer feels judged (because they are), and walks away feeling smaller than they walked in."
That judgement, Neff notes, happens when bars push vintage cocktails on their menus. These heavy-hitting drinks taste much stiffer, are much stronger, and sometimes lack the balance of many modern cocktails. Bartenders who work primarily in cocktail bars serving these nostalgic drinks may forget that today's consumer has a different palate than the consumers of yesteryear. He goes on to say,
"The upside to this upswing in mixology is that we have the privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants and have taken the cocktail to a realm more respected than it has ever been before. We have more ingredients, better spirits, and the combined culinary history of the last hundred years to guide us in our current experiments. It's exciting, and I'm honored to be a part of it. The obsession with recreating cocktails in their original form stifles the creativity of people who want to push drinks to taste better."
What do you think, readers? Do you prefer the newer, more complex drinks? Or will you stand by the old standards? AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol – sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 from AACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

Drunk Facebooking: A Serious Issue

Part of being a responsible alcohol server is to make sure you're not over-serving, or serving alcohol to minors. This includes checking ID, and verifying acceptable ID, and knowing when to say no to over-intoxicated customers. One recent study shows that underage drinking or problem drinking - which are both very serious problems - can also possibly be curbed through Facebook. A recent study found that college-age students who frequently posted photos or status updates about being drunk were more likely to experience alcohol related problems - showing that they either drank too much or drank in unhealthy situations. Amid concerns of privacy violations, schools and universities have discussed this finding - especially since the research could help schools identify students who may need counseling through alcohol-related situations. A Reuters Article on the subject says:
Dr. Megan Moreno from the University of Wisconsin-Madison led a team of researchers from her university and the University of Washington in Seattle who surveyed the Facebook pages, including photos and posts, of 224 undergrads with publicly-available profiles. About two-thirds of those students had no references to alcohol or drinking on their pages. The rest of the pages mentioned or had pictures of social, non-problematic drinking or more serious and risky alcohol use, including riding in a car while drunk or getting in trouble related to drinking. The researchers brought all the students in for a 10-question screening test used to determine who is at risk for problem drinking. That test assesses the frequency of drinking and binge drinking as well as negative consequences from alcohol use. Close to six in ten of the students whose Facebook pages had references to drunkenness and other dangerous drinking scored above the cutoff showing a risk for alcohol abuse and dependence, as well as other drinking-related problems. That compared to 38 percent of students who had more minor references to alcohol and 23 percent of those who didn't mention alcohol or drinking at all, according to findings published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. In addition, close to one in five Facebook-implicated risky drinkers said they had an alcohol-related injury in the previous year.
Moreno and her colleagues theorized that this kind of Facebook "evidence" could be used as a red-flag, where school residential assistants and counselors could either talk with the student or the student's parents. However, as Dr. James Niels Rosenquist, a social media researcher and psychiatrist from Massachusetts General Hospital stated, this kind of information only shows a very small snapshot into a person's life - and it may not be enough evidence to show who may need to be screened for alcohol related issues. One way to help curb underage drinking is to require any person serving alcohol to go through alcohol server training. If you need your mandatory alcohol server training, or server permit, visit www.aacea.com. We offer a full range of classes to help you learn how to become a better bartender and how to be a responsible server.

