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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Whiskey judged "healthier" than other spirits.
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Whiskey judged "healthier" than other spirits.
AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2465
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-02-28 08:42 am   Permalink

Go with me on this Dec 2017 article for a moment. I found it on Supercall.com. Interesting food for thought here. Many bars do not sanitize their ice machines often enough, although inspections should protect us from that, but we all know there is always a chance that we're drinking something which we can't see. But when it comes to the garnish trays at many bars - we need whatever help we can get. I think this is a short and fun read.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's not tiki. But I thought this would be of interest to all since most of us do frequent bars.

Why Whiskey Is Healthier Than Any Other Drink
by NICKOLAUS HINES
@ NICKOLAUSHINES

https://www.supercall.com/news/whiskey-kills-bacteria as of 2/28/2018

There’s infection-causing bacteria living in the ice in your drink, and the only surefire way to kill it is with whiskey. Not vodka, and not some other spirit or mixer. Just whiskey.

A study recently published in the medical journal Springer examined the types of bacteria that can survive in ice. The bad news is that 31 species of bacteria were found in bar ice—including infectious Pseudomonas (can cause skin and lung infections), Staphylococcus (responsible for Staph infections), Bacillus (guilty for food poisoning symptoms) and Acinetobacter (can cause pneumonia and meningitis).

With that in mind, the researchers tested just how resilient the bacteria is by putting infected ice in common drinks. Freezing temperatures didn’t kill them. Vodka didn’t kill any of them either. Coca-Cola killed Bacillus and Pseudomonas, and tonic killed all but Acinetobacter. Whiskey, however, killed them all.

The study, “Presence of pathogenic bacteria in ice cubes and evaluation of their survival in different systems,” is the type of reading material that can really turn a person off of Vodka Martinis.

Granted, drinking the bacteria won’t make you sick in the vast majority of cases. You’ve been consuming these little guys your entire cocktail-drinking life. But why not live life on the safe side, especially when the safe side tastes so good?

PUBLISHED ON 12/5/2017


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HopeChest
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Joined: Oct 19, 2015
Posts: 397
From: East Bay, CA
Posted: 2018-02-28 10:59 am   Permalink

...and here I thought Jameson couldn't possibly get any more perfect than it already is...

 
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Piddersthecat
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Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 75
Posted: 2018-02-28 11:00 am   Permalink

Interesting...I wonder what's in whiskey that kills stuff but is not in vodka. And what the heck is in tonic that kills most of everything...is it the quinine?

I guess I'm safe with the 4 bottles of scotch I smuggled across the boarder last year


 
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Prikli Pear
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Joined: Jan 04, 2017
Posts: 602
From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted: 2018-02-28 1:28 pm   Permalink

I'd say the quinine is the active ingredient in tonic that does the work.

Vodka's got pretty much everything filtered out except alcohol and water. I wonder what the parameters are for this study--most homebrewers I know put cheap vodka in their airlocks to kill any microorganisms that might contaminate the ferment. Do these bacteria survive exposure to these various alcohols long term, or is this only studying the short term, ie, the 10 minutes it takes to down a drink. Temperature and dilution probably play some role. Regardless, it's interesting.


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2465
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-02-28 3:14 pm   Permalink

Reminds me... Have you ever had someone try a syrup at your home bar and then use their tongue to "clean" the drop or two which clings or ran down the threads of the bottle? Happened to me on two occasions -- first time with a moistened finger, and the second time with full-on tongue. I reacted both times by expressing shock and then quickly explaining contamination. It happens.

 
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Piddersthecat
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Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 75
Posted: 2018-02-28 9:17 pm   Permalink

I mostly thought all alcohol would kill most everything nasty...apparently I thought wrong. So by this study, the theory of adding vodka to syrups to extend shelf life may be a bit faulty? would PGA react the same or would the higher percentage of alcohol win I wonder? So much to learn about everything so little time. This is exactly my reasoning for staying away from politics and the news! Plus I'm in Canada and our biggest problems are winter and prime minister fancy socks in India.

Oh my...I wonder how many drinks it would take before I wouldn't care who licked the bottles lol. But on a normal day, I would die (or throw it all away lol).

I work for a medical laboratory and we have a full microbiology department, I wonder how many drinks it would take before they'd let me 'borrow' some isolates for testing... It would be interesting to see the parameters of the study for sure...I'd assume the reasoning behind Coke is the acid content.


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2465
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-03-01 04:09 am   Permalink

Piddersthecat, I have no hesitation using vodka because it's been working so well for so many years. And whiskeys are not colorless/flavorless, therefore not as well suited for extending the life of our home-made syrups and tinctures and bitters.

I also had second thoughts about the article - it made me think. (Don't worry, the pain subsided quickly when I stopped.) What, exactly, in whiskey is more effective as a biocide? If not the alcohol, then it must be something extracted from the wooden barrels during aging. Maybe some more studies will be done, but given the demand for "oak extractives for the booze industry" that might not be to likely to happen until someone with a really deep passion and interests funds research. And for Coca Cola, there is some carbonic acid present from the carbonation in addition to the phosphoric acid ingredient. I think other sodas also add phosphoric acid, so I don't think only Coke would have this property.

