Month: October 2012

What does it mean when Wine label says “Contains Sulfites”



Have you ever conjectured why a bottle of wine states “CONTAINS SULFITES” on the label while other food items  that contain sulfur get no such warning?

As stated by  Thomas Pinney’s latest book recap- some of the maneuvering from the 1980s has led to this warning. A group tried to have ingredients listed on wine labels as early as 1972. After over a decade of back-and-forth  between agencies, proposals getting rejected from the industry, and ultimately a legal challenge that succeeded in striking it down, ingredient labeling was off the table.

But the forces of “neoprohibitionism” had started gathering steam and in Senator Strom Thurmond, they found their man. This time, Pinney writes, “their goal was not to inform but to frighten.” Initial efforts to get a government warning were stymied, but they scored a victory in getting “CONTAINS SULFITES” to appear on labels starting in 1987. The following year, the government warning language on labels also passed and went into effect. While a small portion of the population is allergic to sulfites, an allergist once told me that those who are allergic generally have preconditions, such as asthma. Further, the reactions are most often severe and may include anaphylaxis (note: they don’t cause headaches).

So if you’ve ever wondered why dried fruits that have higher levels of sulfur than wine contain no government warning, know you know why. First, they’re regulated by different agencies (TTB vs FDA). Second, there’s no anti-dried fruit lobby. Ha Ha!!!

As the topic of ingredient labeling for wine is making the rounds again, it’s worth bearing in mind that the track record of “contains sulfites” verbosity on labels has raised more questions than it has answered and perhaps, as its original proponents intended, scared more people away from wine than it has endangered asthamatics. 

Absolut Bubbly Vodka – Welcome Absolut Tune!

Absolut has released their latest “sparkling fusion”, Absolut Tune.

Absolut Tune, a new offering from vodka purveyor Absolut, looks a lot like Champagne on first glance. It’s packaged in a Champagne-shaped bottle. It has a cork with a classic mushroom shape, a characteristic of most Champagne corks. It has the same light color and small, pearly bubbles that smack of Champagne.

absolut tune

But it’s not Champagne, or even sparkling wine. (Champagne technically only refers to wine made from grapes grown in the region of France.)

It  is a “sparkling fusion of crisp white wine with a premium vodka finish. That’s right, it’s a mixture of vodka and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, posturing itself as a bubbly libation fit for “raising a glass at Sunday brunch” (prime Champagne real estate) or “romantically sipping during a quiet in-home celebration” (Champagne territory again). An Absolut release even suggests using it in mimosas and bellinis — famously Champagne-based drinks.

Tune  is definitely worth a try. Let us know how you feel about unwrapping this new bubbly vodka.

Do you have money to burn?

Drinking good cocktails should not break the bank, but sometimes it’s fun to read about the people who are rich enough (and crazy enough) to buy ridiculously pricey drinks. For example, Salvatore Calabrese from the UK recently claimed he set a new world record for making the most expensive cocktail in the world at roughly $8,800. What is the most expensive drink in the world made out of?

A 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, a 1770 Kummel liqueur, an 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao and two dashes of Angostura bitters dating from around 1900. Hmm…seems like it might be cheaper to just build a time machine and travel back to those dates to drink… but what do we know?

Here are some other crazy expensive cocktails that people actually pay for:

 The Skyview Bar of Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates $7,439
This is the drink that Mr. Calabrese knocked out of the top spot for most expensive cocktail. It is considered an ultra-luxury version of the traditional “old fashioned.” It’s made with 55-year-old Macallan whisky, ice made from water used at their distillery, and exclusive dried fruit bitters with passion fruit scented sugar.

Ménage a Trois at Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas – $3,000
Okay, this drink is just decadent. It’s made from Cristal Rose, Hennessy Ellipse and Grand Marnier Cent-cinquantenaire. It’s decorated with 23-karat gold flakes and liquid gold syrup. You drink it through a gold straw studded with a 9-point diamond that you get to keep.

Mai Tai at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast and Dublin, Ireland – $1,400
This cocktail also used to hold the world record back in the day. You’re probably thinking “why is a freaking Mai Tai over $1,000?” – because it uses 17-year-old Wray and Nephew Rum, which was used to create the original Mai Tai over 60 years ago. There are only six bottles of this rum left in the entire world and The Merchant Hotel has one of them.

If you were gonna make a cocktail and charge an arm and a leg for it, what crazy ingredients would you put in it?

Do different drinks effect our spirits differently?

what mood are you in?



There must be a reason alcoholic beverages are called “spirits.” Do different drinks affect our spirits differently? DIA went digging. We found plenty of theories — most of them from armchair analysts who have “proof” that: “Champagne makes me happy.” “Wine makes me flirty.” “Beer makes me tired.” “Whiskey turns me into a jerk.”

“It’s the alcohol, stupid!” Yes, WE know. But is there more to it?

There is lots of scientific jibber jabber that says the whole thing is a fake, and its just based on the amount of alcohol you are consuming, and there should be no difference between various types.

What do we think? The amount of alcohol you are consuming obviously has to do with it – but some people have different drinking habits with different drinks. If someone loves red wine, and hates beer, they will probably end up drinking more red wine, and at a faster pace. In this case, they will get the impression that they are more flirty when they drink red wine, compared to when they drink beer, if only because they are getting more alcohol into their body.

Or maybe its the mood that comes first: we choose a beverage based on our moods. When we’re sad, we drink whiskey. When we’re happy, it’s champagne. When we want to party, its tequila. That could give us the impression that the drink actually makes us feel the way we are already feeling.

What do you think? Do you have moods associated to certain drinks?