Four Loko Cans Now Required to Show Alcohol Content

Four Loko - a caffeinated malt beverage - has been banned by Washington State Liquor Control after many college-age students were hospitalized because of the drink. The contrasting effects of caffeine and alcohol are said to somewhat cancel each other out, leading to higher consumption of the product. Those who are not used to drinking alochol may over-consume, causing alcohol-related injury. As an alcohol vendor, and as a part of being a responsible alcohol server, it's important to know that products like these have been banned. It's also important to know the effects of what Four Loko can do, and the average alcohol content in a can. Known among college students as "blackout in a can" this controversial product has been banned in other states, including Michigan for the same reason. A push is currently underway in New York and Oregon for a statewide sales ban. In one report, Four Loko manufacturer Phusion Projects defended its product, saying that can that warned of the drink's contents and called attention to the need for identification to purchase it. "The unacceptable incident at Central Washington University, which appears to have involved hard liquor... and possibly illicit substances," the statement read, "is precisely why we go to great lengths to ensure that our products are not sold to underage consumers and are not abused." Now, in a push from the FTC, Four Loko cans are required to state just how much alcohol the beverage has in it; a whopping 12%, which shows one can of Four Loko has approximately the same alcohol content as 4-5 cans of beer. The FTC alleges that Phusion misrepresented the amount of alcohol in those cans. Phusion has been known to state that one can of Four Loko is the equivalent of one to two regular cans of 12-ounce beers – instead of four to five cans. Phusion also has marketed these cans as a single serving, and the cans are not resealable, which encourages the drinker to consume the product all at once. Phusion considers it safe to consume a whole can of Four Loko, while the FTC considers consuming an entire can on a single occasion equivalent to “binge drinking.” Four Loko spokesperson and lobbyist Jim Halstrom says, "No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers, but we also believe curbing alcohol abuse or underage drinking will not be accomplished by singling out a lone product or beverage category. We think the true answer lies with increased education and awareness by all and with respect for the law." It seems as if the answer is two-fold. On one hand, the makers of Four Loko should be required to disclose information about the content of what's in their product. On the other hand, there is a responsibility by the vendors to check ID's - to make sure alcohol isn't being sold to minors, and to ensure products are not being sold to those who are intoxicated. Part of responsible alcohol service is knowing your part in matters like these. To get your mandatory alcohol servers permit, and take alcohol online classes from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.

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.

Holiday Cocktails!

With the holiday season in full swing, we're sure our readers - bartenders and would-be bartenders alike - could use a little cocktail inspiration for their holiday themed parties. At AACEA, we love a good holiday party just as much as the next - but we want to emphasize how important it is to drink responsibly. If you're drinking at holiday parties, be sure to arrange a designated driver, and have a safe holiday season. Though wine at a party is always a safe bet, we thought we'd give you a list of a few great cocktails you can make that will delight your guests... Classic Christmas Cocktails:These mixes are the perfect, traditional, winter drinks. 1. For a traditional approach, add 1 oz brandy, bourbon, rum, or whiskey to a highball glass of ice and Eggnog. If you're looking for that little extra something, try a float of Kahlua or amaretto. 2. Try your hand at Rum Cider! This drink, best served warm and easy to make for parties, combines approximately 6-8oz Spiced Apple Cider with about 1 oz spiced rum. You can use store-bought apple cider, or if you like your cider a bit tangier, we recommend organic apple juice. Add proportions of cider and rum in a pot on the stove, on low. Add a half teaspoon of nutmeg and allspice, add a cinnamon stick and 2-4 cloves. Remember, in large batches, your apple cider will reduce a bit, but your rum will also cook off a bit. Be careful how much you add because this drink packs a punch! 3. Hot Buttered Rum is always a treat - combine 2 oz of rum and a small pat of butter in a mug. Add boiling water to top it off. Garnish with lemon peel and cinnamon for stirring. 4. Everyone loves a Poinsettia - and it's hard to find someone who won't like this drink! Combine 1/2 oz of Cointreau with 3 oz Cranberry juice. Top with champagne in a flute. For extra effect, garnish with a few frozen cranberries or raspberries for a delicious treat. 5. Mulled Wine is a traditional winter drink, usually made in large batches. Combine 1 bottle red wine, 1 cup of cognac, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 whole cloves, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 vanilla bean, 1 star anise, 1 sliced orange and 1 sliced lemon. Simmer for 25 minutes while stirring, then strain and serve warm. This drink also ages well - let it sit out overnight (or in the 'fridge) the day before your party for better flavor. 6. Here we come a-wassailing... with a warm mug of this traditional English Christmas punch. For this one, you'll need a little bit of time.
  • 1 Gallon apple cider
  • 2 C. cranberry juice
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • Whole cloves
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • Allspice
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (or 3 Tbs. ground cinnamon)
  • 1/2 C - 1 C brandy (optional)
Put all ingredients (besides the brandy) in your crock pot on high until the mix starts to bubble. Then turn to low and simmer for 2-4 hours. 1/2 hour before serving, add the brandy. It makes your house smell delicious, and it tastes fantastic too. What's your favorite Holiday Cocktail? Leave a comment below! America's Alcohol Certified Education Association provides online alcohol server and online mandatory server training. To get your bartending certification from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.