As a side note, I use propylene glycol as a very effective biocide in my home-made humidor solution. It's not toxic, but it has a noticeable flavor even in minute concentrations, so cannot be used for our cocktail-related purposes. Thought I'd mention that since you work in a micro lab.


 
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Piddersthecat
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Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 75
Posted: 2018-03-01 06:46 am   Permalink

I feel your thinking pain...I thought more about this after I posted (about the vodka anyway). It stands to reason that vodka works (just not their vodka on those organisms under the specific circumstances...). Those are a fair amount of conditions that need to be met. The analogy that I thought of was water bath canning. I know that there are things that you can water bath can (i.e. pineapple syrup, which I can at home because tasty) and things that you can't can with a water bath (i.e. ginger syrup, which I thought about trying but it's too basic). Just because water bath canning doesn't kill botulism and under specific circumstances botulism can grow even in a higher acidity item, that doesn't negate the fact that I know water bath canning is safe for specific things.

After all of that rambling this morning...my point is...it's not only those 5 organisms that you are guarding against and others are obviously affected by the vodka. So vodka in syrup stays. Just not in my pineapple syrup because I process it in a water bath canner



 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2465
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-03-01 09:45 am   Permalink

Great follow up with additional details! I have no experience with canning of any kind, so I will look that up to familiarize myself and to better understand what you have described.

I wonder if it's possible to "can" a pre-mixed cocktail so that you can save it and later just pop it open and pour over ice. Probably not because canning (I think) requires some heat which would alter the fresh fruit juices.


 
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Piddersthecat
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Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 75
Posted: 2018-03-01 11:36 am   Permalink

I do some amount of canning every fall. We get great fruit at some points during the summer, but we don't do so well in the winter.

I do jams and pickled things because my dad likes jam and I like pickled beet. For cocktails, I have done passion fruit syrup and pineapple syrup. I've also done cocktail cherries and pineapple spears with rum. All of those things have high enough acidity to be water bath canned (read fairly easy to do at home). I use info from here
http://nchfp.uga.edu/ to make sure I won't kill anyone. The texture of fruit does change some, but pineapple holds up really well. The cherries taste great but commercial ones use chemicals and stuff to make them stay firm. My fav recipe right now uses a heavy syrup and luxardo. I think it gives a better mouth feel than simple syrup.

I've never canned liqueurs. They have high enough levels of alcohol and sugar to really not bother.

As for taste changing in the heat...I know that my syrups maintain their flavor. But those are heavily sweetened, so not overly complex. Not as complex as a drink. I would think some of the complexity would be lost. Plus there is the issue of the ph of the drink...it has to be high enough to be safe for water bath canning. So theoretically if the drink was acidic enough to can...it would work, but how it would taste would have to be tested


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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2465
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-03-01 12:30 pm   Permalink

Pidders, again very interesting information. There are a number of threads here where we have discussed preserving things. Your insights are very helpful and lead us to Google some of the techniques and challenges you mentioned.

Your mention of Luxardo really piqued my interest. If you know how to make something similar to the expensive Luxardo cherries which we like to use for garnishing drinks, then you would do well to start a thread for that. Seriously - some could come to name their kids after you if you were to share a recipe and technique for making a substitute for Luxardo, even if we were to use extra-large Rainier cherries or something like that. Wow, that would be cool.


 
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Piddersthecat
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Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 75
Posted: 2018-03-01 12:46 pm   Permalink

It all started because I've never actually tasted a luxardo cherry. I've checked all of the places I can think of here and have never found them. I also made some preserved cherries with rum and others with brandy, but neither of them held up to being preserved. I think it is the thicker syrup that helps. I'll make it a mission to find some luxardo cherries (I know they're here somewhere) and compare.

 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2465
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-03-01 1:18 pm   Permalink

Sounds like a good plan. The syrup is very very thick. I understand (read online) that you should not refrigerate Luxardo cherries because then the sugar begins to crystallize. While the flavor is very good, I would definitely try a home-made substitute - if I had one. In general, we use them as an alternative to the very crappy and common bleached "maraschino" cherries which are never made from real Marasca cherries.

 
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Limbo Lizard
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Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 780
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2018-03-01 2:00 pm   Permalink

I found the study, referenced in the article, here.
From reading through it, they believe vodka was less effective because it has a pretty neutral pH (6.0), whereas the whiskey (Jack Daniels) has a lower, acidic pH (4.2). The vermouth (Martini and Rossi) had an even more acidic pH of 3.8, but was only 14.4% alcohol. Coke and tonic water were pH 2.7 and 2.8, but with no alcohol. "Regarding carbonated drinks, tonic water showed a stronger effect than coke, probably due to its quinine content — a known bactericidal compound".
I presume the whiskey had the most effective combination of alcohol and acidity, of the beverages tested. I wonder, what is the typical pH of rum?
_________________
"The rum's the thing..."


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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2465
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-03-01 2:41 pm   Permalink

Thanks, Limbo. Man, we are a nerdy bunch!

 
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