Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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A Dispiriting Glimpse at Molecular Mixology's Latest Offering

My book Moonshine has lots of sidebars, little snippets of text related to the nearby sections, but just enough off-topic that they felt clunky in the main copy. They reflect my scattershot, parenthetical way of thinking and the somewhat difficult time I have keeping my tongue in check. One such sidebar I cut from the final draft concerned booty bumps.

Booty what? Oh, come now. Don't tell me you've never heard of booty bumps.

Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images from The Guardian
Working from the delusion that those around them are unable to detect its aroma, certain day drinkers drink only vodka. Regardless of federal guidelines that specify vodka is to be odorless and tasteless, it is neither. In fact, vodka has a distinct odor and only seems odorless and tasteless when compared with whiskeys, rums, brandies, and other spirits that have more obvious characteristic smells. In other words, we're all onto you, drunkie.

Consumers who want to employ an even sneakier workaround, several informants explained, may take their alcohol from the other end. They may, in effect, take vodka enemas. Ethanol is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through the membrane of the lower intestine, delivering the alcoholic punch of a shot of booze, but without the resultant telltale vodka breath. The booty bump. Of course, it's easy to take poisonous amounts of alcohol into one's system accidentally through this inelegant backdoor method. Lest there's any uncertainty; it is not advised.

The things one learns in the course of pursuing a life in alcohol.

I was reminded of this alternate quick-delivery system because this Sunday's Guardian featured a story about the WA/HH spray that's just gone on sale in Paris. Kim Willsher writes:
With one squirt, its inventors promise, you'll feel all the euphoria of being inebriated for a few seconds without the nasty side-effects of behaving like an idiot and falling over. 
Willsher goes on:
With each squirt from the WA/HH spray delivering just 0.0075ml of alcohol and about 20 squirts in each €20 (£16) lipstick-sized spray, it's pricey night out – the equivalent of €1,300 (£1,000) for a unit of alcohol.
What's next? Whiskey tabs that dissolve on one's tongue? Patches that deliver small but continuous doses of Cognac for hours on end? Call me old fashioned, but I like my whiskey, wine, cider, port, rum, punch and other boozy repasts down my throat in liquid form. Ok, and maybe occasionally as a jelly. I enjoy the taste of alcoholic drinks. God help us all if we grow old in a world where the best option for a stiff drink is £1,000 spritzes of aerosol grain spirits.

If molecular mixology continues in this direction, that ass full of vodka might not seem like such a bad idea.


Nathan said...

Maybe an oil mister filled with Everclear would achieve the same effect at a more agreeable price point?

Reminds me of the "vodka eyeballing" trend/hoax that went around a couple years ago.

Matthew Rowley said...

Huh. Regarding my bitters misters in an entirely new light.

Was that eyeball thing ever real? Yeah, I know, *some* people did it, but it struck me as similar to planking, bone luges, or picklebacks — a little too forced to be convincing.

DJ HawaiianShirt said...

I was always told that alcohol breath came from the lungs, not the throat.

I've heard that one's BAC is transferred from the blood to exhaled air via the very same parts of the lungs that incorporate our inhaled oxygen into our blood stream

Wouldn't this mean that these "ass shots" of vodka would still (eventually) register in one's breath? I've heard that this would be the case for a breathalizer, but I also imagine it might be smellable too, no?

Matthew Rowley said...

You may be right. Certainly, the day after a heavy night's drinking, a metabolizing body throws off sour-smelling ketones seemingly from everywhere.

I admit I haven't done much firsthand field research on this particular topic. Clearly a study is in order. I volunteer to be in the control group.