How Privatization of Alcohol Could Affect Washington State

If you are a Washington state resident and a registered voter (and even if you aren't), you have probably heard about initiative 1183 regarding privatization of the state alcohol system, passed last Tuesday. For those in the hospitality industry, it is important to stay informed on measures that affect how we do business. That's why we've been keeping tabs on the discussion on initiative 1183 and how it could affect the alcohol industry in Washington. The campaign for initiative 1183 was one of the most expensive campaigns in state history and there are a lot of issues on the line. On the initiative, a Huffington Post article writes:
"...Dubbed the 'Costco initiative' [this bill will] end state-run liquor stores in [Washington]. Sales in the state are currently only through stores run by the state's Liquor Control Board, a Prohibition-era policy. ...The new law would allow any store over 10,000 square feet to sell alcohol, along with continuing to allow the small contract stores under the current system to sell.... Convenience stores and gas stations would not be able to sell alcohol, however..."
The Moderate voice provided an interesting view on the subject, saying:
"The initiative would take Washington state out of both the distribution and retail sales business.... Washington state buys liquor from the source (or its representative), manages a central distribution warehouse, and sells liquor (and wine) in both state-run and contract liquor stores. Most of the public angst about I-1183 relates to retail sales, although the primary money behind the “vote no” campaign [was] from distributors, the middlemen in this deal... ...The most thorough examination of data over time (1950-2000), determined that 'Privatization had a significant permanent effect on the sale of spirits, but the effect was not large enough to affect total sales' and 'There was no significant effect on the number of fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents.'"
State-run liquor store employees, however, have cause to be concerned, as state-run liquor stores have 680 full-time employees and 714 hourly employees, who will no longer be employed by Washington state-run liquor stores after June 1. The new initiative also means layoffs for shipping companies like Kent-based Pozzi Trucking. They are one of four shipping companies delivering liquor to state stores. At AACEA, we’re committed to bringing you news on issues like these in the hospitality and beverage industry. AACEA provides online alcohol server training and bartending certification classes. To get your mandatory alcohol server training certificate today vist www.aacea.com. Each month, AACEA raffles off $100 to one of our MAST students - sign up today and be eligible to win.

In the News: Boating Under the Influence

There's a new DUI crackdown initiative, as many States are starting to crack down on boating under the influence. From USA Today's Larry Copeland:
As the summer boating season enters full swing, states are moving to curtail a peril on the water - boating while intoxicated. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents involving the USA's 12.4 million registered boats, the U.S. Coast Guard says. There were 126 fatalities and 293 injuries in 330 alcohol-related boating accidents in the USA in 2010. "It's starting to get recognized that boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated," says Lt. Cody Jones, a game warden for the marine enforcement section of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "You're in a 1-ton vehicle, but this vehicle doesn't have brakes, and there's no lane of traffic or stop sign to direct you." He and other experts say that many recreational boaters don't realize that stress factors associated with boating - such as heat, direct sunlight, vibration, wind and noise - magnify the effects of alcohol. "Alcohol has more of an impact out there," says Maj. Chris Huebner, North Carolina's state boating safety coordinator. "It can take as little as one-third the alcohol on the water as on land to be impaired." Danger on water The Lexington, Ky.-based National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is pushing for a national marine field sobriety test standard that would enable patrol officers to test boaters while they're seated. Other action: ..Starting July 1, the legal blood alcohol level of someone operating a boat in Iowa will be lowered from .10% to .08%. ..Oklahoma also lowered its legal blood alcohol level for boaters from .10% to .08%. ..North Carolina launched "On the Road or On the Water," the first statewide joint effort by police agencies to combat both driving and boating under the influence. ..Texas uses "no refusal" weekends, during which on-site judges work with police to issue search warrants to draw blood from suspects under investigation for boating or driving drunk who refuse a breath test. ..New York's state Senate passed a bill to change a law that allows someone convicted of boating under the influence to be considered a first-time offender even if they had a prior conviction for driving a motor vehicle under the influence.
Many people are not aware that in Washington State "Boating Under the Influence" is actually a criminal misdemeanor offense. The charge of Boating Under the Influence is actually called "Operation of a Vessel Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor"and is governed by Revised Code of Washington RCW 79A.60.040. Our students at AACEA are the first line of defense against drunk driving (and drunk boating).AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. AACEAis hosting a raffle for students enrolled in our alcohol server training classes – sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 from AACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washingtonvisit www.aacea.com. If you’re working in the Hospitality industry and are currently enrolled or enrolling in college, tell us what it means to you to be the first line of defense in drunk driving and you may win a scholarship for $500 through the Len Riggs and AACEA Scholarship to Save Lives Contest. Entries will be accepted until July 1st.

In the Service of Care

Too many people all crammed into a bar, the sway back, rock forward, tipsy movements. There she comes again, that specimen of service, gracing everyone with smiles, gentle excuses, and spirits. She weaves through the crowd, never stopping, never dropping. Her heart beats to the rhythm of the music, her hand twitches through her tickets, and her mind keeps track of all the loose ends. In the corner, a dark space, far against the wall, she keeps an eye on those two love birds, filling the glass, or stopping to ask if the comfort is still there. Also, at arms length, she watches those bodies, all of those bodies, because her word is the law when it comes to making sure safety is upheld. Her service requires care for every individual, a blessing and a curse, as they beckon, are denied, yell and scream, blink and babble. Unexpectedly, righteously, she stands between that door. No one leaves with their breath on fire, or their track off kilter. A cab can be called, or a friend, and she knows just what to do, water and well wishing keeps this smile in service. -- The Author, Alexandra Erwin, is one of our runners up in the Scholarship to Save Lives competition. In addition to our $500 scholarship, we selected 3 recipients for a runner-up prize of $100. Thank you so much to Alexandra and to all of our entrants. AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. AACEA is hosting a raffle for students enrolled in our alcohol server training classes – sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 from AACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

Increased Menu Prices Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket

Restaurants may begin increasing menu prices next year without the fear of losing customers accustomed to deals and discounts, according to a recent report from Jeff Omohundro, a senior securities analyst at Wells Fargo Securities. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows inflation for food at home and dining out approaching the same rates. “With the rate of inflation for food at home increasing in recent months to 1.4 percent, in line with food away from home, we think restaurants may be better positioned to pass along menu price increases to consumers,” he said. We all know that increased menu prices leads to higher check averages, which leads to an increase in tips. Continuing to provide excellent service is key to taking advantage of increased menu prices. Add in an alcoholic beverage up sell and you are on your way! We all know the importance of server training in order to learn about responsible alcohol service. In order to get your bartending license or alcohol servers permit in Washington you must have an alcohol server permit. You can now take this class online at http://www.aacea.com. Len Riggs continues to offer this fun and informative class on alcohol server training and now from the comfort of your own home!

Iowa Youths help Combat Underage Drinking

Iowa Youths are helping to combat underage drinking in their state - pushing for stiffer laws. These measures include changing Iowa's Minor-In-Posession law to include consumption, and adding a "social host" law, barring any adult from allowing minors to drink alcohol on their property. In that case, parents and other adults who allow minors to drink on their property or under their supervision would be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face fines. Students say the changes would extend penalties to adults, which would encourage them to be more vigilant against underage drinking in their homes. The DesMoines register reports:
The state’s current law on possession of alcohol by minors covers only physical possession of an alcoholic beverage, meaning that a person could simply drop a container holding alcohol to avoid a charge, advocates said. By expanding the law to include consumption, a young person could be charged with a violation if he failed a breath or blood-alcohol test.
Measures like these would help those in the alcohol industry - certified bartenders and certified alcohol servers - to ensure that everyone in their community is responsible for the task of cutting down on underage drinking. America’s Alcohol Certified Education Association is dedicated to promoting responsible alcohol sales and service through our course pack. If you’re looking for your Washington State alcohol server‘s permit, check out our online alcohol certification that allows you to get your permit from the comfort of your own home. Find out more today at www.aacea.com.

Louisiana Bar Card and Washington State MAST permit. Arizona Title 4 Basic Training Online AZ DLLC Alcohol Server Approved Certification Course California Responsible Beverage Service RBS TIPS Certificate Program On Off Premises ABC Florida Vendor State Compliant Montana Ohio Seller For Sellers Servers Bartenders and Managers Get your TABC Certification for selling serving alcohol in Texas Your official can be printed online upon completion Utah Mobile Friendly valid Bartender School on off premise server training permit classes by Len Riggs

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